What does your skin say about you?

I just saw a TV ad, well the first 10 seconds, that belongs in the annoying new trend of infomercials. Nearly all the programs that I watch/listen to during the day are recorded, I really can not deal with the ‘Jeremy Kyle’, ‘Loose Women’ drivel that spews out at us during the day, my love of documentaries forces recording as even on the Discovery channels the best are on at night, the downside infomercials! I expect that I am probably being a little unfair on them as I hate commercials as well, I have developed a skill of totally ignoring them, a program break to me is a gap to at the very least think about the program I am waiting to continue, through to going to the loo, you could redecorate your home in the time it takes an infomercial to end.

The infomercial that I annoyed me wasn’t just because it lasted for ever but it was what they were trying to sell to the airhead viewers, tanning pads! Tanning, something I have never understood. Why would someone want to lie on the ground, bored and or sleeping while they burn and damage their skin? I like all of my generation, as a kid seemed to have a tan all summer long, not because we owned tanning beds or went on hundreds of expensive holidays abroad, but just because we played outdoors for as many daylight hours as we could. Once I became an adult and had things like work, then children, then work again, I stopped having a tan. I discovered that untanned skin had a real appeal of it’s own, I started to always wear summer and winter the highest factor suntan lotion I could buy to ensure that my skin was a pale as possible. I don’t see a beauty in tanned skin and I think I can remember only once in my adult life having a tan, which was only to prove how dark I went, which is really dark, then never again. I don’t have a choice now, housebound means no sunshine but that is to me one of the good points of my MS, I no longer have to avoid a tan and I need less make up to appear pale.

At the start of the last century, if you had a tan you were looked down on as being tanned set you apart and tagged you as working class, a manual worker who was outside. The well off were always pale skinned and carried parasols to ensure they never let themselves be anything other than as white as possible. Along came travel by airplane and the fashion of the well off being able to take holidays abroad, the embryo celeb culture brought the notion that tanned skin was glamorous, fashionable, a sign of being well off and interesting. The latest change to tanning products due to the fear of cancer from sunbathing is again pushing the wealth element, this time with a twist, everyone want to appear to still have the funds to fly round the world, lack of finance is covered, just as the skin by chemicals.

If as a world, we are meant to be green aware, keeping our carbon footprint as low as possible, removing unnecessary and potentially damaging chemicals from the environment, ensuring that recycling of everything we use, then why if all of this is fashionable, how can tanned skin still be? Surly in this celeb run, fashion defined, green aware world, skin should be it’s natural colour not falsely or travel acquired tanned. To me when I see a well tanned individual in the middle of winter, especially one of the many environment gurus, lecturing me through the TV on being green, I just want to ask them how come they have a tan?