Love Your Skin Movement

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on October 12, 2009

I heard something on the radio yesterday that really made my skin boil. A very well known Canadian Tanning Salon company had an advertisement on the radio.



It went a little something like this:

"Feel confident in your skin and look great with [insert company name here]. Say goodbye to pale and pasty skin! Tan the smart way!"

I was instantly ticked off.

From what I gathered, the commercial was telling me two things:

1) There was something wrong with my current skin tone

2) I could tan smart.

Oh really now.

Throughout my teens are early twenties, I was not immune to the pressures of tanning my skin. I tanned for my prom. I also tanned for a couple weddings that I was a bridesmaid in and I tanned for my own wedding.

I tanned on my honeymoon.


I knew that I shouldn’t be doing it, but I did it anyways. I called myself an ‘event tanner’- I tanned for events I wanted to look my best for and the rest of the time I wore ample sunscreen.

What did tanning leave me with?

  • Premature aging of the skin
  • Fine lines due to the damage from tanning

Not cool.

I kept telling myself that I would just tan for special events and that would be it. Well, after my wedding last year I asked myself:

‘When would I ever be good enough? When would I start to challenge how I felt about my skin without a tan and put an end to this ‘event’ tanning?’

I had to face the cold hard truth.

I was tanning to cover up my insecurities.

The more I started to think about it, the more angry I got. Every where I turned, the media was telling me that pale skin was ugly and needed to be darkened.

Of course, magazines jumped on the Anti-tanning Bandwagon and started to promote using self-tanners.

But I couldn’t help but wonder still:

  • Why do we have to use ANYTHING?
  • Why can’t the skin colour that we are born with be good enough?
  • Why must it be lighter, darker, or different in any way?
  • Isn’t using a self-tanner still buying into the notion that we still aren’t good enough the way we are?

It is absolutely infuriating when you stop and think about all of the messages out there telling women to change their skin.

Well, I am here to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. And I want you to join me.

After my wedding last year I made another vow. This time it was to myself. I vowed that I would never set foot in a tanning salon again.

Here are some startling Canadian Statistics on Skin Cancer that may have you vowing to do the same:

Canadian Dermatology Association 2009 Skin Cancer Fact Sheet

Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Canadians.

It is also the most common cancer in the world.

• More than 75,100 Canadians will be diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer in 2009.
• Approximately 5,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2009 and 940 will die of it.
• Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer are the two most prevalent forms of this disease. Skin cancers, including melanoma, are highly curable if found and treated early.
• While less common, melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer since it can spread in the body and cause death.
• Canadians born in the 1990’s have two to three times higher lifetime risk of getting skin cancer compared to those born in the 1960’s. For those born in the 1990’s, there is a 1 in 6 lifetime risk of having skin cancer. For those born in the 1960’s, there is a 1 in 20 lifetime risk.
• The main cause of skin cancer is too much UV radiation.
Skin cancer is one of a small number of cancers that can be prevented through simple measures such as limiting sun exposure, seeking shade, wearing hats and clothing, and using an SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum sunscreen.
• There is a group of people at particularly high risk for skin cancer because of their skin type and amount of sun exposure. This includes those with: fair skin and blond or red hair; skin that burns and freckles easily rather than tans; a lot of sun exposure through outdoor work or recreation; many moles (> 50) or some large and unusual moles; a history of severe sunburns.
• Looking at all cancers found in the 15 to 29 age group, melanoma represented 7% of new cases in young men and 11% of new cases in young women, which may be attributable to social behaviours (seeking a tan), particularly in the latter group.

• The rising rates of skin cancer are placing increased demands on dermatologists. There are fewer than 650 dermatologists to treat Canada’s population of more than 30 million. The number of dermatologists in Canada is decreasing rapidly as the rate of retirement far outstrips the number of new dermatologists in training.

The truth is, there is no smart way to tan.

I am ready to learn to love my skin colour and appreciate the beauty in it. So what if most models and actresses have tans. Just think of Nicole Kidman and Anne Hathaway. They are both two beautiful role models that pale skin is beautiful.

Here is what I am committing myself to:

  1. Absolutely no tanning beds. Zilch. Nadda. None.
  3. Don’t buy into the media hype that only tanned skin = beautiful. Beauty is what you were born with!

It is time that we as women start to challenge not just the focus on excessively thin ‘ideals’ in the media, but about our skin colour too.

Since the beginning of time, women have been told that we are not good enough the way we are. I am sick of it!

I hope you will join me in committing to my Love Your Skin Movement. As women, we have the power to influence trends with what we spend our money on. Stop endorsing it, buying it, and supporting things that make you feel that you are less of a women if you don’t do ‘X,Y,Z’.

Are you with me? :)


Do you feel the pressure to change the colour of your skin or to tan? Have you ever used tanning beds despite knowing that you shouldn’t?


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{ 146 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope October 12, 2009 at 9:23 pm

OMG. I love this!! I have never fake-baked, but have laid out in the sun and guess what? I HATE IT!! I do not like tanning, it is hot and I hate being burned, so why did I do it? OTHER PEOPLE!! Just the other day, a male nurse at’ work said to me (in front of another nurse and a vented patient who were about to turn): GEEZ, YOU’RE SO PALE!!! I am not pale!!! I am white and I’ve been working 12 hours, argh.
Um, excuse me!? And that isn’t the first time I’ve received a comment like that.
But you know what?! Mirza has said numerous times that he LOVES my nice skin and he would not want me tan.
I always say what you’re saying in this post: why is tan considered beautiful and white considered NOT!?
I just say, hey, I may be “pale” now, but at least I won’t be prematurely winkled or fighting cancer.


Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope October 12, 2009 at 9:26 pm

lol wRinkled.*


Maura October 12, 2009 at 9:27 pm

I’m with you on this one. I even get flack from my mother, (who has had skin cancer removed,, mind you) about not being very tan. My response is and will always be, “Don’t try to make me feel bad about the fact that I take care of my skin.”
Right on. :)


Jessica October 12, 2009 at 9:30 pm

I am a pasty girl and was in Croatia in August, being called Snow White by family members. Thank you for pointing out that a healthy glow is not the result of a tan but of living well. I have no idea what they put in self-tanners but I can’t see them being a very healthy alternative. Keep it up girlie!!


Michelle Gay October 12, 2009 at 9:31 pm

I love this. I live in Australia and the rate of people who tan is amazingly high. However, I have to give it to them, because they require all little kids to wear hats at all times. However, the rate of skin cancer in men is very high here, because they don’t wear sunscreen.


Tracey @ TropicalHappiness October 12, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Want to know a little secret… in the recent pictures that you’ve posted of yourself, I’ve thought “Wow, look at her “light” skin and how beautiful she looks!” I seriously have noticed your not-so-tan-yet-still-gorgeous skin. It looks amazing and I think your post makes a lot of sense. So keep rocking your REAL & gorgeous skin!


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 12, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Awesome! :)


[email protected] October 12, 2009 at 9:33 pm

I have never been to a tanning bed, always grossed out by them for a variety of reasons, including the skin damage, possible bacteria, and coffin like setting! I had a few bad burns when I was younger, and that has totally scared me into slathering myself with SPF.


Mellissa October 12, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Love this post, I am a very pale blonde and I just don’t tan. I have learned to embrace my pale skin and just go with it.


Marcia October 12, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Hear hear!! My husband has to have a basil cell carcinoma removed this week. Not because of tanning, just because of inadequate sunscreen usage in So. Cal. I too see lines and age spots on my face from 12 years in So Cal being lackadaisical about sunscreen.

I used to look “young” for my age. Now I look, well, almost 40. Which I am.


lizzy October 12, 2009 at 9:38 pm

I live in Arizona, and have never been able to justify the SERIOUSLY CRAZY AMOUNT of people that pay for tanning beds here. I have gone maybe once or twice, mostly out of peer pressure to be “tan in the winter”, but realized a few things.

2. Paying money for WRINKLES AND SKIN CANCER. ummm, are we all that dumb?!
3. Like you said, being pale should not be a BAD THING.

So what if I live where being tan is the norm. People abuse the sun, and tanning bads, and hello, too much self-tanner WILL MAKE YOU ORANGE lol

I can’t vow that I won’t use self tanner, because i do fitness competitions and it is something I must apply before going on stage, however, I do vow that the only tans that I will get are the natural ones from being out at the lake(where I sunscreen up!) or beach or swimming. No laying out for the purpose of being tan!


shelly October 12, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Oh my gosh, this is such a hard one for me! I only used tanning beds for a short period of time in college (b/c all my friends were doing it, ugh, worst reason ever) and have tried self tanner but am not a fan- it turns my cuticles brown no matter what I do! But for me, tanning outside is so appealing. I live in the south and everyone tans to a certain extent! I just love sitting by the pool or on the beach with my girlfriends and soaking up the sun. And I will admit that I feel more attractive with a tan. Over the years, I’ve tanned less frequently and now I do make sure to put on sun screen when I am outside (although I am allergic to most sunscreen and can only wear a few brands- it is a hassle!), but I certainly tan and sometimes burn in the summer.
But you are totally right. I even get compliments on my beautiful skin from my boyfriend in the winter when I am pale as a ghost…it’s time to learn to love my skin regardless of the color. I’m in! I may not succeed, but I will try. For me that will be no self tanner and putting on sunscreen more frequently.


