Life Insurance - How Well Are You Covered For Skin Cancer?
By Michael Challiner
In the good old days (?) before the industrial revolution the economy of this country was largely based on agriculture, and so most of the working class employees spent long hours outside in the fields. Inevitably their skin would have been well bronzed, and in time it became a distinguishing mark of the lower classes.
To ensure that no one could possibly mistake them for working class, the fashion of the time for the upper classes, especially amongst the ladies, was for alabaster skin. This effect was accentuated by the application of white powder, which was very often lead based. The result was deadly.
This fashion would continue to a greater or lesser degree into the 19th Century. Then in the 20th century, the advent of at least 2 major wars and the inevitable loss of manpower had a large number of women taking to manual labour. This was honourable work, and it is likely that this was the time when a tan became more acceptable.
The connection between a tan and the outdoor life resulted in the former being regarded as a sign of good health, and this delusion continues (especially amongst the young) to this day. This is very unfortunate, because it is now understood that excessive exposure to tanning rays, whether sunshine or artificial, can be the first step on the road to skin cancer.