DARK CHOCOLATE, A WELCOME SAVIOUR

DARK CHOCOLATE, A WELCOME SAVIOUR

SKIN HEALTH: One of our fans – Hannah McDonald – happened across this great excerpt from the August edition of Cosmopolitan magazine: Sugar is a well-known detriment to the health of our skin except, interestingly, in the case of dark chocolate! Wrongly thought to aggravate acne, dark chocolate with at least 60% cacao helps skin stay hydrated and protects it from sun damage. Get munching babes!
— PS: stay tuned for more food related posts regarding skin protection!

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UV RAYS

UV RAYS

“Spring is here! Don’t forget, even if its not hot, if the UV level is 3 or above, you need to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide!”

An awesome tip from Cancer Council Australia – Many people take note of the time of day where the UV is highest in order to maximise the colour they gain to their skin when lying outside. Instead, plan activities where you can enjoy the weather without exposing yourself to the harm of the sun. Anything from lunching at an outdoor restaurant, to climbing the Harbour Bridge! Resist those wrinkles youngsters, there’s way cooler things to do than tan that wont leave you rottenly raisin-ed by 30!

A perfect tip on this sweltering day!

TANOREXIA

There could be no clearer sign indicative of the prevalence of tanning as an issue in our culture than the admission of the word ‘tanorexia’ into the Oxford dictionary:

noun

[mass noun] informal – blend of ‘tan’ and ‘anorexia’

  • An obsessive desire to acquire and maintain a suntan, by natural or artificial methods: “she is one of a growing number of teenagers thought to be suffering from tanorexia”

And the worst part is, it’s was coined way back in the ’80s.

The condition has drawn much attention as of late thanks to Patricia Krentcil, a mum in the US who last year was “accused of letting her 5-year-old daughter go in a tanning booth.” According to this Huffington Post article, ‘the owner of the tanning salon that Krentcil reportedly frequented said that she ‘tanned about 20 times a month, and about five days a week.’ Excessive tanning can be considered a form of addiction in certain sufferers who may require psychological assistance to overcome it. In fact, a 2010 study in the journal Archives of Dermatology indicated that despite every one of their interviewees (who were college aged tanning bed users) knowing about the risks of skin cancer as a result of tanning, 98% of them said that this knowledge didn’t deter them.

Thanks to mainstream media, tanorexia, like anorexia, has been born out of a culture that relishes in the scrutinising of body image and sets very restrictive guidelines on how people should look in order to appear attractive. The worst part is that many sufferers resort to solariums to try to achieve a ‘natural’ tan, but according to the Skin Cancer Foundation: indoor tanning is particularly dangerous with users being 74% more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors.

With Tumblr pages dedicated to showcasing examples, and blogs intended to help answer your question of whether you are a suffer; tanorexia is clearly a real issue born out of a mindset we know dates back centuries. Thankfully though, the likening of a tanning obsession to the serious health condition anorexia, of which many are now well educated on, highlights that at least people are starting to become aware of the severity and implications of tanning, especially as a result of excessive sun exposure. Sites such as these tanorexia tumblr pages are fantastic in that they are sparking a dialogue, particularly young people, about the unattractive side of looking overly tanned.

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 12.50.30 PM

While I do not in any way vindicate the ridiculing of anyone, especially if they have a real problem such as an addiction, the particular condition of tanorexia has been born out of a social stigma that is just unnecessary and it needs to be spoken about as a negative health issue. Thankfully, people are starting to take note. The more people are exposed to the unattractive side of tanning, the less likely it is that they will pursue the look.

LOVE THE SKIN YOU’RE IN

As OLAY advertisements have drilled into us all, we must love the skin we have and with that love comes a real sense of respect and desire to protect it from exposure and damage. This is an issue, however, that a lot of people grapple with, who don’t embrace their natural skin colour and go to great lengths to modify it in reflection of certain trends often (as we’ve heard a million times) fuelled by the media and its representation of ‘beautiful people.’ And I’m not just talking about the Western perception of tanned being more beautiful because the opposite exists in many Asian cultures where young girls in particular take drastic measures to bleach their skin paler (as this is considered a sign of wealth there).

I want to look at one of the government’s more recent skin protection campaigns ‘The Dark Side of Tanning.’ Rather than just spruiking the importance of sun protection, for first time the issue of tanning as a culturally accepted and almost glorified act of beauty therapy is acknowledged in the various advertisements put out to the Australian public; including:


But, at the end of the day, this was still is a scare campaign and admittedly, it hasn’t drilled into me its message as much as OLAY’s ‘Love the skin you’re in’ ad did, which actively promoted a more positive outlook on the benefits of natural, healthy looking skin. Despite addressing an undoubtedly serious issue regarding our health that can realistically lead to death,  just recognising this acceptance of tanning habits in our culture isn’t enough. We need to change how people view tanning not just for health benefits but for beauty reasons – because that’s what a lot of people sadly care about more. But it IS beautiful to be pale or freckly or latino or dark skinned, whatever you are born with is likely to suit you best. And this is why I love Olay’s message, even if they are really just trying to sell me their face creams.

