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Opinion: Is Tanning Really Bad For Your Skin?

Beauty guru Agoo Bengzon weighs in.
Opinion: Is Tanning Really Bad For Your Skin? Beauty guru Agoo Bengzon weighs in.

Summer’s here, and while everyone’s booking their tickets to Boracay, I’m trying to come up with a fool- proof strategy to keep the sun’s damaging rays from aging my almost 40-year-old complexion. Truth be told, I didn’t have this much disdain for the sun in my younger years. In fact, I had my fair share of tanning sessions with zero-SPF tanning oils, and yes, I did the whole tanning-bed routine. But years later, after all those hours under the sun, I saw the effect on my skin: a splotchy complexion, tiny red moles all over, and the most disturbing of all, fine lines around my eyes. After that, I swore to never again bask in the sun—no matter how wonderfully golden it made my skin look (especially in photographs!).

 "'You need some sun' or 'You must be anemic' are just some of the nasty comments I’ve received in the past and I’ve chosen to ignore them."

I made the conscious decision to completely avoid the sun when I hit my 30s. I remember reading an interview with burlesque babe Dita Von Teese where she revealed that the secret to her youthful, practically flawless complexion is avoiding the sun and making sure to bring UV-blocking drapes wherever she travels to keep rays of sunlight from peeping into her hotel room. That stuck with me. I started googling celebrities’ names and found a pattern: Those who worshipped the sun (Brigitte Bardot, Heidi Klum and Victoria Beckham) looked much older than those who consciously protected themselves with hats or umbrellas during the summer or avoided the beach altogether (Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore and Tilda Swinton).

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There are admittedly some cons to being fair- skinned, the most obvious of which is the tendency to appear bigger to the discerning eye, and this makes absolute sense. After all, light bounces off light colors. And when your skin is milky-white, light scatters, providing little or no dimension or shadows, thereby making your face and body look fairly larger. In other words, light isn’t too forgiving to those who fall under the “porcelain” level of skin tone. Now, of course, it’s one thing to be fair, but it's another thing to be pale or look unhealthy. “You need some sun” or “You must be anemic” are just some of the nasty comments I’ve received in the past and I’ve chosen to ignore them. After all, when I’m 60 and hopefully still look 40, I’ll have the last laugh.

Read the rest of Agoo's article Fair Game in our April issue here

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