As far back as recorded history man has had this unusual, special and reverent respect for the environment, especially the sun. This can be seen in primitive societies where people even worshipped it because doing so could warm their souls and also gave them a full harvest. During modern times, people revere it because it makes them feel better. It also provides needed energy and is important for mental and physical operations.
However, what is undeniably obvious with society today is the love for sun tanning. Although this kind of activity hasn’t always been historically popular, it has constantly been a very common practice, even amongst people of different cultures. If you’re curious about the history of sun tanning, read on and learn how people started this kind of obsession with golden brown skin.
It’s All About The Skin
So, what exactly is it about having bronzed skin that pushes you and many other people to sit under the sun for long hours? Both women and men have been on the pursuit for darker skin for years now; however, the days of this well loved activity actually go back further in time than anyone probably realized.
It is definite that civilization today is not the first to take advantage of the rays that the sun gives off, nor is it the first to present a love of showing off golden-brown skin.
Worshipping the sun has been a practice ever since the time of the Sumerians, Romans and Greeks. Although it could be quite arguable and hard to pin point which of them were the ones who started this fad and when it really started, most books that you read would tell you just the same.
The Sun God And His So-Called Wonders
It was believed that the Roman Mythology’s god of the sun is Helios, which is where “heliotherapy” was coined. This activity is a therapeutic exposure to the sun and a term that is widely used today. Ancient civilization used to engage in tanning because they believed it made them more attractive. It’s also said that people who engaged in it felt healthier than before. Hence, they praised the sun because it has the ability to “cure” various illnesses at that time.
It’s A Cycle
The popularity of tanning is considered to be a cycle. There was a period in time in which having bronze skin was not a status symbol. The popularity of having pale looking skin hit the market for some time, but, just like other trends, having tanned skin came back and remains until now.
The Downfall Of Sunbathing
The point in time when having brown skin had a decline is when having a paler skin became a status symbol. This is because most royal blood in various civilizations avoided the sun and enjoyed having paler skin. Having colored skin on the other hand became a status that was associated with slaves or other lower class people. Hence, as the 10th century came, people, especially women, went to extremes just to whiten their skin.
A Brand New Perspective
At the turn of the 20th century societal preferences changed once more; all thanks to the French people. A lot of credit goes to the popular Coco Chanel, who introduced sun tanning to modern society back in the 1920s. She was on vacation when she got tanned accidentally. Being a trend setter and naturally beautiful, many people loved the new look that she sported.
Lifestyle and fashion were also changing during this time. People were learning to love spending time outdoors. Fashion trends were also beginning to be more daring as more skin showed and figures were adorned. Hence, tanning became a popular way of admiring women’s figures. It also became a way of improving ones profile especially when wearing skimpy clothes.
The trend continued on until sun tanning oils came out in the 1940s. Consumers loved the product and became even more of a hit when advertisements that featured tanned women wearing two-piece bathing suits were set up almost everywhere.