Call the Beauty Police: I’ve been tanning. Deliberately. In the actual sun.

Dust off those winter leaves and you're good to go.
Dust the winter leaves off those chairs and you’re good to go.

I’m on a massive leave-New-York-and-move-to-Florida learning curve that’s routinely complicated by what I do for a living.

Which is mainly – not exclusively, but mainly – to write about beauty + wellness.

Here’s how my life’s work wreaks havoc on my daily life:

On one hand, I “know” the sun is very, very bad for us.

On the other hand, I also know – really know, no air quotes necessary – that, with the exception of hurricane season, when the heavens open up and dump torrential rains at a moment’s notice, it’s crazy-sunny around here. Perhaps that’s why they call it The Sunshine State?

Other intel:

1. I’m in legs- and arms-revealing attire most of the time – lots of shorts, oodles of V-neck tees. For my weekly Dali Museum docent-training classes, mass and the occasional schmancy dinner, I also bust out a fair amount of skirts and dresses.

2. I’m becoming a tennis nut, and lo and behold, my lessons and cardio classes take place outside.

3. And the most important discovery of all:

During the winter down here, the bugs beat it. Which means, hello!, it’s a primo time to get your tan on.

Faithful readers might recall how totally freaked-out I was by all the bug bites my poor bod received after we moved down here last June. Duh. 1000 percent humidity is generally accompanied by swarms of mosquitoes and other flying pests.

So I did some recon, and found several excellent anti-bug remedies –  a few natural, a few not-so natural.

RELATED POST: Beauty Armoire Monday: New FLA life = whole mess o’ hair + skin dilemmas (i.e., pesky bug bites, epic frizz) 

But lately, something truly awesome has been happening: I can hang-out in our backyard, clad in not a whole lot – for hours! – and come back indoors with nary a bite on my bod.

Seriously, for the last four or five Sundays in a row, I’ve sat on a chaise in a bikini plowing through 8 million back issues of Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Porter, etc. –  without bug spray – and come away completely unscathed.

Have I damaged my skin in that time? Yes. That isn’t up for debate. By exposing myself to the sun, I’ve amped-up the aging process.

But sadly – I say “sadly” because I may live to regret this – I’m not as paranoid about skin cancer anymore.

I used to be obsessed – utterly, completely obsessed – with skin cancer.

RELATED POST: Got pretty tan this summer. Why? Why? Why? 

And for good reason – I’ve had multiple biopsies. And while none of them have been the real deal – aka carcinoma or melanoma – the dodgy moles and rough patches I’ve had sliced and diced by derms haven’t been nothing, either. There was definitely iffy tissue in the mix, the kind that could easily morph into something more treacherous had I not gotten it removed.

But right now, I have some extremely lame rationales for tanning again. And in the interest of transparency, I’ll list them here:


1. I’ve somehow convinced myself that 99.9 of self-tanners contain harmful chemicals that are every bit as likely to cause cancer as actual sun. (I don’t know that there’s any definitive intel on this. May be wishful thinking on my part.)

2. Vitamin D is super-good for you, and it’s ideal to get your daily dose from the sun. (Um, yeah, but I could probably get enough D in a quick lap around the block.)

3. I look better in my clothes when I have a “real” tan vs. faux. (Actually, this one’s probably true.)

4. I have two upcoming trips that will involve much donning of swimsuits, and I want to be “ready.” (Sure, I could get spray tans to prep for these jaunts. If it weren’t for Stupid Reason No. 1…)

5. It isn’t bug season. (I’ve already mentioned that? Désolé. It’s just that I feel compelled to take advantage of this moment, skin cancer be damned.)