I'm pale, and I've never been the type to tan.
It was something I used to be rather embarrassed about as a white child, who grew up in a (mostly) white New Jersey neighborhood, where the socially sought-after color palette was a toasty almond with hair the color of pee in the snow.
Despite the fact that, in the past few years, tanning bed usage for teens has dropped by nearly half, I recall many of the girls I knew laying out on towels on their roofs to catch some rays.
Or, in the winter months, they'd try to achieve their #TanningGoals at the salon.
Nevertheless, such a habit was never practical or possible for a person like myself, who continues to need massively large hats and SPF 900 at the beach to prevent feeling like I've napped on the flaming floors of hell.
As it turns out, my skin tone is particularly bad news in the skin cancer department, since the paler and less able to tan you are, the more likely you are to get skin cancer.
While sustained exposure to UV rays is generally harmful for all skin types, the risk increases with the less melanin (skin pigmentation) you have.
But Science May Have Found A Way Around This
Currently, a team of scientists led by Dr. David Fisher, chief of dermatology service at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, are working on a process to increase pigmentation in the skin with the goal of decreasing the risk of skin cancer.
That goal might just be achieved if researchers can manage to find a way to darken the pigmentation of a person's skin without the harmful UV rays coming into play.
Researchers Found That A Topical Enzyme Solution That Darkens Skin Pigmentation Acted Like A "Normal" Sun Tan
The team was able to demonstrate these results in both mice and humans, all without the harmful effects of UV rays.
The pigmentation doesn't go anywhere “until the cells mature, die, and fall off the surface,” Dr. Fisher told Reuters.
He added that there is a very limited amount of drugs that can effectively and safely elevate pigmentation, making these findings particularly groundbreaking.
And while researchers are a few solid years (and lots of toxicity testing) away from releasing this method to the mainstream market, it could be a ray of light for sun worshippers who are tired of bottle-bronzing and dangerous UV exposure.
And, not to mention, those of us who are a bit snowier in complexion who, you know, don't want to get skin cancer and stuff.