Saturday, February 04, 2012

Dear 16 Year Old Me

Since as long as I can remember, there's been this weird pressure on what colour ones skin tone should look like. Whether you have naturally dark hair and eyes or red hair and green eyes, the hottest look is to look like you just exploded from a Miss Hawaii Tropix contest, 
Healthy and natural? Don't think so.
even in the dead of winter. Tanned, golden brown skin on even the most naturally cream complexioned human beings. We all know that this can be achieved by laying on the beach underneath the summer sun, or even safer, by using a tanning spray or lotion to darken your skin. But a lot of people do something that I never have and never will do - go to a tanning bed. I promised my mom and also myself that I would never be foolish enough to step into a salon for as long as I live.
The most obvious reason is because I don't want to get skin cancer. Cancer is a word too close for comfort, a word too familiar to me. So why would I voluntarily pay for it? "Malignant," says the beautiful women in the video wearing the teal coloured turtleneck. "That's not a very friendly word." No, its not. The risk of getting melanoma is enough to keep me out of the tanning beds, but here's another point - I have blue eyes and blonde hair, which would mean that a deep tan would make me look more artificial than Splenda. My estimate is that 99.9% of the girls who have bleached blonde hair and a Beyoncé-inspired tan is faking at least either the hair or skin colour, if not both. Also - what's up with this recent orange tone? The two
greatest examples of this pumpkin trend is Lindsay Lohan and Snooki, and its safe to say that neither of those women should be sought after as role models in the first place. This look doesn't suit anyone - I repeat, ANYONE.
Have you ever seen a person with white hair and orange skin and thought, Huh, she's really beautiful... If you have, here's news for you - that isn't beautiful, and you won't be either when you're lying on the surgery table in five years while doctors attempt to remove the cancer from your skin. Sometimes, a 'healthy' glow is really the least healthy thing for your skin. What's wrong with appreciating the colour you were born with? I can't be a hypocrite and say that I necessarily like being pale. I wish I was naturally darker, but I'm not. And I'm not going to go to a tanning bed to change 
Meet your new
best friend.
that. Its ok because I love myself and how I look, and I'm not going to risk my life to alter anything. In the summer, of course I tan at the beach. I walk around and ride my bike wearing shorts and a tank top, and yes, I hope to get a bit of colour. But I always, always, always wear sunscreen. And you should, too.
Everyone who goes tanning seems to have a bad case of "It Won't Happen To Me" syndrome. Please don't be one of these people. I don't know anyone who's ever had melanoma, and I want to keep it that way. I don't want one of my young friends or relatives to begin a battle in the fight of their life because of a tanning bed. So please do your part in spreading the video Dear 16 Year Old Me, give yourself an examination to check for discoloured moles every so often, and practice safe sun.

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