Sunless Tanning Evolution: Where Do Americans’ Need to be Tan Come From?

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As you're buying that sunless tanning product or entering an indoor tanning salon for your regular tanning session, has it ever crossed your mind to ask yourself why you want to be tan. Where did this desire come from? Why do you think being tan gives you the impression of feeling younger and more beautiful? What is it about tanning that has made it so popular over the decades that it has spurred the creation of a $5 billion dollar industry?

Well, the answer actually lies in our natural instinct to mate and reproduce healthy offspring. Yes, you might think it might be absurd and that it doesn't relate to you in any way. You're thinking you don't even want children right now and are not looking to get hitched. But psychologists have proven that: ONE, tanning makes you feel and look healthier as it connotes activeness—that is that you've participated in some kind of athletic activity under the sun or that you've been out on the beach; TWO, it makes you feel and look beautiful as a tanned complexion hides blemishes and other skin imperfections; and THREE, it makes you look and feel younger for the reason that it conceals age spots and wrinkles. All of these three benefits that you get from tanning are rooted in one thing. And that is, tanning makes you feel attractive.

Now where does the need to feel attractive come from? It stems from humans' innate desire to find that perfect mate and procreate. Have you ever wondered why we're not attracted to people who look unhealthy? It is simply because we tend to look for a healthy mate—one who could give us healthy sons and/or daughters. This is a biological instinct and it has nothing to do with your specific types or that you've chosen to remain a bachelor or bachelorette your entire life. It is simply built in all of us to look for a healthy partner.

Now, generally a pale complexion connotes some form of illness. Note the commonly asked question: "You look pale, are you feeling ok?" In contrast to this, a tanned complexion can get comments like "Wow, you look great! Where did you take a vacation?" or "You look healthy; good for you." This is the basic reason why people want to have that tanned complexion. They want to look healthy in order to attract equally healthy mates. Now, back when a pale complexion was considered to be healthy and beautiful, tanning was avoided. Now, thanks to Coco Chanel, tanning has come to denote health, youth, beauty and being fashionable—qualities that make people feel attractive. Hence, people have evolved to accommodate and nurture this desire to be tan.

Now, do you understand why the indoor tanning industry has continued to perfect the science of safe tanning? It is because the need to be tan won't go away. This is the main reason why sunless tanning technology has been reinvented and innovated to accommodate the more convenient and cheaper way of self tanning.

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