By Dr. Katie Rodan
I confess I am a reformed tanorexic. Growing up in Los Angeles, summer meant soaking up the rays on Topanga Beach. I delighted in seeing my bathing suit tan lines evolve day by day. The greater the contrast in my tanned vs. untanned skin color, the happier I was. I loved the slimming effect of my darkened skin courtesy of amped up melanocytes. My inflamed acne-prone complexion visually improved when camouflaged by a tan. And, the warmth of the sun quashed any remnants of the winter blues, known today as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Even today, a coconut fragrance evokes my favorite tan enhancing lotion and happy memories associated with using it.
My road to recovery began during my dermatology residency at Stanford. For the sake of my skin and my professional credibility (who would trust a tan dermatologist?) repentance was required. On occasion, I admit I relapsed. During a Caribbean vacation, I paid the ultimate price for my setback by sustaining a sunburn– in front of my children no less!
To set an example beyond reproach, I gradually learned how to replace my bad habits with good ones. Today, I use sunscreen 365 days a year, rain or shine, reapplying every two hours when outdoors. Poolside, I sit under an umbrella, sporting a large brimmed hat and big Jackie O type sunglasses. I even commissioned our company to design a gigantic visor (helps avoid “hat hair”) with a Rodan + Fields logo, hoping Glamour magazine would use it as a “Do” in their iconic fashion “Do’s and Don’ts” section. If an overcast day gives me the “blah’s,” 15 minutes spent in front of a non-UV emitting light box lifts my spirits. And, drum-roll please, I co-created the ultimate sunless tanning foam. It looks natural, dries quickly, smells great, goes on streak-free and lasts for days. It puts all the other ones I’ve ever used to shame.
I’m writing this while traveling en route to Hawaii for our Road to RFX Maui Incentive Trip. As I admire my faux tan, I can promise you that recovery never looked so good!