Liz – The Ranty Bride: Oh, The Horror (and by “The Horror”, I Mean “My White Ass”)

I am doing something controversial in preparation for my upcoming wedding.

I'm tanning.

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Image Courtesy of: Weddings Online 1

I know, it's bad for you.

I'm the first one pushing sunscreen on people. My dad was diagnosed with melanoma several years ago and had a chunk removed from his nose. He has been free of skin cancer ever since but many people are not so lucky. Melanoma is nasty, aggressive, and – in many cases – preventable. You cannot wear too much sunscreen.

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Image Courtesy of: Wed in Vancouver

That said, I am a pale, pale person. Babies with big hats and SPF 500? Way tanner than I am. Normally, I embrace my paleness. I live in Cleveland, where we get a whole three days of sun a year (I might be exaggerating a bit but it's been cloudy a LOT lately). Yeah, people have summer tans, but it's not like we're in LA.

The problem comes when I make my trek down to the Caribbean. My poor, Cleveland skin can't keep up. I can spray sunscreen on myself every two minutes and still burn. Between the skimpier clothing (therefore, revealing spots that never see the light of day in Ohio) and the sheer intensity of the sun, I fry within the first couple of days. If there's one thing that really boosts your risk of skin cancer – it's bad, blistering sunburn.

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Image Courtesy of: Wedding By Color

To make matters worse, I get chemical burns from many/most sunscreens. A friend who’s knowledgeable about these things says it's likely the parabens that I can't tolerate. Regardless, it means the more sunscreen I apply; I'm trading sunburn for a chemical burn.

So, I'm going tanning. And I have gotten the shocked comments and judgment from all sorts of people, along with, "Just get a spray tan, it's safer!!" from those who assume my tanning has everything to do with vanity and nothing to do with trying to control my UV exposure so I don't end up blistering in the BVI. Spray tans, while great for looks, do nothing to protect your skin from sunburn.

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Image Courtesy of: Urban Legends Online

And – really, people – I *just* graduated to SIX minutes in a level one bed. Applying the lotion takes more time than I actually spend in the act of tanning.

Tanorexic, I'm not.

I think you have to get up to at least ten minutes for that.

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From Cris: Are any of you planning on tanning for your wedding? Or are you anti-tan? How do you feel about spray tanning, tanning lotions, or wipes*? I'm also STUPID white and curious about people's opinions/advice on this matter. *disclaimer