A Sexy Suntan

By: barneygarcia
When I was a teenager, many moons ago, I spent countless hours stretched out in my bikini at high noon trying to tan my body so I would look better to the opposite sex. I can remember slathering on a homemade tanning oil made of baby oil and iodine (for it's brown color) as we didn't have access to commercial preparations. I don't really know where the idea of being tanned became synonymous with being sexy but I would guess it came from the movies. We had no idea that the sun's rays could cause skin cancer, so we were lucky the tanning season was short, as was our overall exposure.

Today, with the advent of tanning salons, you can tan all year around and a lot of people do. Most people are aware of the dangers from tanning salons but bury their heads in the sand and take a "That only happens to other people" attitude. When you are young you think you are going to live forever and decide you will worry about it later.

There are alternative, safer ways to tan today. We have all kinds of self-tanners on the market and even though they can smell funny and if you're not careful, leave you streaky, they are safe. You must wear a sunscreen though, because even if you look tanned, you can still burn. There are also tanning booths available for spray tanning which is quick, but expensive. You stand in the booth while being sprayed with the tanning solution and come out looking like you've just spent a week in Hawaii. The only drawback to this is it doesn't last long and must be reapplied regularly to maintain the tan. This can add up very quickly, in terms of dollars.

All this being said, it is important to get some exposure to the sun's rays for health reasons. The body makes vitamin D from the sun and this vitamin has been shown to prevent some cancers as well as being needed for bone health. The important thing to remember is to limit your sun's exposure between the hours of ten and two o'clock and if you are out then use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least fifteen. It is necessary to get some sun exposure without a sunscreen so the body can make vitamin D. Exposure to bright light has been shown to prevent depression in some people. So get some sun, but to be on the safe side, use moderation.
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