In turn, right now in most parts of the world, being fair skinned can be considered a disadvantage.
Which, depending on your skin’s natural pigmentation can be seen as a good or a bad thing.
That said, with our improved medical understanding we also now know that there are a lot of dangers related to tanning and sun exposure.
So as this challenge is meant to help you become a very attractive man, I would like to make an objective case and from there on, you can decide whether tanning is for you.
Note: personally, I’m still on the fence when it comes to tanning, natural or not. While the short-term benefits seem obvious, the long-term dangers scare me and the last thing I want to do is find myself 20-30 years later looking at the mirror, thinking “god damn, you stupid, stupid younger self!”
Natural, “diet tan”
If you read the skin care article in week 1, you should be familiar with the concept of “diet tan”. If not, here’s a quick reminder:
“I’ve touched on this in the intro, but there’s more to skin attractiveness than just a clear complexion. Your overall skin health should still be the main priority but after you have this part handled we can aim to get that extra edge by improving our skin tones too!
First and foremost, we should know what result we should aim for and several research on the topic show that for males yellowish and reddish skin tones are deemed most attractive. Another study claims that achieving such tones can be done via diet changes alone and that such changes are significantly more attractive than skin color changes achieved via tanning.
Okay, sounds too good to be true?
It might be. If you read through the articles linked and dug into the research itself, you probably realized that the methodology used (mainly the “digitally enhanced” part) is a bit flawed.
Nonetheless, there’s one more bit of research that instead of “digitally enhancing” actually had participants change their diet for six weeks to include two extra portions of vegetables and fruits daily and they managed to achieve the desired skin changes.
What this means in practice:
Aim to include at least 3 servings (~250 g) of vegetables, high in carotenoids, in your diet: carrots, melons, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach (google for more). Just don’t go crazy – vegetables might be healthy but there can be too much of a good thing.
You should start noticing results in a month or two.”
This one is the least debatable and something I would recommend everyone to consider because there aren’t any downsides to eating a few more servings of vegetables high in carotenoids.
Tanning salons and sun bathing
This is where things get serious.
The short-term benefits of tanning should be pretty obvious – its fashionable, it’s seen as health and attractive, it’s a status symbol.
So what about the issues?
Primarily there are two:
- Connection between UV exposure and melanoma – even though the odds of developing it are very slim, we’re not talking about common cold here. It’s a very serious condition and by choosing prolonged sun/UV light exposure we’re increasing the odds of developing it.
- Photo-aging – sun exposure, the same thing that makes you look healthy and sexy when you’re young, also leads to premature aging and god awful looking skin when you’re older. Seriously, it gets really bad. If you want, google photo-aging images, I didn’t add any so as not to ruin anyone’s appetite.
It’s also important to note that based on your natural skin complexion you might be able to get a sexy looking tan with very little effort and can handle a lot more sun exposure. Or maybe you’re like me and look like a lobster for the next few days after spending just a little too much time in the sun.
While self-tanners are not new, the technology improved in the recent years to the point where they no longer suck. I’ve experimented with “Xen Tan” product line last year and I have to admit, I was very much impressed.
The first time I applied it, the first acquaintance I met greeted me with a “Hey, were you on vacation?”
It really looks as good as a natural tan, maybe even better. But there are some downsides too:
- It’s a hassle. Even if you use the “long lasting” ones, you will need to apply them on your whole body every couple of weeks. And it’s not something you want to do carelessly because any spots you might miss will be painfully obvious.
- It can get quite expensive. Quality self-tanners will cost you in the ~50 – 100 USD range and you’ll need to buy them every 1-2 months (depending on the brand). Sure, there are cheaper options but we’re talking about something that you’ll put all over your skin and something that you won’t be able to cover up if it goes wrong (i.e. the cheap self-tanner makes your skin look orange, instead of the sexy bronze).
I also have some long-term concerns that goes with applying something all over your skin. While I’m not aware of any definitive studies that say it’s bad for you, when it comes to skin care I like to stay on the safe side.
There are also things like tanning pills but I haven’t used them personally, so I can’t say for certain about their effectiveness. From my limited research, it seems that at best, you’re getting the same carotenoid tan that we talked about in the “diet tan” section, at worse, you’re consuming something that’s not necessarily medically approved and take upon yourself god-knows-what long term risks.
To sum this up:
- Diet tanning – recommended. While the changes can seem subtle, there are no downsides to it.
- Sun bathing / indoors tanning – short term beauty for long-term dangers.
- Self-tanners – works but can get expensive both in terms of money and time. Also unknown long-terms dangers.