Thursday, June 9, 2011

To tan or not to tan?

This summer I decided I was going to get a tan. Yup, that's right. Me, Christy - who is normally bleach white - decided to tan! So, I proceeded to lay out in the sun for a while every day. And sure enough, I got a tan! But then I decided to do some research because I wanted to know the truth about tanning.As you probably know, our culture is completely obsessed with physical beauty. We're the only ones, though - many other cultures have also done absurd things because they want to look attractive. Throughout history, people have: broken girls' feet to keep them small, stretched out women's necks with metal rings (to the pint that they can't even support their own heads), tied boards to their babies heads to make their skulls cone-shaped... the list could go on. When we observe those practices, we can see that they are clearly harmful and unnecessary. We would never do something like that in America! Or would we?

As a mater of fact, we have all sorts of harmful "beautifying" practices. Tanning is one of many. According to research, too much exposure to UV rays greatly increases your risk for skin cancer. Yikes! Why would I do that?!On the other hand, however, many people shun sunlight altogether for beauty purposes. Since pop culture glorifies youth, women often try to avoid sunlight to protect their skin from aging. Well, it's true that sunlight ages your skin. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, because sunlight is good for you, too! Sunlight is the #1 source of Vitamin D. Studies indicate that people who wear sunscreen every time they go outside in the summer are very likely to have vitamin D deficiencies. Vitamin D is incredibly necessary for your body in many ways. It helps prevent many types of cancer, it keeps your bones strong, and keeps your hormones in check. In other words, vitamin D deficiency is a very bad thing!So what am I saying? Sunshine causes skin cancer, but yet prevents cancer? It's good, and it's bad? What are we supposed to do?!

Well, my final conclusion is this: live your life! Don't worry too much about it. And don't try too hard to be "beautiful." Enjoy sunshine reasonably. If you're going to be in it for a long time, slap on some sunblock. In the end, you may not be very tan, and may get some wrinkles when you're older, but you'll be healthy! The Lord never tells us to stay young or to have perfectly bronzed skin tones, but He does tell us to be good stewards of what he gives us, and to take care of the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is our body. We don't have to harm ourselves to beautiful because He sees us as beautiful when we honor Him with our lives, through Jesus Christ. So live life, enjoy it, and strive only to please your Savior!