Vanessa (Last Night's Leftovers_ October 12, 2009 at 9:45 pm

I adore this post. I’ve been anti-tan for as long as I can remember – including my teen years. Even when I was insecure about everything thing else, I felt just fine about my ghost-white skin and freckles!


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 12, 2009 at 9:48 pm

I love reading all of your thoughts ladies. I agree that all of you are perfect just the way you are!!! :)


Eve October 12, 2009 at 9:50 pm

What horrible marketing! I’ve even seen tanning salons advertising tanning beds as being a healthful way of getting vitamin D. What!? I’m not even sure how such a flawed message is legal!

I’ve never used a tanning bed, but I’ve tried fake tanners in the past and really disliked them. I have to say, I’m a bit skeptical about how healthy slathering on strong sunscreen every day is – I think down the road we might learn that all the UV blocking chemicals might take their own health tolls. This summer I opted to use a natural sunscreen (Aubrey Organics), which I suspect is not near as potent as the standard formula. However, coupled with my resolve to limit time spent in direct sunlight, I didn’t burn ONCE – and I am about as pale as they come. I think this is likely the healthiest route to take!


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 12, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Thanks for the suggestions RE: Aubrey…I will have to try it out. I have been looking for an organic sunscreen!


Crystal October 12, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Thank you for writing on this topic! I am curious though, if you are going to start to ‘love your skin’ and skin tone are you still going to alter it with makeup? I know that makeup isn’t as dangerous but isn’t it altering your looks as well, saying the real you isn’t good enough? Just curious.


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 12, 2009 at 10:46 pm

I love make up and use it for ‘events’ and I don’t ever intend on giving it up. For me it is a fun way to play up my features (not cover them up). As I move to purchasing more organic products, it is now something I can feel good about putting on my skin.


Jen October 12, 2009 at 9:51 pm

I know exactly which tanning chain you’re talking about – I’m not impressed with them right now either. My hubby and I have always pre-tanned for our Caribbean vacations (he never needed to because he’s got that skin tone that tans just walking to the store, but I’m fair skinned and would burn instantly in the Caribbean sun…but I digress…) We just got back from a cruise yesterday and I pretanned for it, at the hubby’s insistence. It felt so wrong because he’s just been diagnosed with melanoma. Needless to say, I won’t be going tanning anymore. What really ticked me off though, was that when the manager asked why my hubby hadn’t been tanning with me, her reaction to his diagnosis was not “oh, I’m sorry to hear that” (which I think would have been appropriate). It was “you know he didn’t get that from tanning, right? You can only get melanoma from getting sunburned…tanning is okay”. I didn’t know whether to be angry with her or feel sorry for her because she’s been so brainwashed by the nonsense that this tanning chain has fed her. This girl totally believes that the dermotologists and oncologists who study and treat skin cancer don’t know what they’re doing, and that the connection between sun exposure and skin cancer is all a crock. She’s in there frying her skin every day and getting paid for it. I hope she doesn’t end up with skin cancer down the road. If she does end up with it, she’s going to look back and realize how stupid she was to sacrifice her skin and health for the sake of a paycheque…not to mention all the b.s. she passed on to her clients because that chain told her to.


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 12, 2009 at 10:44 pm

I totally know what you mean about the brainwashing! The people who worked at the chains I have been to all seemed to say the same claims. Its sad really.
I’m really sorry to hear about your husband and hope that he has a speedy recovery. xo


John October 14, 2009 at 1:50 pm

“I totally know what you mean about the brainwashing!” You sure do, that’s why you slather on SPF all the time.


Ashley October 12, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Love this post! I *love* my pale skin and am so happy to be me. I have never fake-n-baked and I think it looks silly when girls are mega-tanned and/or orange.

I used self-tanner last May for a show I was in because our director wanted us to be darker. I refused to going to a tanning bed and used a self-tanner instead. It worked well for the three weeks I needed it, but I was so much happier to get back to the normal me :)


Susan October 12, 2009 at 9:56 pm

YES!! I’ve never tanned. I think it’s because I went to Germany as a teenager, where everyone tans, and saw 20-year-olds with age spots because of it. That pretty much scared me out of ever using a tanning bed. I’m VERY pale, so I’ve never been able to get a nice brown colour anyways. Just red or freckled :P Sun damage looks awful once you age too. Why would someone want to prematurely age themselves??


Fallon October 12, 2009 at 9:57 pm

All my life I was always really white! My nick name in Junior High was “Whitey.” Tanning never really was important to me. I remember in my teens on summer break I’d lay outside all day to tan, because it looked nice in photos and such. I never got dark. I would become red and have a small sun burn. Which really sucks! Then I broke out in hives from some tanning spray and after that I learned it not even worth it. I’m just going to ruin my skin and look older for my age, and increase my chance of skin cancer. So I stopped young and haven’t tried to tan since. I don’t get when people say, “OMG you are so white. You’re like a strobe light.” I just say, “Well at least when I’m 40 I’ll look 20.” That usually shuts them up with my sarcastic smile! I make sure to get enough sun for my Vitamin D, and if I’m lucky when I go out for a morning jog, I get color from that.


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 12, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Some ppl say the meanest things…geeze!
Rock your skin! :)


JessicaR October 12, 2009 at 9:58 pm

I spent five years tanning weekly, but stopped about a year and a half ago and am nicely pale as a ghost ;)

I do like to get a little sun every day if I can (for the Vitamin D), but not enough to give me a tan. I read a study that said 70% of U.S. children are Vitamin D deficient! I understand we aren’t supposed to bake in the sun, but I also don’t think we should be slathering ourselves with tons of chemicals — either in sunscreen or fake tanners — and thinking that’s okay. I haven’t found a single sunscreen or fake tanner that doesn’t clog my pores (on my face or elsewhere) so at the moment I’m not using either. (I’m not really interested in the fake tanner, but a mild sunscreen with no chemicals would be nice.)


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 12, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Fake tanners give me a huge rash!!

I want to experiment with natural/organic sunscreens too. I also worry about all the chemicals in them and the new reports that are saying that sunscreens can actually harm the skin.


MarathonVal October 12, 2009 at 10:02 pm

I loved this post, and I recently felt the same outrage as you when I heard a “study” talking about how tanning beds were not as harmful as the sun… what BS.

I tanned obsessively in high school and college, and I’m sorry to say that I have many more wrinkles than a 26 year old should have as a result!! Not to mention that obviously it was a very unhealthy choice to make.

Like you, I have decided 100% to never step foot in a tanning bed, ever. I am also trying to wean myself off self-tanning products in general.

However, where do we draw the line? Self-tanning products promote the image of beauty that society and pop culture says is beautiful and acceptable, but does that mean that hair color products and makeup are all to be banned, as well?

This is where I struggle…. I often feel the need to cut back as much as I can on these “beautification” rituals and try to wear as little makeup as I can because I think it’s important to love myself for who I truly am and what I really look like. But as we all know, it’s not that easy to just walk out the door sans makeup and to feel perfectly gorgeous and content with ourselves.

Sadly, while I have a lot of hope for the future in many ways (for example, I feel very confident that in 100 years all humans will be vegetarian for the sole fact that the earth will be unsustainable otherwise), I can’t imagine fathom a world where women do not need to color, tweak, change, and surgically alter ourselves in order to fit into the current “ideal”. But isn’t it nice to dream about??


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 12, 2009 at 10:39 pm

I too struggle with the same questions about beauty rituals as you yourself do! In fact as I wrote the post I started thinking about tons of things. I guess tanning comes to the forefront of my mind because it is probably one of the most dangerous of all ‘beauty rituals’ that women are encouraged to do. While make-up and hair colouring are still quite toxic given the ingredients, they have not shown to be anywhere near as dangerous as tanning.
With the danger aside though, yes it is still thought-provoking to question where we draw the line. I guess that is an individual thing. For myself, I have decided to limit the dangerous types of beauty rituals that I used to give into.
Another one that comes to mind (that I have never done only heard about) is the Brazilian Hair Straightening. It is supposed to be very risky and thousands of women do it every year.


