The Hidden Danger of Fake Tan

28/06/2016 16:10 | Updated 28 June 2016


We all know that tanning in the sun is bad for us, it causes premature ageing and of course more seriously, skin cancer. So if you want a tan, fake is most definitely the safest option.

Fake tan has been popular for many years now, I have been using fake tan on my very pale skin just to look "normal" since I was 16, back then there was hardly a choice of tan, now there are thousands to choose from all with varying shades and depths, from chemical to organic.

I have always loved fake tan, to the point of obsession and my daughters have grown up watching me fake tan, and here is where it hit me, my 12 year old said to me one day "I can't wait for the summer so that I can get a tan", when I asked her why she said "well everyone looks better with a tan don't they?" Gobsmacked is not the word.

I will happily leave the house without make-up, I have done so for many years but I used to hate leaving the house without my fake tan on, mainly because people assumed I was ill.

My girls known the importance of sun protection but what other message have I been telling my children? From the moment they were born I've been telling them that their natural skin colour is not beautiful, that they need to change their skin colour to look or feel attractive. I have 3 girls, each has a completely different skin tone, from my youngest with her beautiful, smooth pale skin and blonde hair to my oldest who has a gorgeous olive skin tone from the Portuguese side of our family, they are absolutely stunning.

So why did it take a comment from my 12 year old for me to figure out the potential negative impression I was teaching my children? Why can't I feel beautiful and confident in my own skin? I am always conscious to avoid using words such as diet, explaining that I go to the gym to stay strong and healthy. That I dye my hair (blue) because I'm a closet mermaid and not because I'm going through some mid life crisis and trying to hang on to my youth (I'm not really, I just love having blue hair).

The conversation with my daughter was roughly 3 months ago and since then I'm proud to say that I haven't fake tanned. I'm embracing my pale and I actually like it. My skin has never been as clear, my pores are definitely more refined and I've hardly had any breakouts since I've stopped. My bed sheets don't get stained, the armpits on white clothes stay white and I can actually smell my perfume and not fake tan.

I'm not saying that everyone should give up their tan, if it's fake, safe and makes you happy then by all means, carry on. The same could be said about things like make-up and hair colour, as long as we explain to our young ones that it's all about creativity and having fun rather than it being a necessity to look good in society, why not. But as influencers to younger people I do feel we should be conscious of our actions.

Here's to being pale and interesting ☺