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Why I Stopped Tanning *PHOTOS

I've always been very fair-skinned. When I was in elementary school (grade school), I had a lot of friends and I did a lot of things outdoors with my friends like biking and playing, building forts. But as time went on, I really got into computers and gaming and reading and writing - and I didn't get outside much, so that kind of exacerbated my skin paleness.

Me on my 16th birthday. Yes, that's a Stallone cake.

I remember one time, I briefly overcame my body confidence issues and decided to wear shorts out in public. Not only did my brother humilate me in the store by calling me "Thunder Thighs", but several of my family members commented on how "blindingly pale" my legs were.

Needless to say, I didn't wear shorts much after that.

I also remember the very first time that I went tanning. It was in the months leading up to my grade eight graduation, and my aunt had encouraged me to go (what a bad influence - lol).

She always had such glowy skin, and I obviously sought that, having been the subject of many jokes about how fair my skin was. So, I started going tanning under her advice but by my own free will. Nobody twisted my arm and made me sit under UV lamps. That was my own poor judgment.

My first time was at a place called Fabutan. I recall walking in and smelling that after-tanning odour that I can still smell in my mind's nose to this day. You know the smell, it lingers on you until your next shower. It's a combination of the DHA in bronzers, and the chemical reaction taking place on your skin that produces this smell. The smell is predominantly caused by the breaking down of living organisms on the skin. Anyone who has used UV sterilisation equipment will be familiar with this smell. Either way, it's enough to make me feel nauseous whenever I walk into a tanning salon or have to stand near someone who has just gone tanning. Yes, the odour is so bad that even people around you can smell it.