Lindsey @ Sound Eats October 12, 2009 at 10:04 pm

I wish more people (especially young girls) realized how dangerous tanning is (in a salon or outside). Living in Florida, it is so scary how many people, especially older people, have skin cancer, even just from “normal” sun exposure through daily activities throughout their lives (“normal” in Florida is pretty intense). This is why it’s so important, esp. for runners and joggers, to make sure you lather up the sunscreen when you’ll be outside for prolonged periods of time!


Alyssa October 12, 2009 at 10:06 pm

OMG!! This could not have been a better day for this post! Guess what I did THIS MORNING??? yep, I went tanning at my gym! I probably aged myself a few years in the same place I to to try and keep myself from aging.. and why? well, (event tanning) my boyfriends cousin is getting married this weekend..heaven forbid I was pale in my strapless dress! Well, AS I AM WRITING THIS,I LOOK LIKE A LOBSTER!!! My face is on fire because my skin wasnt used to the lights (or was just trying to tell me not to do it)! And the sick thing is, I did it to myself! and for what? I have no good reason that I am feeling sunburnt other than I was too insecure to wear my dress wthout a tan! STUPID! and the thing that is even more sad is that my skin is actually very nice when I dont have a just so “white” compared to my other friends that I feel i need to tan. Well, NO MORE!! in boyfriend called me out today and said that I only did it becasue I am insecure! hes right. well, if there was ever a day I needed a wake up call today was it..


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 12, 2009 at 10:32 pm

This really speaks to me…

“I probably aged myself a few years in the same place I to to try and keep myself from aging.. and why?”

You really hit the nail on the head there.

I used to tan at the gym too!


laura October 12, 2009 at 10:10 pm

I’m so glad you wrote this! For the last few years I’ve been darkening my hair, “to bring out my eyes” – but unless my skin is darker than it is naturally (I’m fair and light-haired), the dark hair makes me look exhausted and washed out. so I spend all summer trying to get color on my face without burning (which never works, btw), and all winter I use ridiculous amounts of bronzer, and then I have to use a pencil to darken my eyebrows so they don’t look lighter than everything else (which washes out my eyes) – ugh! seriously? why don’t I just leave my coloring alone and concentrate on using sleep, exercise, joy, and nourishment to make me look radiant? I’m all for playing with hair and makeup colors but when I’ve got to be adjusting everything about my appearance to keep up? no thanks! I’m officially letting the dark hair fade and embracing the fair, golden-olive skin tone I’m so lucky to have!


Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now October 12, 2009 at 10:13 pm

That is such a great way of thinking! It’s obviously easier for me to hop on the NATURAL skin color bandwagon now that it’s getting closer to winter, but I think it would be helpful to read this again next summer!


[email protected] October 12, 2009 at 10:13 pm

I only tan while at the pool with my daughter and with TONS of sunscreen on as I have always done since I was a child and spent many of the summer hot days in the sun.

I am with you!!!

=) Laura @ Finding A Healthy Balance (after a 100+ POUND weight loss)


Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 12, 2009 at 10:16 pm

I used to tan the same way thinking it would be the last time. It is so dangerous!


kay (eating machine) October 12, 2009 at 10:24 pm

love this!
the biggest realization about tanning for me came when i stopped with beds/self tanner…
suddenly, i got TONS of compliments… on my pasty white skin! (and i am as pale as them come… i use the lightest shade of foundation). I never knew how good my skin was till I accepted it for what it was… and it was great when I realized it was better for me, saved me money, and was no maintenance-plus i looked BETTER that I did tan!


Amandamoo October 12, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Okay… I have to say something… I tan 2-3 times per week for 10 minutes in the oldest tanning bed I can find… I have atopic dermatitis and have suffered for my entire childhood and adult life with rashes and skin breakdown that made dermatologists say, “hmmm.. that’s the worst case of eczema I’ve ever seen… what haven’t you tried?” I tried everything. I continue to try everything. I have spend thousands of dollars in attempts to heal my skin from the inside, from the outside, from every which way you can think. There have been times when I have gone weeks without sleeping because I itched so bad. I would draw blood scratching the 90% of my body that was covered in rash.

I thank God for tanning beds because, for some reason, the small amount of concentrated UVB light (not even enough to change the color of my skin) actually helps my skin heal itself and reduces the redness, itching, and potential for breakdown.

In addition, as I continue to recover from an eating disorder that I suspect originated from never being physically comfortable in my own skin, the UVB light lifts my mood and supports the self-nurturing that must happen in ED recovery.

I’m sorry for the long-winded comment, I’m just very passionate about not declaring anything absolutely negative (or positive for that matter). Speaking in absolutes is part of what has created so much hatred in the world.


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 12, 2009 at 10:33 pm

Thanks for sharing your story. I have never heard of a tanning bed helping with skin conditions…that is quite amazing. Of course there are exceptions to every rule and you have to do what works for you!


Maria October 12, 2009 at 10:28 pm

I hate tanning beds. I think they should be banned. I sometimes lay out by the pool, but I usually have sunscreen on. I just like the warm sun. I used to think dark skin was beautiful but now I know every color is beautiful-natural skin color that is. Love what you have! I am with you, no tanning for me!


Jolene October 12, 2009 at 10:28 pm

I am SO with you! My hubby always says that we should tan before a hot vacation so that we don’t burn on vacation, and I always try to explain to him that this is a stupid idea … I will try again this year.


Jil October 12, 2009 at 10:28 pm


I used to think the same way about tanning…and even now, I’m not immune to call of beach weather and a lounge chair. However, I have one BIG BIG BIG reason to fully support your Love Your Skin movement. That huge reason is my cousin Ted. My cousin has been battling melanoma since 2000. He had Stage IV Melanoma — and through years of tough fighting, tons of treatments including chemo, surgeries, & IL-2 injections. He, by some miracle, is currently cancer free… During his chemo, etc. he found the strength to still work and to even run a half-marathon and raise money for melanoma research! His story is amazing, and he’s an amazingly strong guy.

So yeah, HE is my reason that I absolutely 100% support your movement! If you’re at all interested in his story — he heads the “Go to Hell Mel” organization at

– Jil


Dori October 12, 2009 at 10:30 pm

I never tanned in a tanning bed but I have gotten airbrush tan. I’d already decided never to do that again! What a waste of money when I look better without it anyway. So I am on board for this movement — except one little thing. What about makeup/bronzer? I don’t think I can give my “glow” up! I love having some color in my face!


Marci October 12, 2009 at 10:33 pm

I like to go for herbal spray tans occasionally- just because it evens my skin tone, which is not porceline white, but I wouldn’t lay in the sun or tan on a bed.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with liking the look of tanned skin, its a choice just like some like tattoos and some don’t, but I do agree that UV tanning causes cancer and should be avoided.


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 12, 2009 at 10:49 pm

I don’t deny that I like the look of tanned skin. I love myself tanned. But I need to work on loving my skin with no colour too!


Nelly October 12, 2009 at 10:36 pm

this afternoon i heard something on 680 news radio…apparently, another well known tanning company, or perhaps the same, not sure…is getting on the breast cancer bandwagon…promoting vitamin D as an aid to help prevent it…that actually made me sorta fume a little…i don’t think that fake tanning is the way to go in order to get vitamin D…at this point i guess these companies will do anything to get customers…


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 12, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Yup I heard that one too.


[email protected] October 12, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Wow. This post definitely hit home for me and I am with you all the way! I lived on an island most of my life and tanned every summer until I was 15. I am 26 now and earlier this year I had a mole removed and it turned out to be melanoma. Luckily I caught it early (with no help from doctors who told me the mole was fine multiple times), had surgery and I am ok now. This is the main reason I started reading healthy living blogs, starting with yours actually :) I have read so many posts about pesticides and chemicals and how horrible they are for your skin and I am so happy that you have brought attention to the horrible damage the sun can do to your body. I would never wish anyone to go through what I have and what so many others have.


Jess October 12, 2009 at 10:36 pm

I used to be an event tanner as well. But then I got to thinking one day, if I’m so passionate about eating healthy and so careful about what I put into my body and make time to exercising often, why would I counteract that with tanning?! Good post, Angela!


White Rabbit October 12, 2009 at 10:52 pm

I too live in Australia and most people down here will remember the story of the lovely Clare Oliver , who at only 26 (my age, actually) lost her battle with melanoma. Clare went public with her cancer battle as she used to be a regular solarium user and wanted to warn others of the dangers of tanning. She has left behind a wonderful legacy but what a heart-breaking story. It’s not worth risking your life just to conform to a societal ‘ideal’. We should all remember Clare and honour her by taking on board her message.


Morgan October 12, 2009 at 10:53 pm

As a pale girl with freckles, I couldn’t agree more! After years of lifeguarding, and dealing with sun poisoning every summer, I finally just stopped. I spend my time on the beach in the shade with a hat on. The only time my bikini body is exposed to sun is when I am in the ocean.
I actually posted an Operation Beautiful note the other day on a package of fake tanner. Embrace the beautiful skin you have!


