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