The Desire To Be Tan Begins Outrageously Young

I was blessed with good skin genes. I’m of Mediterranean decent, so I really only have to be outside for ten minutes before I have tanned skin. Without wanting to sound narcissistic, I just feel as if I look better with a tan, but I’m comforted by the fact that the majority of society feels the same way.

When I think I look better, I feel better, which fuels my yearlong desire to be tan. I recently quit faux tanning cold turkey (for preventative health reasons) and spent my first winter since my pre-teen years being “pale.” I never realized how difficult an adjustment that would be and now that I got over my first tanless winter, it’s scary to think about how dependent I was on being tan.

This was an “addiction” of sorts that I didn’t develop until my teenage years, which to myself, is young. I couldn’t imagine girls younger than 14 coveting a year long tan that badly, but according to a new study, it’s a complete reality.

According to a company spokesperson for Superdrug, which just released the results of a poll on sun exposure, the average person gets 80 percent of his or her lifetime skin-to-sun contact before hitting age 18.

The Superdrug poll also found that 50 percent of children age six to eight are coveting a tan this summer, with one in five saying that they won’t wear sunscreen. That’s right, this addiction to tanning and a desire to not wear sunscreen in order to obtain the darkest skin possible begins as young as age six.

As a former tanning addict, this is appalling even to me.

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