Niki October 12, 2009 at 10:59 pm

AMEN SISTER!! I have fair skin and throughout high school resisted the pressure to use tanning booths, though I did use self-tanner. In college I started going to tanning salons for a few months during the winter, and then I ended up tanning for my wedding, too. Like you, after my wedding I said NO MORE.

I have been learning to embrace my fair, porcelain skin (no way am I going to use the words “pale” or (eesh) “pasty”. I, too, think of fair-skinned beauties like Anne Hathaway and Kate Winslet whenever I feel pressured to tan.

Thanks for posting on this very important topic! Embracing your natural skin tone and wearing SUNSCREEN is one of the most healthy things you can do for yourself!


Jamie October 12, 2009 at 11:02 pm

I worked at a tanning salon for years and was constantly tanning. I always knew it was bad for me, but ignored it because I really enjoyed being tan. Recently my dad was diagnosed with skin cancer and that was a really eye opening experience for me. I’m tan free ever since! Oh, and you really do get a bit brain washed working at a salon!


Angi October 12, 2009 at 11:11 pm

I also used the tanning bed to combat rashes in uni. I also loved the heat…it made my back feel wonderful.

I have grown out of my skin condition and have not used them since. I think they have their uses (above poster with serious skin issues) but should not be labelled as ‘safe’ when clearly, for some, they are not.

I tan very easily, even with SPF 50, so I always look tanned. I love the sun, but I love being alive more, so I always have the sunscreen.


Allison October 12, 2009 at 11:12 pm

LOVE THIS POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Cynthia (It All Changes) October 12, 2009 at 11:20 pm

I have never tanned. I burn in minutes so I’ve always had to avoid the sun. I’ve had years of extremely bad burns that already put me at a higher risk for skin cancer. I’ve actually already had a suspicious mole at age 25. It was terrifying. That’s why I hate tanning beds and even tanning just for the sake of getting some color. And I’m not about to use some chemical to change my skin color either. I’m pasty but I was born this way and it goes with my light hair and eyes. It’s just me.


Emma October 13, 2009 at 8:53 am

I’m the same way. I have light eyes and fair skin, with multiple moles and freckles. I’ve even had 5 moles removed.
Have I ever tanned/fake tanned? No.
Do I get made fun of for being pale? All the time.
What. Ever.


Lina October 12, 2009 at 11:26 pm

I decided to get a tan this summer for the sake of it. It was an…experiment of sorts. I’m naturally *very* fair–to the point I look anemic–so I thought I’d try tanning to bring more life to my skin. I found the whole process was expensive, wasteful, and awkward.

After a couple months of tanning I looked a bit better, I suppose, but every time I’d lie down in a tanning bed I thought about the frightening skin cancer statistics. I made my very last appointment was in August. I’m going to keep it that way.

Count me in for the Love Your Skin movement! :)


Gillian October 12, 2009 at 11:27 pm

I also used to be a HUGE event tanner – but this past summer I had decided to ditch the notion that I NEED a tan to look good for something! If I get a tan while I am outside doing stuff (but while wearing sunscreen obvy) then that’s all I need! I started noticing sun damage on my skin too and at the age of 25 it FREAKED ME RIGHT OUT!!!


Kelsey October 12, 2009 at 11:36 pm

wonderfully said Angela and I agree 100%! my dad has had various questionable moles/skin marks on his body that has had to be removed so i’ve seen first hand at what a scary and awful experience it can be. i always get after my friends who go tanning and i think i’ve stopped a few of them from visiting the local tanning salon.
i love my skin color and wouldn’t change a thing!


Laura @ Backstage Pass to Health & Happinesslaura October 12, 2009 at 11:51 pm

Great post! Seems like this indeed a very hot topic.
As a teenager, I didn’t visit tanning salons much until my senior year of high school and into college. A lot of my peers were into ‘fake baking’ – I recall my freshman year college roommate who constantly (even daily?) tanned, and was envious of her tawny skin.
After a scare with having some moles removed, I kicked the habit an have never been back in a tanning bed again. Thru really do resemble coffins, ya know?
However – I have recently gotten into airbrush tanning and bought a package so that I can get the service for special occasions.
It’s tough to chalk this up 100% to being vain… I do enjoy the special look of myself a few shades darker – but at the same time, I love my skin in it’s natural, super pale shade as well. I guess that for me, it’s like hot rolling my hair – I certainly don’t need to do that every day, or need to have it that wa to feel pretty – it’s just a different look and it’s fun!
I am with you on the importance of sunscreen and skin health awareness. I wear SPF 30 every day, protect my light colored eyes with shades and wear a protectant lip balm as well.


Kristi October 13, 2009 at 12:12 am



Stacy October 13, 2009 at 12:13 am

I am also with you!! I was diagnose with melanoma at age 26. I was a very active tanning bed user since the age 15. The day I was told it was melanoma I vowed I would never use a tanning bed again. I kept thinking 26 is way to young to be diagnosed with such a deadly disease. Luckily mine was also caught early, so I am fine now. It took me awhile to fell comfortable in my pale skin, but I do definitely feel better now. I also think we all should feel great in our own skin, no matter how we look.


Amy October 13, 2009 at 12:25 am

I agree with you, Angela. I am fair skinned, have never used a tanning bed, and get laughed at for slathering on SPF 30-50 daily. I’ve always felt very comfortable, literally, in my own skin!

The funny thing is, I lived in Thailand for six months last year and was envied by Thai women for my fair skin. Being pale is a sign of beauty to them. After living there for a while, I developed a tan (unavoidable even with SPF since the sun is so strong), which my American friends loved. It really made me realize how ridiculous our beauty standards can be :).


Oxidaisy October 13, 2009 at 1:33 am

That is so true Amy! Beauty standards are rediculous! Angela, you are right. For the last few years I have not been able to spend much time in the sun, so I never got a real tan. And now I must admit that it is not that important to me anymore. I prefer being a bit lighter toned over burning myself trying to get a tan in one day. I did have people too, asking me if I was sick or something because I looked so pale/bad. I tried tanning beds to make my skin tone look ‘better’. While I was reading your post I thought: she is right but…I just need it for the light too! It helps me in those cold winter months. After reading through the comments, I changed my mind: I need to eat healthy, sleep enough and just be happy with who I am. That way my skin will glow on its own and if I am healthy it is easy for me to go outside during winters too, to get my much needed light-therapy. And I just realized that my parents’ tanning bed has a infra-red button: no poor UV radiation here, just infra red heat to feel good with.


maria October 13, 2009 at 1:44 am

LOOOOOOVE this post. I too have been an event tanner (I tanned for my senior prom and my wedding), but I decided after my honeymoon to give it up. Looking a bit *better* (if you want to use that term) is not even close to being worth my health. I love myself and my pale skin! :)


Saima October 13, 2009 at 1:50 am

Great post, Ange!! skin color/complexion is always an issue…..being Indo-Canadian myself….south asians are on the other end of the spectrum….pale skin is preferred over tanned skin tone!! bahaha….i guess one is not satisfied with what they’ve been born with and the grass is greener on the other side!!


Julie @savvyeats October 13, 2009 at 3:57 am

I’m with you! I depend on my sunscreen, since I’m one of those people who burns in like 10 minutes…


Diana October 13, 2009 at 4:08 am

I’ve never felt pressure to tan honestly. I have pretty tanned skin to begin with.

I do tan during the summer when I go to the beach. But I wear sunscreen and I go in the morning. Plus, I hate being a lizard and just laying in the sun. I much prefer going into the ocean, walking on the beach, etc.


Kerry October 13, 2009 at 4:46 am

I have to admit that I love the feeling of being at the beach in the summer and feeling the sun on my face, and then seeing just a hint of color that night. I “know” it’s not good for my skin, but I haven’t worked very hard to break this habit, even if I only indulge a few times a year. Tanning beds don’t appeal to me at all though, I only like being in the natural sunlight. Good post in that you forced me to think about why I like this so much, and I do consider this a good opportunity for self improvement – to learn to love my skin as-is.


GG October 13, 2009 at 4:53 am

I’ve always been back and forth on the tanning thing, I have naturally a darker tone of skin and so never really felt I had to tan. I’d hold my summer tan through the winter really well too, so what was the point of tanning? But earlier this year I was at my gym (where they have tanning) and all of a sudden I had this urge to start tanning and get darker. After all, dark is sexy, right? Anyway, even though I’m a student I went and dropped like 80 bucks on a tanning package and some lotion. I still have some left, and I have no desire to use the rest of my minutes. I’ve always known tanning was bad, I just caved to the pressure. Thanks for the great post!


