Written by Kate Hula @ The Vault Uncensored
I’m as white as you can get. Pale, ghostly, alabaster and just plain bleached. Nicole Kidman white, minus the clear, shiny gorgeous skin (I got stuck with acne, blemishes and pores the size of dimes). Growing up, SPF 50 was my best friend and a summer tan only came after a sun burn. I was truly pale and accepted my ultra-light color. Until I discovered tanning beds.
Then, I became addicted. The following year, instead of tanning two months ahead, I tanned four months before the big dance. I loved laying in a hot tanning bed, listening to my favorite CD and coming out 30 minutes later deliciously darker and pale free. My addiction grew in college. I tanned as much as I could afford it, going several months in a row, only veering away from the beds when summer hit. Sometimes, I would go twice in one day (DISGUSTING). Sometimes, I would forgo my safety goggles to avoid raccoon eyes. I made up excuses so I could tan more, said it helped with my acne, made me feel better, took away my ghostly winter whiteness.
Instead of becoming bronze and glowing, I became an oompa loompa. One day, A friend broke it down to me. She said I looked orange and needed to tone down on the fake baking. I took her advice to heart and backed off the beds. All that time I spent trying to get brown, quickly faded, and fast too. I went back though, less often. Only when a special occasion or a pending trip was near, but it was never the same. I once fell into that “orange” category, no girl wanted to be in. Tanning was just a fad anyways, how bad could it get? Several warnings on TV, magazines and newspapers to me differently. Excessive tanning resulted in premature aging, leathery skin, dark spots and the worse, cancer.
After listening more and more to the warnings, tanning lost its appeal. So, I gave up the fake sun, swore off tanning and embraced my inner pale princess.
From then on, if I wanted a tan, it had to be from the real sun. That meant more hats in the summer and SPF 50 and I were friends again. I got used to looking like a milk bottle on the beach. Even for weddings, I was okay with being the lightest. God gave me that color, might as well enjoy it. Two years ago, I broke down and tanned for my wedding. Only for a handful of times, I didn’t want to reprise the oompa loompa look down the aisle.
I don’t know what effects for a pale girl like myself who spent too much of her youth fake baking will be in the future. I can tell you this, my older sister who is equally as pale as me, has better skin and fewer wrinkles then I do. And, I have astigmatisms in my eyes. Could be heredity, could be from too much tanning without my goggles.
My recommendation is, don’t step foot in those beds. Stay away from the temptation of the ultra violet rays and fake sun kissed skin. Find an alternative like spray tans or skin bronzers. Sure, tanning was fun for prom and a few weddings, but not as a long term hobby. If you are a slave to the beds, just think of this, what will the kids from the Jersey Shore look like in five years?