I got my first spray tan a few days before Halloween in October 2011. My sorority was having a Halloween date party, and I felt it imperative to be tan since I was going as Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island. I had been declared cancer free a few months earlier in June, and I was still struggling with confidence in my appearance, as my body had undergone some changes due to the disease.
The spray tan that started it all
After my first spray tan, I was hooked. Everyone told me how healthy I looked, and I couldn’t stop. In November 2011, I signed up for unlimited spray tanning. It worked the same way that other tanning bed “unlimited tanning” worked, except this time, it wasn’t harmful for my skin. I went at least once a week, usually every 5 days to keep the glow. I own all of the products you could possibly ever need. The blog post I wrote with spray tanning tips is the most popular one that I have ever written, and still gets consistent views months later! I considered myself to be a spray tanning pro, and I encouraged everyone around me to try it in place of going to the tanning bed.
Sometimes I would get lazy and slack off on my spray tanning, and then I would see a photo of someone gorgeous and sunkissed, and I would make automatic plans to be sprayed before Sun Tan City closed that night. I wanted to be tan. In my eyes, being tan was the equivalent of being attractive.
In the same sense that I felt inspired by others to be tan, I received constant questioning about how I kept such a healthy glow. “Where do you tan?” and “Which [tanning] bed do you lay in?” were questions that I was asked frequently by clients, co-workers, friends, and even strangers. I’ve even had co-workers tell me that they started going to the tanning bed to achieve my glow. (I don’t say this because I think my tan was extraordinary… It definitely wasn’t. I say this because it shows how obsessed we as a society are with being tan, even if it means harming our skin and our wellbeing!)
My three year cancer free anniversary was June 1. How did I celebrate? By cancelling my unlimited spray tanning! At 23, it is time to (literally) embrace the pale, freckly skin that I am in.
The money that I once shelled out each month to cover my tanning subscription will now go towards great skin care products (I’m open to suggestions!) and the occasional facial. Not only am I saving money, but I’m saving time and frustrations. I will no longer leave Sun Tan City fuming about bad customer service and the fact that I had to wait an hour when I told my wait would be ten minutes.
So here’s my challenge to you – embrace and take care of the skin that you’re in!
Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. I received no compensation for this post. I do own the photo above, please credit me with a link back to this post if you choose to use it.