Aoife October 13, 2009 at 5:58 am

Totally, totally agree! I’m Irish and extremely pale (not red haired though ;) ) and have lots of ‘beauty marks’ (ahem, moles!) so I always have to be really careful about tanning.

I’ve had nasty comments (from strangers!!) about my super-pale skin while on holidays which only reinforced me wanting to not tan and stick it to those who think pale skin is horrible!

One thing that bothers me though is the use of fake tanners – I wonder if in ten years we’ll find out how toxic they are and discover that they cause issues with people’s skin/health. Both of my sisters use fake tan all year round and try as I might I wouldn’t be able to get them to stop. But I feel as though it’s a really worrying trend that people are wearing fake tan so often…something that changes your skin colour can’t be good for you, surely?

Also it’s worth noting of course that just as light-skinned people want to tan, often in some cultures there is an emphasis placed on lightening darker skin. There may be different cultural and other reasons behind this, and it would be really interesting to hear from someone who knows more about this side of things. I don’t want to draw direct comparisons of course as it is much more complicated than just ‘people want lighter skin’.


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 13, 2009 at 8:54 am

I think regardless of the colour of skin that we have, we are told that it often needs to change in some way.


Aoife October 13, 2009 at 10:01 am

Yep! Even if there are different reasons behind it, it’s sad on so many levels that it’s not ok to be ourselves – pale, tan, dark, whatever colour we naturally are!
That’s why it’s so important for people like you to speak out and make people think about this subject.


Ms Melbourne October 13, 2009 at 6:00 am

Here in Australia we are very aware of the effects of skin cancer both from the sun and from solariums. A young girl, Clare Oliver, died in 2007 from the effects of tanning in a solarium. Her legacy was to make everyone aware of the dangers of solariums, so today all Victorian solariums must be licensed and all solarium beds must carry health warnings, detailing the risks associated with the machines. New laws will also prohibit under-18’s and people with fair “type 1” skin from using sun beds.
Read more at and join the clare oliver challenge to “Ban The Tan”

PS. LOVE your blog. I find that I often feel exactly as you do on so many issues. Keep the blogs coming!


Hannah October 13, 2009 at 6:08 am

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. I’m naturally very fair skinned and for most of my life have felt the pressure that something was “wrong” with this. I would have tanned my way through the teen years except my father is a dermatologist and a tanning bed is the WORST thing I could ever do. He sees younger and younger girls with cancer all the time and the aging effects are drastic! I cringe when I hear my students compliment each other on how tan they look after visiting the fake and bake. I wish they had the foresight to not do it!


Travel Raw October 13, 2009 at 7:17 am

Angela, Loved this post! I have never tanned and can definitely see the difference in people in my age group (30s) who have been tanning for decades! I use a natural sunscreen by Lavera (that I found in Germany). I love it and it does make my skin glow. (I’ve read reviews by people who don’t like it because it goes on white and thick, but it works for me and ultimately blends into my skin). Thanks for sharing.


Laura October 13, 2009 at 8:00 am

so happy to see this post! I used to be ADDICTED to tanning in college… I seriously went 3x a week for about 20 minutes each time. I thought I looked better and thinner. Looking back, I now realize how unhealthy I was (and looked!) but at the time, I felt like I couldn’t stop. I have since put a halt on using tanning beds and am beginning to feel comfortable in my natural paler skin color :)


Nicole (the other one) October 13, 2009 at 8:06 am

I’ve been diagnosed with melanoma twice, so I’ve learned to celebrate my pasty, ahem PORCELAIN skin ;-)


Yasmin October 13, 2009 at 8:12 am

I’m going to have to pass on this one. I’m naturally tan thanks to my Hispanic/Middle Eastern roots but still use a self-tanner. It subtly brings out my natural golden undertones. Sorry :(


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 13, 2009 at 8:52 am

No need to say sorry at all…you’ve gotta do what works for you. :)


Casey October 13, 2009 at 8:16 am

Great post Angela! And I completely agree, nothing beats natural beauty, even if it can be a challenge to stay in that mentality with all the messages thrown at us. I should know, I used to be in marketing and now I try and educate my clients on how uniquely beautiful they are and how to appreciate this.

Thanks for your great blog and inspiration.



Madelin @ What is for breakfast? October 13, 2009 at 8:19 am

Great post Ange! I never tan, couldn’t even if I wanted to! My super pale skin just burns if I don’t slip slop slap so I am totally neurotic about wearing sunscreen, hats, sunnies etc. Being sunburnt is pure hell. However, I do use fake tan sometimes. I like the look of being tanned and use it pretty frequently over summer or when I go on a holiday. But having said that, the thing that I love about fake tan is that one day I can be brown then a few days later its gone and I’m back to my normal self. Most of the time I love being pale and it doesn’t bother me at all when people comment on it. So I like it both ways and fake tan works for me. I don’t beleive there have been any health risks associated with them except for allergic reactions. I found this quote:

“The active ingredient in fake tan is Dihydroxyacetone (DHA). It is a simple three-carbon sugar, which is non-toxic in nature. It works by interacting with the skin cells in the stratum corneum layer of the skin, the outermost layer of the epidermis. In this layer the skins cells are dead and the chemical reaction, within these dead cells, results in the production of a brown pigment called melanoidin. The DHA does not go beyond this cell layer and so is not absorbed into the body’s system. As the skin is constantly renewing itself the tan fades as the skins cells are shed. This means further applications are needed to maintain the tan.”

Anyway, that is my 2 bobs worth :). PS. I HATE tanning beds too.


Whitney @ Lettuce Love October 13, 2009 at 8:22 am

Love this! I haven’t been tan or sun burnt since I was in 8th grade — I love my paleness. I would much rather be wrinkle and cancer free in my old age than leathery and tan today.

You go girl for posting this!!


Rhonda October 13, 2009 at 8:28 am

Yeah, I’ve got the flashlight legs comment for years. When I was younger, I rarely wore sunscreen and have the scars to prove it! I’m covered in freckles, but would never tan. I now stay out of the sun as much as possible. While I’m overweight, I don’t drink or smoke like the rest of my fam. I’m 29 and I still get carded! Everyone says I have the skin of a 21 year old. And I’m ok with that! :)



Lizzie October 13, 2009 at 8:47 am

In my home country, skin cancer is the the #1 killer disease. From our early days at school we were always taught to “Slip, slop, slap” – slip on a shirt, slop on some suncreen, and slap on a hat. Where I live at the moment there’s not a need to do that a lot of the time, BUT this has opened my eyes to the world Angela described of fake tanning. Even the stuff you can buy in shops has so much crap in it.

On the opposite spectrum, we have people in India and Asia using skin bleaching products to whiten their skin!! Is it just me . . or is there some sort of irony here??


Pauline October 13, 2009 at 9:02 am

It’s so funny because in many Asian countries, tanned skin is not the ideal, rather PALE skin is seen to be the beauty standard! There are tons of skin whitening products as a result. I guess people have issues with skin colour everywhere.


Jen October 13, 2009 at 9:18 am

I used to feel like I really wanted to tan when I was younger, and then I moved to Japan, where the majority of people want to be pale, and it made me appreciate my skin colour a lot!


Kimberly Lee October 13, 2009 at 9:21 am

Like you Angela, I was very much the “event tanner” – I tanned for prom, my friends weddings, vacations. However, last year when a close friend had a skin cancer scare, I knew that enough was enough. I have pale skin and lots of freckles – and I think I’m beautiful! I do not need to be “dark”, “bronzed”, or “sun-kissed” to be beautiful.

And now that I found out that I will be giving birth to a daughter in March, I want to make sure that I am setting this best example for loving myself as is….and never apologizing for not conforming to someone else’s ideal of beauty.


Rose October 13, 2009 at 9:25 am

Hi Angela, your blog is an absolute joy to read :) Being an Indian I am perpetually tanned … lol. I used to think the “skin melodrama” was mostly in India where every advertisement ever magazine promotes fair and flawless skin. I really didn’t think that people with fair skin lived in a similar media hyped environment that brainwashes people to believe that they are just not good enough.

You are so candid and open about your problems and conflicts(usually women are not). Your blog is an eye-opener on many issues. Especially the issues that trouble women of all ages. I hope more and more people especially young women read your blog to see that they are not the only people facing problems.

Keep up the great work :)


Eliza October 13, 2009 at 9:28 am

Fine lines and wrinkles are pretty too!
I totally agree, but the focus of wearing sunscreen/clothing should be preventing skin cancer, not wrinkles, if we really want to reject the idea that there is one kind of beautiful.

Someone asked about people with darker pigmentation in their skin. Its not only true that people with darker skin are pressured to bleach their skin, but also that people with lighter skin are sometimes referred to has having “good skin.”

