The Lo-Down on Teen Tanning

I don’t know about you guys, but for me being tan is one of the best feelings. Being tan helps you to look slimmer, makes your teeth appear whiter, makes freckles pop out, and basically just improves your overall appearance. I am not saying that you have to be tan to be pretty or any of these things at all, this is just my opinion!! I know that being tan actually means that you are causing damage to your skin, but the world we live in today seems to idolize being tan.

Prom in my town is a really big deal. Personally, I have not understood why prom is such a big deal, but I guess it is. The first year I went was my sophomore year of high school. I was as pale as a ghost the day of prom. I felt so insecure, because everyone else at prom was so dark! I didn’t realize it, but almost every girl in my high school tans in a tanning bed before prom. I have been scared of tanning beds my entire life. I have always associated skin cancer and wrinkles with tanning. Which is totally right of me to do, because tanning causes both of these things.

January of last year all my friends had started talking about how they had already started tanning for prom. I thought this was crazy, but everyone was doing it. I felt really peer pressured into it, so one day after school I went to a local gym that has tanning beds, and went tanning. I was so scared I was going to get electrocuted lol. I laid for 3 minutes in a 10 minute bed starting out. If you aren’t aware how tanning beds work, they are basically just ranked on minutes of intensity. Like for instance you will get the same tan in a ten minute bed if you go for 10 minutes, as you would in a 20 minute bed if you tanned for 20 minutes. I got the hang of tanning and would usually do it 5 days a week, while I kept increasing my time. About two weeks in I started to tell I was getting tanner! I became pretty obsessed with getting tanner, so I would just keep going.

My tanning got to where the 10 minute bed wouldn’t do anything for me anymore. I remember one specific time that I went 10 minutes in the 10 minute bed and then I reset it and went for another 6 minutes. Meaning 16 minutes total!! This was one of the worst mistakes ever. My face and body were so burnt. I had blisters on my face and on my body. Tanning bed burns aren’t like natural sun burns. To me they smell kinda funny, hurt super bad, but go away really quickly. After this incident I cut back quite a bit. I was at my tannest point the beginning of April I want to say, but by the time prom rolled around I had gotten a little paler. After prom I pretty well quite tanning in a tanning bed all together.

This was about the beginning of April. As you can tell my fellow dancers aren’t into tanning lol.
Sorry for the poor lighting, but as you can tell I was slightly a little less tan at prom.

This year I hate to say it, but I will probably tan in a tanning bed again. I wish that I would have learned my lesson, but the heat feel so good on your skin and I love the way I look with a tan. My grandma is a huge advocate for not tanning, because she has had many issues with skin discoloration and melanoma spots. My aunt has also had these. I am aware that tanning is directly associated with cancer, but it also has some really great benefits as well. Such as; gets rid of razor burn, clears skin, and makes freckles come out (which are so cute!).

I took this picture about mid summer while I was in Florida. O how I miss that tan!

Let me know your opinions on tanning down below. Hope you are all having a great week!




  • Alli

    I completely understand your reasons for wanting to tan, but it is 100% not worth it.

    Aside from the actual damage you’re doing to your skin that can lead to serious health issues later in life, your skin will also age quicker. Take a look around at older women who tanned in their youth, or continue to do so… You’ll see leathery looking skin. Instead of freckles “popping out,” you’ll see wrinkles and sun spots popping out.

    Not trying to be a downer, and I completely get that you want to enjoy your youth. But, there are safer alternatives to baking in the sun or in tanning booths. Spray tans, sunless tanning creams, etc. I know they probably aren’t the same as what you are looking for, but in the long-term your skin will thank you.

    I’m in my early 30s and people think I’m in my early 20s all the time because I have taken REALLY good care of my skin. Remember … you only get one shot at it!

    I really appreciate you taking the time to write this piece, which I found through Tailwind. You’re a gorgeous young woman, and I’d hate for you to damage your skin permanently.

    Best of luck to you!

    • katebillz

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write this! I definitely need to try fake tanner, but the ones I have used before leave me orange. You made some really great points and I will definitely take that into consideration. I hope you are having a great day!

      • Emily

        I completely agree with the comment above. 100% NOT worth it! The premature wrinkles, sun damage, sunspots, and cancer risk are NOT worth it at all! I’ve been a stickler for sunscreen and my skin has aged SO much better than friends and siblings who haven’t. I *promise* it’s not worth it!

        I recommend trying St. Tropez (White with the blue lid). It’s a more natural olive tone (not orange or streaky). I use it and love how natural it looks.

        I use an exfoliant to scrub away any dead skin, then put lotion on any tricky spots (elbows, knees, feet, knuckles, ankles, etc.) and then use a mitt (absolutely a must!) to apply it. A single layer done a couple days in a row builds a REALLY nice looking, natural tan that’s not orange at all! Once you’ve done it initially, you only need to re-apply 1-2x per week.

        • katebillz

          I definitely need to try that! My friend has recently introduced me to the banana boat lotion self tanner, but it tends to leave streaks. Thank you so much for the comment! I love hearing feedback. Hope you are having a great week!!

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