A last year’s article from The Sun UK featuring Nicola Roberts, who was in the BBC documentary The Truth about Tanning, talked about the issue of tanning culture (and obsession depends how you define it) among British youth. Having read the article and seen some Youtube snippets of the documentary such as this clip, I cannot help but applaud Nicola for not only using her celebrity status for a very good cause and warning people about the dangers of tanning obsession. She also shows that being born naturally pale is a beautiful thing that any fair-skinned girl or boy needs to embrace without bowing down to what they see or read in the media.

This is not just happening in United Kingdom but also in other countries like the United States. What is more shocking to read is that younger and younger people are getting into tanning, be it under the sun or in the sunbed. If you are wondering how young is young, I am not talking about university-aged students but actually children ages between eleven to seventeen year of age like what is mentioned in this Reuters article. However, this recent MSN article shows Victoria, Canada is doing a great job of banning minors from using tanning beds. As long as they are allowed to tan as a young age all in the name of vanity (and sometimes, insecurity), they have a greater chance of ending up with premature aging before their time and worse of all, skin cancer. Here is the other shocker that would leave us reeling: tanning addiction. If you think I am pulling a leg or two, tanning addiction, sometimes known as tanorexia, does exist and there are times you may have heard the term ‘tanorexic’. This opinion article from The New York Times about nearly six years ago explains what sort of behaviour you will expect with an encounter of a tanorexic or living with one. When a person bent on getting a tan decides not to hit the outdoor sun or indoor sun bed, he or she will turn to the fake tanning lotions which they may sometimes overdo until he or she resembles an Oompa Loompa (think Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). And here is another extreme resort that some tanners may resort to: the use of tanning drugs like Melanotan injected into their bodies like what was mentioned in the The Daily Mail which we do not know what kinds of risk they pose to the users.

I am not here to tell people to stop spending a few minutes a day catching some sunlight but I hate to say this (sue me but I have to say it), tanning done overboard to the point ofextreme is not all that pretty at all let alone when that involves lots of health risks and a chock full of regrets when premature aging hits one like a ton of bricks in a not-so-distant future. Leathery skin and premature wrinkles are not worth it. At the same time, I want to tell naturally fair-skinned people that it is okay to be in the skin you are in because you are all as beautiful as any other person (embrace it, be proud of it, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise and don’t bow down to a fake tanning lotion or a sunbed just because of what you see or read in the media).Someone once said each person is bestowed one healthy skin to last a lifetime, so appreciate it and don’t ever take it for granted especially when it comes to tanning overboard until it is too late.

Anyway, what says you about this? Your opinions are welcomed.

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