Historically, white women were actually encouraged to be very pale, because it symbolized your wealth and ability to stay out of the sun rather than having to work in it. Now, some people think that the ideal of the “tan white woman” comes from the idea that the wealthy, upper-class have leisure time to spend sunning themselves on tropical islands.
Also, generally lighter skinned people of color have held higher positions in society because they had lineage that connected them directly to a white person. Some historians suggest that this is the drive behind the desire for lighter skin in black American culture.


Gillian October 13, 2009 at 9:35 am

This hits very close to home for me. In high school when my friends went to tanning salons I always stayed back. At the beach I always wore a high SPF while they used oils. Then somewhere in university I became tan obsessed. I used tanning salons to stay dark all winter and started to forego sunscreen at the beach. When I felt tired and worn out looking I used a tan to pick me up. It is just in the past year that I have learnt I don’t need a tan do look beautiful. If I am taking care of myself I can get a natural “glow” which is more prettier and better for me in the long run. Your blog has helped me realize this, and I can finally see how much more important it is to take care of yourself than to fight what nature has given you. Thank you!


Whit October 13, 2009 at 9:36 am

Angela, I too quit the tanning bed as well as any type of tanning this year. I have liberally applied SPF 50 all summer, and still I worry about the damage I have already done to my skin that I can’t fix. I tanned from age 16 to 22. SIX YEARS! I am appalled at this, and really I LOVE my skin just the way it is.

When I am older, I will appreciate it all the more, because the more I care for it, the less it will age and wrinkle. Thank you so much for posting this. I am 100% behind the love your skin movement!


Priyanka October 13, 2009 at 10:06 am

Isn’t it true that the grass on the other side always seems greener and this is the exact thing that the commercial companies take advantage of. For the westerners they have created a hype about how “good” the tanned skin looks like and for the brown skinned people they introduce Fairness products, to sell the concept of a lighter complexion.Believe me like any hungry individual struck by the idea of looking “beautiful” I have tried these cremes and what is the result nothing changes.After realizing that all of this is just marketing gimmick, I came to the conclusion that I am born with this skin for a reason and I an really happy in it. i don’t need a $10 or $100 creme.The most important thing is to have a clear and clean complexion which radiates and GLOWS!


Naomi (onefitfoodie) October 13, 2009 at 10:27 am

OH YOU GLOW! totally agree with you angela and thank you for this post!!! I quit tanning beds after college when I realized what I was doing to my body

hopefully you inspipred lots of people to stop the nonsense of the tanning phenomena!


Morgan @ Life After Bagels October 13, 2009 at 10:47 am

I have worked in the cosmetic industry for 8 years now (mostly in skincare) and it continues to be a fight to convince people to wear sunscreen. It boggles my mind that people will buy literally a $200 product for wrinkles but refuse an SPF product. Well lady, you just wasted $200 then.

Further more, my friends all laughed at me when they heard I went through 7 bottles of sunscreen between me and BF while in Punta Cana for 7 days. I’ll be laughing when I’m 40 and wrinkle free!


natalie October 13, 2009 at 10:50 am

I could not agree more. I have been the same way with tanning for events..and I regret it totally. I wish so bad I could go back and tell myself to KNOCK IT OFF! I am so afraid of skin cancer that I won’t even think about it any more. I read a blog about a young wife who lost her husband to skin cancer, it was the saddest thing I’ve ever read. That very day when I saw my husband I ran up to him (in a public place) hugged him and started bawling. Skin cancer is so scary and I know from what i’ve done in the past i’ve put myself at risk. All I can do is not do it anymore and treat my skin right. Which I intend to do!!


Anne Marie @ New Weigh of Life October 13, 2009 at 10:53 am

Awesome post, Angela!!!!!


Maria October 13, 2009 at 10:58 am

I’ve been an advocate for skin cancer awareness and safe skin practices (and also extremely pale for a Greek girl!) since my early university days.

My little skin-cancer awareness group on Facebook that I started a few years ago is 530+ ladies (and men!) and growing strong. I hope you all will join!


Janna from Just Flourishing October 13, 2009 at 11:14 am

I have always always ALWAYS felt pressure to be more tanned.

I have very very light skin. My whole family does, that’s how we were made!

We as a family get, not made fun of… but we get comments that we are extremely pale. My brother gets called “Oreo Cookie” because his hair is so dark and his skin so pale.

I would constantly get comments from people (not very nice people) who said things like “Get a tan” and “OMG your legs are so WHITE!”.

I never knew what to say. “I’m sorry?”… “This is the way I was born?”

In high school and university I was so insecure about my pale skin that I tanned a lot more than I should have. Outside… in tanning salons… with self tanner.

I was working so hard to cover up my skin because I thought everyone was looking at how pasty I was. I thought I couldn’t be AS attractive as I could be unless I was tanned.

But, when I was in Florida with my family a couple months ago a guy came up to me and said “Wow, your skin is so beautiful, it’s like porcelain”.

It was something I had never ever heard anyone say before. It almost made me cry. MY skin? Beautiful?

It was too bad it took some else to make me realize that I could be beautiful with lighter skin.

But now I know, this is the way I was made, and it’s not a bad thing! And if other people have a problem with it, then that’s THEIR problem.

After a long time, I am truly starting to feel comfortable in my own skin (literally :) )

I am with you on the Love Your Skin Movement all the way!

Thanks Angela!


Shannon (The Daily Balance) October 13, 2009 at 11:18 am

I wrote a similar post about this awhile ago and evaluated some self-tanners – check it out!


Tricia October 13, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Wow, I completely support this Angela!
Throughout high school, college and even a couple years after college I was an AVID tanner. I grew up in Massachusetts and the tanning beds seemed to really lift my spirits during the cold winter months (and I thought I looked better tan!) Then I went to college in Florida where I would tan any chance I got! I even had a work study job at the pool where I would lounge in between classes. I was ALWAYS tan, despite many warning from my aunt and other family members who have had melanomas removed. I had the “I won’t get skin cancer” mentality. It really sunk in this past year though, when I met a 23 year old woman who had a malignant melanoma removed from her nose. Her post surgery pictures really scared me. They did a skin graft from her forehead to replace the skin they removed from her nose and for 4 weeks following the procedure she had a pronounced skin flap that went from the top of her forehead to her nose. It was horrible. She is now left with a deep scar about 8 inches long on her face. Despite this she is a beautiful, strong and confident woman, very admirable!
Meeting her prompted me to go to the dermatogist and have moles and freckles looked at, I had one removed from my calf. The Dr. also showed me the sun damage and freckles that I have from my constant sunning. So I am on a string of chemical peels and may do an IPL (light treatment) to decrease additional damage. If I had known now, what I knew then I would be less freckled and have more money in my pocket!

Thanks again for posting this Ange, you rock!


Tricia October 13, 2009 at 1:40 pm

oops I meant to say I wish I knew then what I know now. : )


Chelsey October 13, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Ladies: The only anti-wrinkle cream is SUNSCREEN! :)


Tracy October 13, 2009 at 1:58 pm

I have been recently found out that I have stage one malignant melanoma. I have been staying out of the sun for years and wearing all the sunscreen I can stand. Being a green eyed redhead is no help!! Of course, I live in Las Vegas so staying out of the sun can be real tricky! Skin cancer can be so easily prevented. If we can convince just one young person to stay out of the stupid tanning booths ( yes they are all over Las Vegas!! ) and to wear sunscreen we could win out on this. All tanning gave me was more freckles! Prevention is the key and it is never too late to start early! Thanks for bringing this up!!


Hayley October 13, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Great topic Angela! I also am fair by nature and have always been too scared of tanning salons to go to one! I’ve dabbled with the thought of self-tanners because I too bought into the notion that pale and dimply was esthetically unappealing. It is rather silly that we should deny our natural coloring and try to be something we’re not.

This topic could go on to a much broader range of ideas – including makeup (I know you’ve already covered this one), dying hair, body hair removal, etc.


Katie October 13, 2009 at 2:25 pm

So interesting hearing from all of you – thanks for starting this post, Angela! Like many others, I had a spot of melanoma removed at age 26. I was never a sun worshipper but was a bit of event tanner and am fair skinned. No more tanning – I’m now the sunscreen queen and proud of it!

I love this idea of being happily pale – go us!! :)


Karen October 13, 2009 at 2:38 pm

I agree with the sentiment of this post totally, I just want to point out that we do get a wonderful and necessary nutrient from sunlight- Vitamin D (which is actually a hormone). The best way to get it is through sunlight. 10-20 mins a day are good, and in winter Vitamin D3 (NOT D2) and cod liver oil for the Vit A will substitute.

There are many harmful chemicals in sunscreen that when absorbed through the skin daily are indeed toxic. Research natural mineral based sunscreen.


