First Time for Everthing: Tanning

First Time for Everthing: Tanning

I told Nicole about my Pink Cornflake diagnosis (What we will henceforth call Pityriasis Rosea. More descriptive, easier to spell, funnier) last night. Her ears perked up when I mentioned that my doctor recommended tanning as a treatment. She used to tan in college, before modern medicine and I convinced her to stop. I’d never tanned before, in the sun or in a salon.

One quick Google search later and we were in the lobby of Tan Bella down the block. Being San Francisco, this was of course a deluxe tanning spa unlike any other. The owner put us through a 20 minute lecture on the science of tanning and the benefit of low UVB machines before we could even start.

I did 8 minutes in the high pressure bed standing up, trying not to fall over from the disorienting towel wrapped around my face and goggle combo. With the purple lights and the heavy fans I felt like I was either being microwaved or sent into orbit Nicole went for 12 minutes in the lie-down machine.

I don’t have much of a tan today, my skin is sort of light pink all over. But my rash is a little better and slightly less itchy! I’ll go back once more this week and see what happens.

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There are 12 comments for this article
  1. love.boxes at 4:37 pm

    It takes a long time to get a tan from one of those machines and I am fair and don’t tan easily, but I am greatful to whoever invented them they are great for the winter blues.. we get socked in a gray inversion for about 2 weeks in the winter and it just stinks. A little sunshine.. even fake sun seems to help. I hope it really helps the rash.

  2. Calie Anderson, C.I.D. at 4:41 pm

    Too funny. I’m so sorry that this rash has been getting you down. However, I have quite enjoyed reading your humorous posts about the Pityriasis Rosea. Your whole experience is reminiscent to a Jerry Seinfeld episode.

  3. amy at 4:54 pm

    so…you’re willing to trade itchy skin for increased risk of skin cancer? interesting.

  4. mrsem Author at 5:12 pm

    Not at all! I normally avoid the sun and wear sunblock everyday. My doctor recommended this. One or two non-UVB tanning sessions isn’t necessarily a one-way ticket to skin cancer.

  5. meghann at 5:42 pm

    Just to second that, I have a scary amount of melanoma in my family history and my very conscientious derm sent me to the tanning bed for PR symptoms too.

  6. Jen at 8:05 pm

    Wow, that is dedication in doing whatever it take to reduce the itch! Hopefully you’re able to benefit by getting a tan in the process.

  7. hyb at 8:25 pm

    You should totally rock the tanning process – it’s not everyday that the doctor tells one to do something like this! Wear a beach-appropriate outfit or at least do a “what to wear” for tanning 🙂

  8. Susan at 9:59 pm

    Hi from an East Coast reader. I have to say that Pityriasis Rosea went through my mind when you first starting talking about your rash, but I thought no, I’m the only person I know who’s had that, it can’t be. But I guess it was! Aren’t the dots the strangest looking things ever? The indented centers… ew, memories! Let me tell you I healed up with no marks at all. You’d never know I had it. I hope you’re itch free soon. Great blog, keeps me feeling close to SF, a city I LOVE!

  9. mrsem Author at 11:03 pm

    I’m so happy to hear from other PR victims! Isn’t it strange that this really common illness isn’t talked about and no one knows where it comes from? Maybe we should start a Pink Cornflake Awareness Council!

  10. Jennifer at 12:06 am

    I just ran into your blog via A Browner Brown, and thought I’d pipe up as another PR survivor. I got mine right around this time of year when I was living in Milwaukee, which fully sucked as everything wool was unwearable!
    On the plus side, no scars or anything, and my textbook case plus my redhead-white skin really wowed my physician at the time (which is kind of a dubious honor really). Best of luck.

  11. Julie at 8:27 pm

    I don’t believe you have never tanned before. Did I read that right? I wish I had never. You should see the sun damage on my face. Who knows what tanning beds have done. I scorched myself a couple of times. I hope they are “safer” these days.

    Love you blog. You are such a fun person. You inspire me to get out more and do more exciting things.