Confessions of a tan-aholic

Joely Walker confesses all

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By Joely Walker

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Before you think that I’m glamorising sun abuse please hear me out. I merely want to confess something, so this blog is my TA, Tanner’s Anonymous.

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I have an early memory of watching my sister sunbathe with her friends on holiday. I couldn’t fathom what would possess them to lie down all day long, it looked so boring? My sister told me ‘wait a few years’ and she was right. My late teens were a series of tanning competitions, factor 4, sun beds, and a feeling of glee when my skin had been frazzled pink.

I thought I was invincible. I had started on a downwards spiral. I felt and looked better when I was tanned. So, sun cream was dismissed as I decided that oil was the way forward and that red would always turn to brown. I’m not proud of it but much like an ex-cigarette smoker wears patches I would continue to use sun beds to wean myself off. It had become quite addictive.

But on holiday last year I fell asleep in the midday sun with nothing but carrot oil on(yes, carrot oil!). Of course I burnt, I was expecting this, but what i wasn’t expecting was the droplet shaped blisters all over my back. They burst, I peeled and finally I started to see sense. What am I doing to myself? Is damaging my skin and my health, painful blisters and peeling really worth it for a tan that lasts only a few weeks? No!

I recounted this tale to the Beauty Team and watched their faces recoil in horror. ‘How could you do that to yourself?’ they asked. Was it Vanity? Naivety? A childish disregard? I’m not sure what it was but I do know that from now on it’s factor 30, a sunhat and a good book.

I’ll still never give up my faithful (and safe) St Tropez though.

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