It has long been a beauty standard that getting a tan meant a healthy and glowing look. The push each year when summer arrived was to get a deep, dark tan and that the golden color to your skin would signify health and vitality while the pale or sun-avoidant look was somehow unhealthy.
The popularity of tanning booths, which began in the early eighties just reinforced that "tan equals healthy" mindset and the summer was no longer needed to be sporting a deep, dark tan.
The medical community quickly began to see a sharp rise in the number of skin cancers and with the use of the tanning booths, cancers were appearing in areas of the skin that would not have otherwise seen sun exposure. It was clear that ultraviolet radiation was a risk to our skins and that achieving that tanned skin would best be achieved without such prolonged exposure to the harmful rays of the ultraviolet light.
There are lotions and other home products people have used in order to attempt to change the color of their skin to a beach tanned look, but the more recent trend in tanning has been to use a sprayed on method that is offered at salons all over the country.
The rise in spray tanning has been due to the popularity of being able to change your skin from pale to golden tan within a very short time, and just by standing still and allowing a spray tan liquid to coat your skin to impart the color.
The conventional wisdom seemed to point to the fact that getting the tan without the sun exposure would mean that it was safe, no risks of skin cancers or other dangers such as burns. It now appears that use of spray tans is not as safe as may have been thought and it could even pose risks that are as bad as traditional ultraviolet tanning that turns the skin darker from within.
There are recent reports that show spray tans contain a chemical compound known as DHA (dihydroxyacetone), which has been show in in laboratory tests to cause genetic mutations when applied cells. Further research is required to establish whether this would be a risk to humans who use the spray tans, but it is a wake-up call to those who would seek tans from any means possible.
Natural skin tones with no sun or chemical tans are healthy, no risks applied to them from over-exposure to sun or from being coated with questionable chemicals, all in pursuit of an artificial sort of enhancement to what people will find beautiful. Perhaps it is time that we all embrace healthy and natural skin as the standard of beauty and realize that changing skin color is unnecessary, we already have the color of skin that looks the best.