They say a tan feels good and always gives one a boost of confidence. I can neither deny nor confirm this, as I am part of those people who never gets tan. However, it’s a topic I find endlessly fascinating, as it’s constantly on the minds of every fashionista around, so here is what I’ve found about this mysterious tanning process based on some articles I read recently…
When did tanned skin come to be considered attractive? In the 1920s. Many Europeans and Americans considered pale skin a mark of wealth and leisure until the early 20th century. Around that time, doctors began to prescribe sunbathing for a variety of ailments, most notably tuberculosis, which was the second-leading cause of death in the United States in 1900. Wealthy sufferers loaded up their trunks and headed for sanatoriums, where they did little other than lie out on chaise lounges. As the sun gained currency as a medication, monied Europeans flocked to resorts on the French Riviera. If there was a single person responsible for popularizing the tan, it was Coco Chanel, who bronzed herself on a yacht in the Mediterranean and declared in 1929, “A girl simply has to be tanned.” (Slate)
While tanning is still very much a trend, there is controversy: Europeans and Americans have embraced tanning, while many Asians are against it.
And on the one hand, we have doctors who claim that: “Vitamin D deficiencies [from lack of sunlight] leach calcium from muscles and bones, causing pain, weakness, fractures, osteoporosis, and osteomalacia.” (Nautilus)
While the Academy of Dermatology emphasizes that melanoma is the sixth most common cancer for Caucasians: “There has indeed been a 17 percent jump in melanoma rates for Caucasians, from 22.9 to 26.8 cases in 100,000 people, between the years 2000 and 2010.” (Nautilus)
For me, personally, I strongly believe that a few minutes a day of sun exposure can only benefit you and your mood.
And as the Academy would agree with me: “The same ultraviolet wavelengths that trigger melanin production also spark vitamin D creation. You cannot make one without the other.”