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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Why I Broke Up with the Tanning Beds (& you should too)

So, I broke up with tanning... and we are never, ever, ever getting back together.... Like, ever.

Friend, there's something I want to talk to you about today. Something really important. Something close to my heart. And I want you to stop what you're doing... and read and listen, just for a minute of your day. Because, the reason I am taking time to write about this is: I love you all - each one of ya, and I want you to think about something - especially you younger gals. So listen up for a minute, 'K?

A few years ago, in the middle of my young, carefree college days, I began to feel insecure about something I'd never, ever thought about before. I decided my skin was too pale. I looked around at the girls in my dorm and noticed many of my friends had a healthy tan glow and...I didn't. My skin is and always has been fair. I can thank my European ancestors, and especially my Swedish great grandpa for my fair complexion and strawberry blonde hair and charm and good looks  haha not ;) Yet, growing up, I was taught by my mama that fair is beautiful. I protected my skin, wore hats on all our vacations, and always used sunscreen. My skin only burned a few times, in Hawaii on a family vacation and by the pool one summer. But one rainy day in my Junior year of college, some girls in my dorm got some coupons for a free first tan at the fancy tanning salon down the street and invited me to join them. On our way there, as we stopped into Starbucks for hot chocolates, my mom's voice rang in my mind - "Never go into a tanning bed, you skin is beautiful as it is and tanning beds are so dangerous. Skin cancer runs in our family. Be careful." But, in my immaturity and desire to go along with the cool crowd, I did it anyway. And I did it way more than once. I tanned (in a tanning bed) pretty consistently for about a year and a half. I loved being tan - it made me feel confident. Made me feel like I could be as pretty as the models I saw on TV and in magazines (not thinking about how fake, Photoshopped and airbrushed so many of the images of women in our media are.) Along with loving how I looked tan, I loved the experience - it was pretty awesome, let's face it - especially in the winter. I am always cold, so being totally warm in the tanning bed was lovely, the music played in speakers on every side and the little caramel candies they put on the pillows...le sigh. It was like pampering to me, and I did it often. Blissfully, this toxic routine went on until one day, I began to notice little wrinkles appearing on my skin... it started to look a bit leathery. And since I am so fair, I noticed a few moles began to change. One day while looking in the mirror, I realized my skin was clearly beginning to change....noticeably. And I knew that if I didn't stop now, I might do irreparable damage. So I quit. I felt insecure about my fair skin, but I just knew in my heart this practice wasn't healthy. 

Around that time, I also started blogging (my former fashion blog that I deleted when God put on my heart to create this blog!) and I found Sun Savvy Bloggers. It woke me up. I read all about the dangers of unprotected, careless sun exposure, and especially the danger of messing around with tanning beds. I watched a video that stopped me in my tracks, gave me chills, and made me think. I decided that day to never lay in a tanning bed again. And I took the pledge on their website. I encourage you to check it out, girls, and to watch this video (it's emotional and a bit heavy, but important to hear): 

So, friend - you may not wanna hear this. I didn't. Sorry to say, I would kind roll my eyes when my mom reminded me of the dangers of tanning beds... so I've been there. But, take it from me - they're not a good idea. I know this is turning out to be a kinda-super-serious post, but maybe it needs to be - this is a serious topic, ladies. Did you know that just one tanning session in a tanning bed or unprotected tanning session in the direct sun increases your lifetime risk of developing skin cancer by 20 percent?? Indoor tanning is a Class 1 carcinogenic - up there with arsenic and cigarettes! (stats via Glamour magazine.) Ladies, it's time we wake up about tanning beds and excessive tanning. If you're currently in a tanning habit like I was, please stop, friend. It is so not worth risking your health.... and your life.

I have really come to realized that fair really is beautiful! We are all created by God and He purposefully gave us the skin we were born with - embrace it, don't try to change it! I think women don't realize we are most beautiful when we embrace who we are with confidence! If you're naturally pale, then rock it. (hey, my friend who's been a missionary to Ireland & Germany says y'all there are pale and totally don't care about tans!) If you have dark skin, love it! Be you - you are one of a kind and you are beautiful and more importantly, LOVED by God. Don't let style trends, lies from our media, or insecurities rip you off and steal your health. 

Rocking a tan can definitely be fun and you might want a bronzed look sometime... I'm not hating on pretty tan skin - just want us to be careful how we get it. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to achieve a pretty bronzed look without baking our skin in the sun or in a nasty tanning bed. For special events, I've gotten a fake spray-down tan and you know what?? It was WAY better looking than a real tan! And affordable too! If you in So Cal, check out my girls at Faking It Flawless - they do an amazing job and are so sweet too! When I wanna go for a more bronzed look, I love using powder bronzers. My favorite is "Dallas" by Benefit. And Bare Minerals brand has lots of pretty, natural-looking ones too. Remember to always wear plenty of sunblock under your makeup, too - don't risk it friends. (My sweet friend Lauricia shared a great post about what to do if you accidentally get a sunburn - here

Alright, ladies. Practice safe sun. Be careful with your skin. DON'T make the mistake I did and go to a tanning bed. Remember fair skin is beautiful. And if you're naturally dark, rock it out. Be YOU. You are precious, beautiful, and so loved. By God and ... me! 

