Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Talking to Your Teen About Tanning

I’m reposting this from last year since there was such a great response to the topic. Offering parents a little help with teens and tanning.


It’s summer and we live in a beach town. And my daughter is going to college in another beach town. As we approach the beginning of the school year, we are having our tanning talks again. I won’t be with her to put the cabash on tanning.

This past year, my daughter was on the homecoming court. Every girl on the court was tanning (I checked) and my daughter was hoping I would give in to the peer pressure. How would it look to have a lily white girl in a black dress glow in the dark next to all the tan babes? She would be humiliated, never live it down…you know the drama argument. So, because I didn’t want her on a therapy couch one day discussing her rigid mother who scarred her in high school,  I conceded. But the concession had a price. She had to listen to my lecture on tanning so she could make an informed decision in the future.


She agreed but I knew I was fighting a tough battle. Thanks to media, you would think we all live in California and spend our days grazing at the beach. And how many red heads like me do we see in those beach movies?

My first attempt: Let’s consider Taylor Swift and Nicole Kidman–two beauties who do not drink the tanning Kool-Aid! Can we just thank them now for making white skin chic? My daughter likes Taylor Swift so she paused a moment. I got her thinking.

How about other options like a spray tan? Darling, you can get that sun-kissed glow by using sunless products like spray tans or self-tanning creams. I do it every summer. After all, you get that glorious albino skin from me! I knew she wasn’t buying it because she pointed to the orange marks around my ankles and sighed, “Ooh!” But I have no exposure to UV rays so the little bit of orange now and then from misapplication is OK by me. I am sure you would apply the creams the correct way.


Take a look at these photos of women my age whose skin was completely ruined due to tanning in their early years. In fact, let’s go to a tanning bed and watch the older ladies who come in and evaluate their skin. “Mom that is creepy.” But I could see she was a bit shocked at the photos. Still, I needed more ammunition so I pulled out the big gun.

Melanoma! It is the most serious form of skin cancer and can kill you. According to the Mayo Clinic, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or tanning lamps and beds increases your risk of developing melanoma. Melanoma in is increasing in females in your age group (15-29) more so than males thanks to the pressure from media. And indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma by 75%.


“Really, you are quoting me the Mayo Clinic. You’ve told me this a hundred times. I’m not asking to become an addict. I just want to go a few times so I do not look embarrassing.” You see, that’s the problem. Girls do not look embarrassing if they don’t tan–think again, Taylor Swft.

Finally, research supports the notion that a mom’s tanning habits are the strongest influence on a daughter’s habits. Well, we have that base convered. I look  like a nun when I go in the sun. And I am a fan of the sunless products.

At this point, my baby is leaving for college near a beach. All I can do is keep talking, quoting the Mayo Clinic, modeling sun protection and be glad that homecoming only came once a year.


How have you handled requests to use tanning beds?


  • Sienna

    It can be an uphill battle when it comes to convincing a teenager to do anything, clothes, skin, hair, tidying their room. It can get frustrating at times but I think sometimes you just have to put your foot down, you can’t be afraid that they will end up on the shrinks couch. At that age teenagers like and even need to argue with their parents to work out boundaries but eventually they will see that you are just trying to help them and keep them safe.

  • Linda Mintle

    OK I think this is a continuation of the first email. Sounds like your experience with on-line dating worked out very well! Congrats!

  • Linda Mintle

    And was it a positive or negative experience?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment maryxiao matched us and sent Ryan an email saying we were a 100% match, so he emailed me. He wasn’t too computer-savy, so he didn’t have any pictures, but after emailing a few times, he told me he was off to Las Vegas on vacation. Call it fate, but I also had planned a trip to Las Vegas that same week because my sister had to go out there for training… so we decided to get together while we were there. After playing phone tag all night long, we finally got together…

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