Before the1940's, lily white skin was considered beautiful. Ladies seldom went outdoors, and when they did, they wore large hats, and carried parasols to block the rays of the sun. Brown skin was considered the mark of being a common laborer, and few rich women wished to appear that way. They would be surprised to see people today, with their skin browned from being outdoors, and from going to tanning parlors. Why on earth would anyone want to do that?
It all started in the 40's, when people began to sunbathe. A tan was a sign that you had liesure time to spend outdoors, and were also young and healthy. The new fashions allowed women to be outside without having to have long dresses, stockings, corsets, petticoats, and the like, on. They could go to the beach and not have to wear wool bathing suits below their knees, and bathing shoes to keep their ankles from showing. Now they had more freedom, and they used it, wearing little bathing suits, and going to lie on the beach. Little did they know the harm they were doing to themselves, and, in fact, today we are only just beginning to comprehend what the sun can do to your skin.
It is important to protect yourself from getting skin cancer. When out in the sun, at least for long periods of time, always wear protective clothing, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen of SPF 15 or greater. This is especially important for children and teenagers becuase 80% of the time that you spend in the sun in your life is before the age of twenty. Most people with skin cancer survive, but if certain varieties not caught early enough they spread to other parts of your body and cause death. Also, it is important to remember that having a tan does the same damage that a sunburn does. Although people with pale skin are the most likely to develop skin cancer, people with darker skin can, too.
Having a tan is a fad, one with high risks. Most people who sunbathe or use tanning parlors don't realize the serious long term effects or say, "That couldn't happen to me." Maybe when people realize what they are doing to themselves, tanning will go out of style for good. But until then, at least be careful to not get sunburned.
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