Tuesday, 8 December 2009

''To tan or not too tan.'' Article by Firecracker contributor Hannah Ramsey.

After reading my ''Style in the City'' (click here to read) article for Select Magazine. Hannah has come up with this follow on piece. 

Thanks Hannah.


 To tan or not to tan?

It is an ongoing battle between tango or pasty, sun kissed or pale – Year round, is it tan or no tan? For me, the answer is definitely tan. I’m one of the many Brits who flock to sunnier climes in the summer with the intent of darkening my skin by a few shades, and indeed one who would come back home feeling quite defeated if I didn’t succeed in making my mum and a few friends look like ghosts. 

But with all the media coverage surrounding tanning, why is it still preferable to be bronzed? I imagine it’s purely because we feel better with a tan just like you do with a new haircut or a new outfit. But for some people it gets more serious, when having no tan makes them feels like they’re naked and going on the sunbeds becomes an addiction, commonly known now as “Tanorexia”. It hit the news not so long ago, a story about a girl just 10 years old who got severely burnt after spending 16 minutes on a sunbed, and recently many councils have banned sunbeds for fear of the long term damage they can cause including cancer, melanoma and of course premature ageing. Lorraine, 30, from Liverpool admits she used to “hammer the sunbeds” when she was younger, before the days of Fake Bake and St Tropez but stopped eight years ago after going to check on some worrying moles at the doctors. “It’s just the fear of the unknown really, who knows what they could have developed into” she explained.

But just look at Liverpool’s own style setters Coleen and Alex. Never ever ever have I seen either WAG embracing “pasty” and followers of their style are probably followers of their skintone too. But even with tans in fashion how far is too far? This summer it was thought that deep tans were “out”, healthy glows were “in” and apparently Jennifer Aniston was ‘obsessed’ with spf. Maybe that is the way to go - we definitely wouldn’t look so alien if we didn’t stray so far away from our natural skin tones. But if we insist on a form of tan, lets not forget faking it. If you get it right, as well as avoiding the typical Liverpool “terracotta army”, “oompa loompa” and “orange scally” tags, we are lessening our chances of skin cancer which must be a good thing. Lorraine adds “After I stopped using the sunbeds I used Fake Bake and the like for a while, but it should be cheaper to encourage young women to use fake tan instead of sunbeds.”

And for those who could lie there for an hour with no sun cream on and still not change colour, just look to Girls Aloud’s Nicola Roberts. She did dabble with the tan a few years back but these days she embraces her pale complexion using it to her advantage and now has her own make up line for fair skin, Dainty Doll, showing that you don’t have to have a tan to look good. Lorraine now doesn’t use anything at all either, saying she “gave up on fake tan too.”

So the debate rages on – maybe a tan’s good, maybe its ‘so last season’. I guess I may always be a devotee to a tan of some sort; I’ll just befriend the spf like Jennfier Aniston. But what advice does someone who has experienced effects of the sun first hand have - Is it worth it? “Definitely not, just don’t bother at all, it’s scary. I own a corsetry business and all my clients want to go crazy on the sunbeds before a night out but I tell them all off - In a nice way of course!”

Hannah Ramsay