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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Embracing Healthy Skin

For the last 25 years we have known that ultraviolet irradiation can lead to skin cancer not to mention wrinkles, but tanned skin still remains a beauty image promoted by fashion magazines, advertisements and celebrities. Having a tan is still associated with not just beauty, but leisure and upper-class privilege - beaches, tennis, yachts and spa time.

But the chic method of getting a tan seems to have changed. With laying in the sun and tanning beds deemed risky, the fashion and beauty industries are now promoting the idea of a "sunless" tan to be had using chemicals and products that give a person a beautiful glow without the risks. Self-tanners, bronzers, and "glow" lotions are now all the rage.

Without the skin cancer risk associated with the sun, maybe, but how safe can these self-tanning products that trigger a chemical reaction, causing a brownish stain to form on the outer layer of skin, actually be? Why is it that we cannot just embrace healthy skin as beautiful? As long as tanned skin is still seen as the gold-standard of beauty, teens will continue to strive for it, whether it is chemical, or irradiated, and I would bet that teens using these products are also still using tanning booths and sun bathing in search of the perfect tan.

I wish more celebrities would embrace pale, healthy skin so we could change the social norm about skin to embrace "healthy" not tan.

Previous posts: Skin Cancer: A fair trade for beautiful skin?
Photo Credit: Face-2-Face
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.