FRIDAY FACT

Although it’s more along the line of ‘lighthearted news’, this article from the US certainly highlights some of the lesser known dangers of tanning – now, I’m not saying that spray tans will make you go on a naked rampage but……..

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Update+Naked+harasses+tanning+salon+staff+then+assaults+people+street/8963592/story.html

streaker

[Photo courtesy of www.dailytelegraph.com.au]

A REAL ROASTING

Roastings

“While tanning oils themselves aren’t harmful to the human body, it’s what they are used for that can cause some serious problems.” – http://www.livestrong.com/article/252239-what-are-the-dangers-of-tanning-oil/#ixzz2fycKu4sl

On this 32 degree day I’m sitting in the shade on the steps along the beach at Manly, watching scores of people rubbing tanning oil onto their skin to ‘help’ them tan. Isn’t it scary that it’s exactly the same thing your mum does to the roast chicken or turkey to achieve that tough, brown skin? And indeed, tough brown skin is what you’ll get after prolonged use of tanning aids such as oils and sun beds. Aside from the serious health risks such as cancer, which I have already extensively outlined, there are some real aesthetic downsides to it too. While a tan might make you look good temporarily, the look of them barely lasts beyond Autumn, but I can guarantee the effects do:

“In addition to the risk of skin cancer, tanning excessively contributes to ageing quickly. Tans may cover cellulite and give the appearance of clear skin; however, the skin actually looks worse once the tan fades. Premature wrinkling is an enormous side of effect of tanning.” – http://www.ehow.com/about_5465473_tanning-oil-dangers.html#ixzz2fydiwA3m

With all the horrendous side effects associated with trying to achieve a natural tan, it’s any wonder why people are still resorting to such lengths. And according to recent reports, the health effects of fake tans look to be just as serious. By definition, fake tan is “[a] lotions, sprays, creams, mousses and combined moisturiser and fake tan products contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a chemical or vegetable dye that temporarily stains the skin, giving a tanned appearance. The dye interacts and binds with the dead skin cells located in the upper layer of the skin. The colour comes off when the dead skin cells flake off – approximately 1 week after application.” http://www.cancer.org.au/content/pdf/CancerControlPolicy/PositionStatements/PS-Fake_tans_August_2007.pdf
They contain a range of different chemicals like carcinogens, nano particles and DHA, some of which have been linked with contributing to serious health issues including hormone disruptions leading to birth defects, infertility and breast cancer, genetic mutation, DNA damage, and irritation of the skin and lungs. While some of these chemicals like nano particles do have some other useful functions, scientists’ lack of knowledge on the behaviour of these particles on a small scale means we should be very cautious as consumers.

Secondly, as Australia’s Cancer Council points out in its ‘Position Statement‘ for fake tan, there seems to be a misconception that fake tan acts to provide UV protection for our skin for the duration of the ‘tan’:

“Some people who use fake tans mistakenly believe that a tan will provide them with protection against UV radiation. As a result, they may not take sun protection measures, putting them at greater risk of skin cancer.” – http://www.cancer.org.au/preventing-cancer/sun-protection/causes-of-skin-cancer.html

While it is undeniably more beneficial (health wise) for the tan-obsessed to use any number of alternative skin products that achieve a bronzed look in a much safer way, the sheer volume of these products available indicates the real underlying societal issue – that people need to be tanned, no matter what. Indeed, the Cancer Council’s number one recommendation in relation to fake tan is:

  1. “Cancer Council does not promote the perception that tanned skin is more desirable than pale skin”

Whether its real tan or fake tan, you’ll likely end up either with health problems and wrinkles or streaky orange legs that smell a little like urine. There are plenty of skin products available in supermarkets and at beauty stores that are designed to moisturise and enrich our natural skin, giving it a healthy glow no matter what colour. A few of my favourites include:

  • Palmers Olive Butter lotion: http://www.palmersaustralia.com/products/body-care/olive-butter-formula-lotion-250ml/
  • L’Occitane Verbena Harvest body lotion: http://shop.davidjones.com.au/djs/en/davidjones/beauty/bath–body—hair/verbena-harvest-body-lotion-250ml
  • Kiehl’s Creme De Corps: http://www.kiehls.com.au/travel/travel-ready-formulas/creme-de-corps?gclid=CLCR-I7B6LkCFcpfpQod5WMAPw

[Photo courtesy of steamykitchen.com]