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Love or Loathe- Sunbathing: do you bask to become bronzed or bathe in the beauty of your natural skin tone?

How important is a suntan to you? Photo courtesy of www.gentleworld.org

For many of us, spring has sprung and our thoughts are already beginning to turn to summer and the al fresco activities we love to indulge in. Some of your thoughts, I’m sure, are turning to the day when you can finally shake the mothballs from your swimwear and start treating your poor, sun-starved flesh, to a spot of ultra violet therapy.

How important is a suntan to you? Photo courtesy of www.gentleworld.org

How important is a suntan to you? Photo courtesy of www.gentleworld.org

Sunbathing  is something that has gone in and out of fashion throughout history; before the 1920’s, Western countries often associated a tan with the lower classes, those hard-working folk toiling under the sun and becaming exposed to it’s rays. Western women went to great lengths to preserve their porcelain skin, with many even using cosmetics containing lead, to artificially whiten their skin.

Prior to the 1920s, scientists were excitedly researching the benefits of exposure to sunlight, having discovered that diseases like Rickets, in which a vitamin D deficiency was found to be a cause, could be cured by exposing the sufferer to sunlight. A scientific expedition to Tenerife, in 1910, further tested the medical benefits of ‘heliotherapy’ and within a few years, ‘sunbathing’ fast became a highly desirable activity for many in society.

Not long after this, fashion designer Coco Chanel was visiting the French Riviera when she unintentionally achieved a suntan; upon returning home her fans fell in love with Coco’s dark skin, and began emulating her.

Magazine advertisements began to encourage sunbathing and with the creation of the bikini in 1946, it was even easier for pale skinned wretches to turn themselves into bronzed goddesses, and by the late 1950’s, many had taken to dowsing themselves in baby oil to speed up the tanning process.

Today, with all that we now know about the risks and benefits of sunbathing, we can make informed choices about the kind of protection we choose to afford our skin, and the amount of time we spend bathing or artificially tanning ourselves. So what about you, dear reader, is it important for you to come back from your summer holiday with an all over tan, and do you purposely set time aside for sunbathing? Or, like me, do you not only find baking your precious fair flesh to be incredibly boring, but you worry about the risks of skin cancer too?

Take a second or two to let us know your views on this hot topic (I know, how predictable!) by clicking on the link and voting in our Facebook poll, or by leaving your vote and/or opinion in the comments section below this post.

Love: I hate my pale skin and love being tanned, it makes me look and feel so much better!

Loathe: I love my natural skin colour and am proud to stay the way I was intended to look!

Sunbathing: I occasionally sunbathe to give myself a healthy glow!

Kate Blanchard
Kate is an English woman currently living in rural Morocco with her husband, Ben, and their mischievous mongrel, Douglas. They moved out there three years ago after Ben was offered employment as the manager of a large fruit farm, and although life can often be challenging for them both with cultural differences and language barriers, they see this as more of a reason to stay, than a reason to admit defeat and leave. Kate tries to find humour wherever possible in life, and finds herself blessed (or as her husband would say, ‘cursed’) with an irrepressible desire to see the beauty and the positivity in what others may see to be ugly and negative. Most of all though, she has a zest for travel and exploration and finds it incredibly satisfying to share her stories of adventure with others, even if it does nothing more than transport the reader to a distant land for a few minutes.

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