End of rant. :) 

Check out this Pinterest board I just made to encourage us to embrace a safe sun way of living, including fashion and beauty products I love for safe sun!

Remember, you are beautiful without a tan or makeup or anything else. 

"For You created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." 
Psalm 139:13-14 

 - Outfit Stats -

Top: Old Navy
Necklaces: Forever 21
Belt: Gift from a friend
Skirt: an old dress I upcycled & sewed into a skirt!
Shoes: Target 
Bracelet: J.Crew
Watch: Michael Kors


  1. It really is not worth using tanning beds, they should be banned world-wide. I do embrace my pale skin in England but I am fed up that fair skinned and dark skinned women are not represented enough in the media, xoxo.

  2. I just recently posted about this--in my cosmetology school--I think every other student and teacher besides me goes to tanning beds. It's scary! I've never been to one in my life. I was raised in SE Asia--people there prize fair skin, so they do an extremely good job of protecting their skin (even wearing long sleeved gloves while driving to protect their arms! I am, and always will be pale, that's the way God made me!

  3. oh my goodness, erin. thank you so much for posting this. i have been raised knowing that tanning beds are not good for the skin and this just confirmed it--so sobering.

    i hope you are having a great day! email coming today, Lord willing. :)


  4. Thanks for doing a post on this. I got melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) when I was only 21 years old. I had to have two separate surgeries that have left me with two large scars on my leg. But I was very lucky and caught it early before it had spread to my lymph nodes. Tanning is definitely not worth it!!! It's important to wear sunscreen everyday as well.

  5. Great post on a subject that doesn't get talked about nearly enough!

    I've never been to a tanning bed and never plan to. :-) My parents have also given me the speech of how it's bad, but what sealed the deal for me is that I had to have a mole removed from my hip when I was 12. It had changed shape on its own, and my doctor thought it was cancerous. Turned out not to be- the the incident scared me enough to never want to go through that again! Too much risk!

    xoxo Miss ALK

  6. Thank you so much for posting this! I've only ever gone tanning once in my life, so I figured I was fine. But I do like to lay out in the sun without sunscreen and I always tell people that I'm fine. But after reading this, I realize I'm not. I will be wearing sunscreen from here on out and I will not be tanning in tanning beds! :)

  7. I've tanned before, but not again, not after this, I will also be showing this to my 17 year old sister, thank you erin!

  8. Thanks for this post. I have not been feeling confident this summer because I'm so pale. I have rarely even worn shorts this summer! I haven't gone to the tanning bed in like 6 years, and don't plan to, but sometimes it is so tempting when I see girls who look way better, simply because they have a tan. I did get sunburned pretty badly the other day, but it was at a time I was unintentionally outside and didn't have much choice in the matter!

  9. Thank you for posting this and raising awareness! I started to write a comment earlier today, and realized I was starting to ramble, so I wrote a post about it rather than leaving my ramblings in your comments :)

  10. So glad you gave up tanning! I went for prom about 10 years ago and I am so glad I didn't past then... it is so horrible for your skin and it is one thing we can do to ensure anti aging! I rarely ever lay out and always wear 50spf to keep my skin young!

  11. thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this! such a good reminder!
    I think this is one of the lies we
    are fed in our culture, that we need to be tan to be beautiful. So sad that young girls are believing these lies and inflicting lasting damage on themselves. I love your honesty and your heart!


  12. Thank you so much Erin for sharing this - for your encouragement to young women. I live in a part of the country where the sun does not shine as often and indoor tanning beds are everywhere. I will be sharing this for sure.

  13. I just recently discovered your blog and really have enjoyed reading it! Great post!

  14. Amen sister! I wish I could take back those teenage years of lathering on the baby oil or going to the tanning bed. It's not worth it!

  15. This is definitely a post everyone female in america needs to read. Or females need to see. Every female in America. I know alot of South GA females who get in the tanning bed b/c they want a tan. I look like the next Bella and to me I'm fine with that. If I get color to me it'll be by the sun naturally. I hate tanning beds and have only gotten in a few times. they dont work for me. i'm so pale my skin doesnt get color to it asap. i have to work at it. and when i try and finally get it that way it doesnt stay so what's the point

  16. I've never been to a tanning bed exactly for this reason- it's not worth the risk! Thank you for so eloquently putting into words the importance of caring for our skin. It's so silly to think that fair skin isn't beautiful and I'm glad to find someone else who embraces it!! :)

  17. Such good truth. I broke up with the tanning beds years ago, too. Fair is beautiful! And we'll look great when we're old ;) xo

  18. Unfortunately it took me 7 years before I stopped. And now I fear it's too late. I had access to all the information that warned of the risks but for reasons I can't explain, I ignored them and thought I would be ok since I usually used a tanning bed once a fortnight. But 300 sessions rarely less than 12 minutes a time must surely have wrecked my skin and my youthful good looks I took for granted. I've ruined my life for a bit of colour. Ridiculous.

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