Skin is beautiful in every color.

It wasn't that long ago that I finally took down our inexpensive above-ground pool for the winter. I drained most of the water months ago, but I've been too busy lazy to roll it up, take it apart, and put it away for the season. My family and I enjoyed that pool almost every day this summer and in the process, I picked up a nice tan. But my rapidly fading golden tan is not why I stopped into a local tanning salon today to activate my membership.

Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images
Siberia. Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images

Montanas Siberian winters.

Okay, I'm being dramatic when I compare Montana winter to Siberia, but in my mind, it's pretty close. When I was a kid I loved reading stacks of old National Geographic magazines that my mom had picked up at a junk store. I can still recall one article that had photos of Russian schoolchildren lined up in their underwear in front of sun lights, in an effort to help combat the darkness of long, northern latitude winters. It was very similar to the image below.

Ray Therapy
Kind of creepy, huh? Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images

I'm hoping to combat the cold and darkness.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, tanning beds that are designed to tan do very little (if anything) to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. However, red light therapy and near-infrared light (NIL) have been proven to help with a number of issues, including depression. 

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Michael Foth, TSM
Off with my clothes! Michael Foth, TSM

The tanning salon I stopped by today in Billings (Versa Tan) offers a red light therapy room and I plan on stepping into that booth a couple of times per week this winter. Red light is completely safe and has no damaging UV rays.  Dave Asprey, a New York Times best-selling author and host of The Human Upgrade podcast wrote an insightful piece about red light therapy HERE.

Will I jump into a normal tanning bed while I'm there?

I will. I completely understand the potential risks of tanning and I feel - like anything -  moderation is key. When it's cold and dark and snowy, a warm tanning bed simply feels great. Keeping a hint of skin color throughout the winter is an added bonus.

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