Amid the summer, many of us find ourselves enjoying customary summer activities that ensue outdoors with the beating sun on our unprotected, natural skin. Everyone has a different opinion and appreciation for the sun and its interference with their natural skin tone. The massively popular trend of having tan skin (for people of lighter hues) has ruled over the media for over half a century. Words like bronzed and sun-kissed have become the epitome of compliments as humans bask in the sun’s harmful rays. But it is costing us.
The history of perceiving skin tones swings like a pendulum changing with the world. Tanning became a trend for people of lighter skin tones after years of financial despair following the Great Depression. The trend caught fire in communities that found fiscal prosperity and began to splurge newfound extra money on vacations and travel. Legend has it, photos of a bronzed Coco Chanel lounging in the Mediterranean circulated during the fashion titan’s early reign, setting the stage for the trend. By the early 2000s, golden skin completely took over the scene. We associate a darker color with healthy, when, realistically, any color is rich and healthy. Throughout history, people of white and lighter skin associated darker, sun-kissed skin with the working class and lighter skin with the wealthy, as they weren’t in the sun working all day. The changing mindset toward shades of skin proves that is just a trend that changes with time.
The incentive to become tan quickly turns into a sunburn. Many people are under a false belief that harmful sunburns are not detrimental because they still turn into tans. We do not have to stay subordinate to this trivial fad. Abstaining from the harsh treatment of the sun and rocking your natural color is not an offensive trend! Generations of people who spent time baking in the sun, and continue to now, face the consequences of skin cancer threats, sun spots, eyesight loss, and other notable damage. In the past decade, the amount of diagnosed melanoma cases has increased by 53%. The sun’s damage to human skin is undeniable. And at what cost? The rates at which people are diagnosed with melanoma and causing death are rapidly increasing.
Though in moderation, vitamin D relaxes the mind and warms the skin, we must learn to accept our natural skin tones without modification. When did the gage of time spent in the sun begin to become so important? Everyone deserves to feel pretty in their skin, but how can we begin to feel pretty in the tone of skin given without taking drastic measures to change it? The media is constantly promoting unnatural skin tones and emphasizing bronze skin while promoting self-love and acceptance. If you are only truly comfortable with yourself cloaked in a glowy, bronze investigate self-tanner and spray tans. There is absolutely no shame in this type of illusion.
The grass is always greener on the other side, in many instances. The only way we can learn to accept different tones is to appreciate our natural color and enjoy the sun occasionally. Negative comments on skin tone must cease. The comparing of skin really doesn’t matter, because naturally, no one has the same color, undertone, or level of sensitivity to the sun. Please, please, please use SPF, cover your skin in billowy, beachy clothing, and protect your eyes with appropriate glasses. Help end the expectations of unnatural skin colors and love your skin.
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