Base Tanning is a Bunch of Crap

Both of my parents were borne with pale complexions. From them, I inherited a complexion so white it boarders on see-through. I blame Norway and Scotland, homes of my ancestors.

Rather ironically, I grew up in the arid desert. My summers were spent outside from dawn to dark, usually in a tank top, shorts and flip flops. No one ever talked about sunscreen back then. The wisdom of the day, was to establish a base tan which would prevent sunburn for the rest of the summer. To get a a base tan, one had to get good and sunburned at least three times. I’m talking the kind of sunburn that leaves you with water blisters on your back. I didn’t know much about sunscreen as a kid, but I did know about aloe vera. My mom would apply it to my shoulders like mayonnaise after I got burned.

Growing up pale in the desert has left me at risk for skin cancer. Over the years, I’ve had some things fixed, removed, etc. I get a regular check-up now. In fact, I had one last week. Let me just say, I hate going to the Dermatologist because seeing one usually means pain.

My most recent visit made me smile though. When the Dermatologist approached me with his boiling beaker of steaming stuff, I asked, “How bad is it going to hurt?” Without missing a beat, he replied, “Here, let me show you.” The only thing missing was an evil laugh.

I guess there are two lessons to learn here. First, base tanning is a bunch of crap, and second, there are times when you don’t really want to know how much something is going to hurt. If you did know, you might never fall in love, run a marathon or see a Dermatologist. Sometimes it’s better to let life show you how much things are going to hurt.

The Dermatology Parable