April 17, 2010 8:20:00 PM
Ah, the things we do in pursuit of the perfect tan. In high school we wrapped our boney toes around the antenna pole, shimmying up to the rooftop where we would roll out silver metallic sun blankets (no, they are not urban myth) and roast for hours on end. With nothing but the sound of an occasional crop-duster buzzing overhead or a dog barking in the distance, my best friend Vernon Renee, Misty Anne and I blistered our pale skin between the hottest and most dangerous hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Back then I would dare you to find a pair of legs that looked as golden tanned in cutoffs as ours did. Today we make regularly scheduled visits to the dermatologist hoping not to have melanomas, and we discuss the best, most proven effective sunscreens on the market as we count our sunspots in the mirror. Times have changed for us, and I find myself warning my friends about the harmful effects of the sun''s damaging rays.
A few years ago, while attending a seminar in New York City on the topic of sun damage, one thing resonated with me like no other warnings or scare tactics before. When the skin darkens its color, it is defending itself from the sun''s damage. Think about this for a minute. We call it a golden suntan, but it''s our own skin screaming, "Stop, stop, stop. I''m working overtime here to ward off the evils of the sun."
My two young nieces almost always text or call me while in the tanning beds soaking up radiation and ultraviolet rays in pursuit of the summer''s best friend, the suntan. I warn them, but they do not listen. I think of all the times adults tried the same thing with me. Between my freshman and my junior years in high school, I was so cooked from the tanning bed that the only thing you could see was the whites of my eyes. Frightening, huh? Now, I play connect the dots on my face with sunspots.
With so many healthy ways on the market to get a golden glow, I think folks are making better choices. There are a myriad of faux tans to be had in lotions, sprays and even towelettes, not to mention spray tanning or airbrushing which I find to be a bit creepy. But to each his or her own! All cosmetic giants have powder bronzers that when applied to the face give a beautiful hint of bronze goddess.
A few things to remember when choosing to add a bit of color with self tanners: exfoliate the skin first with a scrub to get the skin as smooth as possible, especially around the knees, elbows and on the face; opt for a tinted self tanner so you can actually see where the glow goes to eliminate streaks; and last but not least, wash your hands and between the fingers afterwards to rid yourself of orange palms.
Always wear a sunscreen when outdoors, and with all this sage advice about the harmful effects of overexposure to the sun, keep in mind that some sun is vital to our overall health and wellbeing. But get it in small spurts. Filtered sun is better, so throw on a straw hat, some sunglasses and glow safely ... all while being beautiful.
Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.