Emily October 13, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Preach it sista! So glad you touched on this subject. I too relate to so many other ladies thoughts on this and I too struggled for years with tanning and I’m only in my 20’s! I can proudly say that I haven’t been tanning in about a year now! Working on loving my light skin still, but I will get there!! xoxo


Jenna October 13, 2009 at 2:58 pm

great post angela! What a great way to spread awareness for skin cancer. Its crucial we all realize how important sunscreen is! And how deadly tanning booths are!


Paula October 13, 2009 at 3:41 pm

That’s nothing. Some tanning salons around here are spinning a research study that says Vitamin D prevents breast cancer. They are spinning that study to say that tanning (indoor or out) can prevent breast cancer! There’s a huge billboard in my town saying indoor tanning can prevent breast cancer. I kept re-reading it thinking I was missing something. Upon investigation, I found out it was paid for by the local tanning salon. How irresponsible!!!!!!!!!


Kristin October 13, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Wow! THis is a great post. In my younger days after losing a lot of weight I decided to tan so when I went to try on new swim suites I would feel better about myself. I thought I looked really good when I was all tan and skinny. But, every time I would lie there trying to relax I thought about how I was purposely injecting myself with cancer! I will never tan again and freak out when I am outside and exposed without sunscreen. I work near a University and walk right by a tanning salon on my way to and from work. It makes me so sad to see all the young people walking in.using the salon. I’ll be going au natural from now on!


on the rocks October 13, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Great post! I too in high school used to tan..all the time. Luckily by the time I was 17 I stopped forever. This summer I did cave in and get a spray-tan…and then hated it! I’ve learned to embrace my pale, yet healthy, skin!


Jenn October 13, 2009 at 5:02 pm

I’m 100 percent in agreement with you Angela. I’m a red head and I’m as white as they come. I get all kinds of “whitey” and “pale” comments. It makes me insanely insecure (I’ve always wanted to know what it feels like to be tan for just one day) but I know that I’m better off for staying pale.

For anybody who still considers going to a tanning bed (and I’m shocked this hasn’t already been mentioned), back in July the World Health Organization moved tanning beds into the highest risk classification for cancer causing elements. Tanning beds now join a very illustrious group of carcinogens like tobacco smoke, the hepatitis B virus and mustard gas. If THAT doesn’t make you think twice, you need to shake your head.


Mo October 13, 2009 at 5:15 pm

I have heard this sentiment in my head, but have not been brave enough to say it out loud.

“When would I ever be good enough? When would I start to challenge how I felt about my skin without a tan and put an end to this ‘event’ tanning?’
I had to face the cold hard truth.
I was tanning to cover up my insecurities.”

I am glad that you have figured the psychology of this out at a younger age than I have. I still TOTALY struggle with all that your post conveys and I still feel the need to change my skin color with self-tanners (I do not tan anymore). I still hate my skin the way that it is naturally – how sad!

Thanks for this post, it is genius.


Erin October 13, 2009 at 5:51 pm

After reading this post and thinking about being the dark haired, fair skinned woman of Irish ancestry that I am – when someone says “Oh you’re so pale/white/fair/whatever,” I’m going to say “Oh thank you!! You know, someone people have to work at glowing, but it just comes naturally to me.” ;)


amy (veganissexy) October 13, 2009 at 6:13 pm

I’m with ya girlfriend. I haven’t stepped back into a tanning bed for years. I hate feeling the pressure to look a certain shade of golden brown just to feel sexy or slim. Now don’t get me wrong….I’m all about getting some natural color while wearing my spf 45, but no more fake and bake for me! I tanned all through high school and worked at a salon in college where I tanned at least twice a week! Crazyness :( Now I use the organic tanagement paraben free self tanner when I have to be in a dress or bathing suit, but I’ve sworn off keeping the color up just for normal life. Good call drawing attention to this. I know lots of “healthy” eaters and exercisers who still tan. I just remind myself it’s just as bad as smoking!


Annie October 13, 2009 at 6:34 pm

I noticed you didn’t say anything about tanning outside when you said you were going to give up tanning beds and not use spray.
I don’t think tanning outside is any better then a tanning bed.
I don’t tan period and think it is the best way to live.
Never been to a tanning bed or spayed any junk on my body. I have no idea why any one would. I guess it goes to show how little effect all the warnings have been. I think its sad that people either don’t get the warnings or ignor them to look tanned.
A tanned look is no longer considered a healthy look.

Cosmetics do have links to cancer. Deordorant for one has a very strong link to breast cancer.

You really have to look into things you put on or into your body. Everything has risk but some things/acts have a lot hight risk.

I think the best wording for this cause would be (Just say no to all tanning and spraying).
I don’t always put sunscrren on my feet if i’m out in sandles and only for a short time. Great ay to collect your D. No more then 10 minutes once a week or every 2 weeks.


Amy October 13, 2009 at 7:07 pm

I’m with you! I’ve actually never been a tanner. I am a pale girl who burns! If anyone laughs at my paleness when I go to the beach I just lather on sunscreen, put on my hat, and tell them that I am embracing the pale. I actually really like my skin and since people already think I’m younger than I am, I think I’ll be super happy I didn’t tan when I’m older. :)


Happiness Pie October 13, 2009 at 7:34 pm

I love your message here. Unfortunately I think self tanning, “smart” tanning, etc. will continue because if we didn’t think there was something wrong with us, and that there was a product to fix it, how would INSERT COMPANY HERE make money? boo on them!


Runnerbelle October 13, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Great post! I recently had a basal cell spot removed from my forehead, I cannot help but think of how I stupidly used tanning beds in high school and college for events. I am an event tanner too! Also when I was a kid, my mom could not keep me out of the water during the summers, so I had my fair share of sunburns too.

Now as a marathon runner, I lather up in sunscreen, wear a visor all the time and try to cover up as much as I can depending on the weather. It is so sad that businesses have to use such damaging messages to promote their services….but then again its a service that is just not good for you!


Kimberly October 13, 2009 at 8:46 pm

This is interesting. What you say is very true… in America, Canada, and presumably most of the “west”, but my roommate is a Korean student studying here in California for the year and we’ve had some interesting conversation. Her mom saw her after she had been here for the summer and said, “Oh my, you are going to be expensive when you get home!” To what was she referring? Lightening my roommate’s skin! Apparently, in Asia (or at least Korea) they have the same problem in the opposite direction. They are not happy with their natural color and strive to change it to conform to a societal standard of beauty. Granted, staying out of the sun is better long term for your skin’s health, but bleaching your skin?! My goodness, it really is a world-wide epidemic.


Kristin @ runningsongs October 13, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Great post! I too “event tanned” for my wedding… and you know what? The pictures didn’t even look that great and now the fine lines are starting to creep their way in. I spend a great deal of time outdoors for work and pleasure, and this post is a great reminder about the importance of being diligent with sunscreen… and being sensible about “beauty regimes” in general. Amen!


Randi October 13, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Great post Ange! Thank you so much for addressing this topic because it irks me like no other!! Especially here in Alaska, EVERYONE tans b/c of the lack of sunlight. And the women here give me crap about saying I won’t do it, and that I should because of lack of Vitamin D. What?!! They are crazy! But that’s how the tanning companies advertise here in the land of no sun. By encouraging people to get their Vitamin D through tanning. Go figure. My dermatologist last week told me Vit D supplements will work just fine.


Taylor October 13, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Angela, this post is incredible. I tanned consistently for 10 years (I am only 25) and I can only imagine how much younger I could look had I not done this, never mind the risk of skin cancer. I really struggle with feeling insecure when I am “pale” especially with my dark hair and eyes. Thank you so much for this reminder!


heatherdawn October 13, 2009 at 9:49 pm

This is such a good post. I have “unconsciously” given up tanning beds. I would always go tanning in the spring or the dead of winter to “liven” up my skin. Once I began Bikram Yoga i didnt feel good going to tanning beds anymore. I would say that I needed to go tanning, but then not feel like going. Im not sure if the yoga had something to do with that. Whatever made me stop going, im glad!


lyss October 13, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Someone from my high school just died from skin cancer. You can’t mess around with that tanning stuff – it’s SO pointless. This goes hand in hand with Operation Beautiful – we are ENOUGH just as we are!!


Dani October 13, 2009 at 10:27 pm

This is a fantastic post! I have also tanned for certain events to try and look ‘my best’. But, as you said, how does this make me look any better than I did before? How did I buy into someone letting me think that doing this to my skin was looking my best?! It happens to most of us though, but we are beautiful just as we are!! Great post :D


Lauren (Runandrejoice) October 13, 2009 at 11:35 pm

This is such a struggle for me! I can talk for HOURS about the importance of taking care of my body. Only natural things in, ample exercise, no chemicals in my makeup and body products…but come summertime, a wedding, etc…where am I? Just signing up for cancer! It is so engrained that tan is beautiful, and it is, NOW, but the after effects are beyond ugly. I would rather be pasty and glowing forever than temporarily tan and sick later, thank youuuuu!


