A few years ago, my daughter was on the homecoming court. Every girl on the court was tanning (I checked) and my daughter was hoping I would give in to the peer pressure. How would it look to have a lily-white girl in a black dress glow in the dark next to all the tan babes? She would be humiliated, never live it down…you know the drama argument.
So, because I didn’t want her on a therapy couch one day discussing her rigid mother who scarred her in high school, I conceded. But the concession had a price. She had to listen to my lecture on tanning so she could make an informed decision in the future. And if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t let her do it. A family friend was recently diagnosed with melanoma.
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and can kill you. According to the Mayo Clinic, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or tanning lamps and beds increases your risk of developing melanoma. Due to the push for a tanned body, melanoma is increasing in females in the age group (15-29)- more so than males thanks to the pressure from media. And indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma by 75%.
My daughter would say, “Mom, really, you are quoting me the Mayo Clinic. You’ve told me this a hundred times. I’m not asking to become an addict. I just want to go a few times so I do not look embarrassing.”
You see, that’s the problem. Girls do not look embarrassing if they don’t tan. Consider Taylor Swift and Nicole Kidman–two beauties who do not drink the tanning Kool-Aid! Can we just thank them now for making white skin chic? My daughter likes Taylor Swift so she paused a moment. I got her thinking.
Finally, research supports the notion that a mom’s tanning habits are the strongest influence on a daughter’s habits. Well, we have that base covered. I am red-head and don’t tan. I simply burn and ruin my skin. Thus, I am a fan of the sunless products.
Parents, keep talking, quote the Mayo Clinic, model sun protection and consider other options like sprays or sunless lotions to get that glowing look. And most of all, don’t give in to peer pressure now that we know how dangerous tanning can be.