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Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Yesterday I Dissed, So Today I'll Kiss: Best Self-Tanner
Hello, kittens. On the cusp of summer in Indiana, I'm looking at how my skin over-wintered. Not particularly well. For the first time ever, I'm a little craggy. Dehydrated. And terribly pale and freckly. It's beginning to show just how carefree and hedonistic I've been on thousands of splendid summer days. Fine. I own the fact I destroyed my collagen, melanin and whatever the hell else by baking and browning myself steadily from 1987-1997. As a teenager, I would emerge from our Hoth-like back door in my bathing suit at the sight of the spring's first rays to brave at least a windburn in order to escape being so pasty white.
When tanning beds came to town, I was banging on the salon door to get in, sometimes twice a day if need be. Like most broads of a certain age, I used the baby oil & iodine preparation along with foil-covered album covers, iridescent pool floats and silver space age tanning blankets to maximize sun exposure. People who knew me back in high school probably wouldn't recognize me now that I rock my natural skin color. Compound all this exposure with numerous tropical vacations and lots of bad equatorial sunburns since, and it's no wonder I have to have not one but two complete skin checks a year, and I'm covered with scars from icky spots that had to be removed.
Let me be the first to tell you IPL treatments will blast the hizz-ell out of some sunspots, but it's like 100 angry bees buzzing your cheeks. Imagine an episode of Tom & Jerry where Tom's tail is on fire. It turns firepoker red, his blood boils, steam comes out of his ears, and then he starts yelping. That's what laser treatments are like: not too bad on the first zap or two, but pretty soon, you're holding yourself down and bracing for it! They're really effective, but you pretty much have to do it numerous times, and the treatments are expensive (my doc charges $250-300 per session).
And whilst you wait for the damage to visibly work its way to the surface of your skin, literally crusting and flaking off in your personal molting process, you must avoid contact with sunlight to the point of vampirism (*side note, i don't mean vampirism per se, or even that you must secret yourself away to read Twilight books (cack!), but i do mean you can't be out at the ballfield, or boating, or gardening. sunlight will roast the hell out of your newly refurbished complexion and whatever damage you had before will be worse... and also, if you have had a really good run of it, you won't want anyone to see you looking like Howdy Doody with all this brown flecky shit all over your face!).
Since stopping such sun worshipping foolishness once I turned 30, I find myself to be an underbelly of a fish kind of white. We're talking about a pallor of such magnitude one could easily show an outdoor movie at night on my sizable forehead. Needless to say, I find myself trying every bronzer and self tanner on the market, constantly hoping to find something decent that doesn't make me look Oompa Loompa Orange. I've found a few that don't make me want to throw up in my mouth, but everything at every price point is full of parabens and who knows what else.
I may have mentioned in earlier posts that I have sensory issues (with everything, but especially food and makeup). The smell of most self-tanning creams just grosses me out. I don't like milky preparations, and I hate telltale streaks. I hate dirty hands, and messes.... so sunless tanning at home is not very feasible for me.
I used to go to a spray tanning salon to be professionally airbrushed, but stopped doing it on a regular basis when they couldn't or wouldn't ever tell me what ingredients comprised their formula. I'm not comfortable with that, obviously. Also, I never found it terribly convenient to have to find a crappy bathing suit to wear to the place, make sure I have a brown or black schmata so I don't ruin a light colored tracksuit, avoid bathing for 24 hours and then stain up my nice white sheets. Eventually, I just threw in the towel and accepted my albanescent legs and even let them be hairy!
Finally the universe took pity on me (or perhaps those who have to look at me on a regular basis) and united me with one of my very favorite natural cosmetics companies, Lavera. They are the only skin care company to produce a totally safe sunless tanning product.