By Emily White > Junior > Communication Studies > Clemson University
Once the clouds roll away and the last of the textbooks are sold back to the campus bookstore, students flock to lounge chairs like seagulls to a dropped Dorito. After months of sitting in stuffy classrooms, it is only natural to crave the outdoors and a kiss from the summer sun. Many people, however, get caught up in the allure of the fresh air and innocently forget to apply any form of sunscreen.
Enter the inevitable and oh-so unattractive tan line.
The perfect bathing suit, coconut tanning oil and the highest UV index are all ingredients for the perfect summer tan, but more often than not, something will go awry leading to a tan that looks like it’s straight out of a geometry book.
“This year I went to Key West for spring break and got the most awkward tan lines ever,” Chelsea Thompson, a Clemson University junior, said. “I got fried the first day resulting in raccoon eyes from my sunglasses and a crisscross on my back from my sundress. It has been two months since that trip and I have still not been able to fill in the lines.”
If you know you are going to be out in the sun, it is essential to apply some form of protection from the sun. Aside from decreasing skin cancer risks, utilizing sunscreen is the easiest way to avoid awkward burns. This is particularly important when you may not be able to wear a bathing suit; no one, and I mean no one, wants to live through the repercussions of the dreaded farmers tan.
“If I am specifically laying out to tan, I will undoubtedly wear a strapless bikini,” said Caroline Sugg, a sophomore at the University of Tennessee. “But if I am doing other outdoor activities like running or playing soccer, I will load up on sunscreen because I have suffered way too many shin-guard sunburns to take any chances!”
Although opinions vary, guys tend to put a little less emphasis on acquiring the perfect tan. Perhaps this is because it’s almost impossible to acquire an awkward tan from a pair of board shorts, but nevertheless, tan lines tend to be the furthest thought from their minds.
“I really don’t care that much about it,” said Tom White, a Clemson University sophomore. “I mean, I’ll be sure to take my shirt off if I’m at the beach or something, but I won’t freak out if I happen to be doing work outside with a shirt on. Believe me—not the end of the world.”
Coming from someone who has dedicated way too much time to putting aloe in the most awkward of places, take the extra minute to apply sunscreen, or be confident in the possible shapes that may ensue.
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