Wednesday, August 17, 2011

To look tanned or not to be out there with a tan. How are we supposed to look these days? We all know by now it is not good to bake yourselves in the sun unless you are looking forward to skin cancer but should we look pale like we’ve never sat in the sun? Throughout the years looking good has gone through many shades of skin tan.
There are so many sun tanning products out there these days promising a safe and perfect summer tan you don’t know which ones to choose. As a kid we brought baby oil and reflective mirrored cardboard and soaked in the sun till we were black. It’s amazing we are still alive and skin cancer free.
For generations a tan said health, beauty and the good life. By 2013 it is estimated that we will spend 6.6 billion dollars on sun care products. These days you don’t really need the sun. 30 million Americans use tanning beds. As for faux or false tans, there is the spray can. Some of the spray tanning people earn up to $350 a spray session. The higher the price you pay it seems the less orange you will look.
Lets look way back. Tanning used to be very unpopular. The farmers wife used to wear long sleeved dresses in the summer and big wide brimmed hats to prevent a tan. In those days ivory skin represented wealth. Remember slavery at that time was also in full force. Being pale was a sign that you didn’t have to work in the fields.
Then everything flip flopped. During the industrial revolution of the early 1900’s if you were pale, you were stuck in a factory somewhere, if you had a tan, well, then you had a life of leisure and could afford to lay around in the sun. After World War II the tanning craze really took off. We invented the bikini, the twist, beach blanket parties, the Beach Boys music and love in the sun.
Ron Rice was a lifeguard then and witnessed all the tanning craze. Everyone wanted a deep dark tan. Black people were cool. In 1967, when he became a chemistry teacher, he created what would become Hawaiian Tropic Tanning Oil. In his garage out of garbage pails her stirred a combination of aloe, coconut and other oils that became the formula for a rich deep dark tan.
He compared his product to French perfume that everyone would pay for because they couldn’t afford to go to France. Well, no one could afford to go to Hawaii for a tan either. So, we bought French perfume and Hawaiian Tropic Oils and looked and smelled real good in our driveway on a long chair with our feet up. Paradise!
By the 1980’s all that grease started to be replaced by sunscreens. In 1981 sunscreens made up only 1/3rd of all sun tan products. 15 years later, sunscreens dominated with 96% of the market. Tans today is sun damage. So, now we see sunscreen in everything from make up to hair conditioners.
It is not helping! Skin cancer is still continuing to rise. Tanning beds are bad. The World Health Organization lists the beds as a carcinogen right next to cigarettes. Like cigarettes, tanning can be addictive. Those beds increase your chance of getting skin cancer by 75%. Lots of people still use the beds. Tans now are in. Someone who walks into a room with a tan says, you are accomplished, you are successful, you are rich enough to go off to an exotic island vacation and come back glowing.
Do you use sunscreen at the beach? A recent poll says: Always 44% Sometimes 20%
Almost Never 19%.

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