Some take tanning too far

Elaine Lac
Contributing Writer

America’s definition of beauty leans towards an artificial image and tanning is used to realize this image. In recent years, tanning has become increasingly popular and people will often go to unhealthy extremes to achieve the perfect bronzed look. Extreme tanning promotes an unnatural and unsafe practice which can lead to skin cancer. People are obsessed with changing their looks to copy celebrities, and it’s not worth the repercussions. Instead, natural beauty should be celebrated.

Celebrities perpetuate a standard that skin should glow with a healthy bronze. Numerous stars, like Lindsay Lohan, have been caught with telltale orange fingers from artificial bronzers. Probably one of the most infamous tanners is “Jersey Shore” reality star Snooki. She has been known to visit tanning salons regularly and turned to self-tanner after, as she put it, Obama raised taxes on tanning.

Not even economic downturns can deter people obsessed with their appearances. Society views these stars as beautiful, so many people try to copy them to attain their sense of popularity and attractiveness. If people see the dedication to appearances stars like Snooki have, it only teaches us to obsess more over our own appearances.

In recent news, a tanning obsessed mom was charged with endangering her five-year-old daughter who had gotten a sunburn from “tanning”. While the mother claims that the burn was natural, there has been reasonable doubt in this claim. Tanning at such a young age only further increases the risk for melanoma.

I am guilty of tanning too, because I swim every year, but I am very careful to always use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Natural tans can be beautiful and safely done with care. In fact, absorbing sunlight increases our amount of Vitamin D which can promote resistance to diseases, but going to an extreme like the tanning mom is out of the question.

In general, the pursuit of the ideal image has discouraged the acceptance of natural beauty. People never seem to be happy with what they have. People with light skin want tanned skin. People with dark hair want blonde hair. People want bigger eyes, larger eyelashes, skinnier bodies and smoother skin. We should appreciate ourselves and feel comfortable in our skin. If not, the high expectations of beauty easily influence younger people, making them insecure and leading to extremes to pursue beauty.

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