I would put MTV on my list of guilty pleasures, the list that I don’t actually admit to anyone that I watch.
But I interrupted my usual weekday DVR recording of Teen Mom (which I save for when I’m having a bad day, because nothing picks me up better than the reminder that I didn’t get pregnant in high school) to watch MTV’s True Life: I’m Addicted to Tanning.
This episode followed two teenagers, Billy (19) and Alyssa (18) through their daily tanning regime. Sounds innocent enough right? Oh, just you wait!
Here’s a recap…
Billy starts every morning with two hours laying out. He oils himself up and even checks the UV index on his phone to see the strength of the sun rays.
I mean at least he does his research, that’s a dedicated tanner.
On top of tanning with natural sunlight he also has a membership to a local tanning salon where he frequents at least 7 times per week. Billy and his friends say the sun makes them happy.
First of all, I’m pretty sure the tanning bed waiver that Billy signed told him to wait at least 48 hours between visits.
As crazy as we think Billy is, he is right in that the sun does brighten your mood. Research proves that the sun delivers Vitamin D to our skin which contributes to our mood. mood. But, you only need a very modest amount of sunlight to get this benefit. We’re talking a few minutes a day.
Anyways, after being forced to visit the dermatologist by his worrisome dad, Billy admits that at his worst point he went to 3 tanning beds AND spray tanned in ONE day!
Can you imagine the DHA smell that was probably wafting off him? Gross.
After literally being scared to death from the doctor Billy decided to quit the beds and restricts himself to natural sun tanning and spray tanning.
“Spending $45 on a spray tan isn’t bad, if it goes all week I saved a ton of money.”
[cue jaw drop]….Billy, honey, $45 and you can get 2 fantastic self tanning products that will last you 3 months, save you the skin cancer, and nobody would be able to tell the difference.
Now, on to Alyssa. She has tanned every single day for four year in a tanning bed, and spray tans on top of that. She says her goal is “to be so tan people don’t know what race I am.”
I’m scared to see what her “goal list” looks like if this is #1.
At 18, Alyssa’s moles are getting bigger and more frequent. She has spots on her face from the damage of over exposure, and she says that people stare at her because she’s so dark.
Perhaps they’re trying to figure out what race you are, Alyssa. Goal accomplished, on to the next one.
The worst part of this entire episode was witnessing that Alyssa was using her mom’s credit card to front her tanning addiction. It was costing over $300 per month for her tanning alone. Finally, her mom decides to cut her off and make her pay for her own tanning.
In which Alyssa replied “my mom thinks having to pay for my own tanning will make me stop, but it doesn’t. It only makes me want to tan more.”
Yes, $300 on tanning! I could buy at least 6 pairs of shoes with that kind of cash, and still have a better tan than her from self tanners. At this moment, I was really hoping that I’d see Alyssa on the next episode of Scared Straight (another MTV guilty pleasure).
The sad part of watching this show was the complete ignorance of what these kids are doing to their skin. It’s well documented that too much sunlight is VERY dangerous. In fact, it’s been linked to melanoma, a deadly skin cancer that can lead to death.
If you can relate to either Billy or Alyssa’s story, we urge you, scratch that-we beg you, to PLEASE take a look at our 10 best self tanners page. Experiment with different self tanning products until you find the one you like and stick with it.
It will save you time, money, and damage from the sun. And it will give you a natural glow, healthy skin, and confidence that you look good :)
Do you know anyone who has a tanning addiction? Who’s the craziest tanner you know? Let us know by liking, sharing, and tweeting this post.