WholeBodyLove October 13, 2009 at 11:52 pm

I tanned in a tanning bed for years…ten to be exact. My mom has had skin cancer so I of course decided to say goodbye to the tanning bed. Unfortunately, I already have the signs of the sun on my face. I am only 24 and I have the beginnings of age spots and “crow’s feet”. However, I do like the way I look with more color. It’s not about what anyone else thinks. I just like the way my hair and eyes look against a little more pigment. So, I have ordered an earth friendly, chemical free sunless tanner online. I should recieve it soon. I have no shame in using it because I know it’s for me and no one else.


Marika October 14, 2009 at 8:09 am

Yes! This was wonderful. I have never been to a tanning salon, and I stopped trying to tan in the sun years ago because my skin just doesn’t tan very well/evenly, and I realized I was better off without it. Now I am SPF 30’s number one fan and promoter ;-). I also hate the brainwashing that goes on, particularly the notion that getting a “base tan” is safe and will protect your skin. Any exposure = potential damage… simple as that.


Caroline October 14, 2009 at 9:02 am

Completely agreed! My dad has had both a malignant melanoma and a squamus cell mole removed though, so it hits a bit closer to home for me. He’s fine these days but I won’t be surprised if more unpleasant moles turn up in the future :/


Courtney October 14, 2009 at 11:55 am

Hi Angela,
I LOVE your blog! I start my morning with it everyday almost Ha ha! Your post reminded me of my little sister. She was 15 and a prominent cheerleader when she bucked the fake bake trend in high school. All her friends used to tease her for being so pale and she would always say “well good luck getting rid of those wrinkles one day.” To this day she is proudly pale and works on T.V no less! I used to fake bake for events like you but I stopped when I was 24. It is not worth it and all I have to do is look at all of these poor people with bad sun damage and I realize it is not worth it to be tan. My only gripe is that the veins on the back of my legs are so visable so I am a little embarassed to wear skirts…..anyone have any solutions????


Sheri October 14, 2009 at 12:59 pm

I too did the tanning beds when I was younger…not a great idea. When I was 31 I was diagnosed with skin cancer, Melanoma the worst kind you could possibly get. It was on my back and I spotted it one day. I was REALLY lucky and spotted it early enough that once I was treated my outlook was great.

That was 7 years ago. Ever since then I slather on the sun screen, wear big floppy hats and cloths that have SPF in the fabric when I now that I am going to be in the sun for a long period of time. I LOVE my white skin and have gotten used to it. Don’t get me wrong I still love being in the sun and enjoying a hot vacation I just do it with caution.

It is so not worth it to sucum to the pressures of “needing” to have color on your skin. I don’t do the fake stuff either.

This was such a good topic to post on your blog Angela, because skin cancer tends to hit women in their late 20’s and 30’s and it is always good to be aware of your skin!


Erin October 14, 2009 at 1:25 pm

I wholeheartedly agree! At 26 I had a strange spot show up on my leg. I watched it for a long time and finally asked my doctor about it. She said it needed to come off. She removed it and – guess what! It was the stuff that turns into melanoma. I couldn’t believe it. And she didn’t even take enough so I had to have my leg cut on again! The spot was actually quite small but I ended up with seven stitches and now have an inch long scar. I have no doubt it was from tanning and refusing to wear enough sunscreen. I have definitely learned my lesson!


Kim October 14, 2009 at 1:32 pm

I don’t normally comment but I back your post 100%. My grandfather died of skin cancer last year. He was in so much pain and to see him that way was heartbreaking. My grandfather developed skin cancer from just being outside, traveling and living life. Obviously, growing up in Vietnam, there was no such thing as sunscreen for my grandfather. Imagine how we all can protect ourselves today! We have all these options yet so many people choose to bake, bake, bake. Anyone who reads this…please, please wear sunscreen and don’t worry about your skin tone. You look beautiful the way (color) you are!


John October 14, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Lots of education needed in here. is a good place to start.


Kristianne October 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm

This one made me smile. The “educational” website especially.

I’ll bet dollars to donuts you work in the tanning industry and have a vested interest in promoting the use of devices such as tanning beds ’cause somehow I just don’t buy it that your life’s mission is to ensure that all of the young women of the world have enough Vitamin “D”.


Stacey October 14, 2009 at 1:59 pm

I too have recently learned to embrace my pale roots. This summer was the first summer I decided not to lay out to try to get a tan. If I got sun while out on a run, great, but if I didn’t, that’s great too. I was reading through some of the comments and I noticed a few people concerned about the chemicals in their sunscreens and I thought you may like to check out this website:

You can search for any product and it will give you a rundown of the chemicals in them and any safety concerns. You can click on skin care and then sunscreen at the top of the screen and it will take you to a list of all the sunscreens beginning with the most recommended. Hope you find it helpful!


JavaChick October 14, 2009 at 2:41 pm

I was a child in the 70’s/teenager in the 80’s and as a fair-skinned red head I was forever being told I needed to get some color. I’m just not capable of tanning (unless I get a sunburn which will eventually fade to a tan – not worth it to me) and it used to bother me, but I’ve got to the point where I just don’t care. I’m pale skinned. That’s just the way it is.

My family camps for a couple of weeks every summer, and even now, after everything we hear about skin cancer, my Mom and sister (who is a nurse by the way) will spend an hour or two every day on the beach to “get some color”. Blows my mind.


John October 14, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Problem is, most people just listen to what they are being told, usually thru the media, without researching anything themselves. Soon the sunscreen makers will come out with Moonscreen and have you wearing it to bed because they have scared you some more.


Jenn October 14, 2009 at 4:08 pm

When a group like the World Health Organization is classifying tanning beds in a similar carcinogenic risk category as mustard gas and tobacco smoke it’s all the “research” I feel that I need to do. I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to die of a Vitamin “D” deficiency anytime soon….soooooo I’ll take my chances and forego the tanning booth.


Carms October 15, 2009 at 10:45 pm

OMG! I tottaly agree! I do not salon tan or whatever thats called but I have sat out in the sun trying my very BEST to soke up the sun! Then my older cousin told me I had a nice taan and I was instantly insalted- tans are not as pretty as natural beuty tans HIDE natural beauty!


Rachel November 16, 2009 at 1:08 am

OMG! thank god, someone finally raises this issue. I’m 15 and currently in highschool in australia, the world’s capital of skin cancer. Many people in my family have had cancers removed, and my Aunty died of cancer at a very young age. I have very pale skin, and wear sunscreen, and seek shade as often as possible. At, school I am constantly bombarded with negative comments on my pale skin such as “You’d be so pretty if you weren’t pastey” or “Why the hell would you wear sunscreen all the time. Do you want to be pastey?” These comments put me under tremendous pressure to tan which i think is horrible since there is enough warnings in teh media about the consequences of tanning. I hate the fact that people are always so negative about smoking because it’s bad for you, but then go out and tan and think thats alright. In my mind, tanning and smoking go hand in hand, and tehres no reason we shouldnt be causious of tanning, the way we are with smoking. Anyways, i love my pale skin as its clear, wioth no moles and frecles form the sun and at the end of the day, i feel i clearly win this battle with the rpize being my life.


Vanessa May 19, 2010 at 10:34 am

Thank you for this. I am naturally very very very pale (and very light blond too) and I am so sick of people telling me that I need to be orange in order to be attractive. I know that people think that they are just joking or teasing, but when people tell me I need to cover up my whiteness because it’s too bright, or too ugly, or too blinding, it’s hurtful. I like myself, I like the way I look, but I’m tired of hearing about something I already know: I’m fair skinned. My mom had cancerous moles removed from her face and neck when she was 45, and she’s worn sunscreen as long as I can remember (although she didn’t while growing up on a farm). Maybe when all the nasty commenters are 30 and look 40, but I’m 30 and still look 20 they’ll finally get it.


Tamara October 1, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Here is what I am committing myself to:

1. Absolutely no tanning beds. Zilch. Nadda. None.
3. Don’t buy into the media hype that only tanned skin = beautiful. Beauty is what you were born with!

Awesome, Angela! I’ve been shunning tanning for many years, and am very annoyed about the self-tanner thing (even though I do succumb occasionally to the thought that I’ll get some. But I never do.) Natural skin tone is the way to go! I even get annoyed that I can’t avoid getting some color in the summer, just from driving, etc. Even with sunscreen, I tend to get a smidge of color on my arms, chest, and right now I actually have flip-flop tan lines on my feet because I forget to sunscreen them!

Thanks for the great post. Oh btw, I still occasionally get carded… at 42!


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