Tales From the Self-Tanner Crypt - Beauty Addict

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tales From the Self-Tanner Crypt

It's incredible how much blog fodder last summer's wrist breakage has managed to provide. Really! It happened over a year ago and there are still funny stories left to tell. You already know about the over-the-top surgery prep, one-handed makeup application, my homemade, very glamorous cast wrap, my reliance on professional blowouts. Oh, and you saw the x-rays, too! Like I said, tons of fodder.

But it occurred to me recently that I hadn't told perhaps the best story of all, a story that answers this very frightening question:

What happens to self-tanner if you let it sit on your skin for three weeks straight?

The day I had my little accident, I had dutifully applied a layer of Famous Dave's Moisture Tan, an excellent and reliable formula. But a good tan was not in the cards that night, friends! To make a long story short, my right arm, tanner and all, was soon enclosed in a cast up to the elbow, without having been washed. It remained that way until the date of my surgery, three weeks later.

Can you see where this is going?

When in a cast, the skin's natural exfoliation process doesn't exactly go according to plan, leaving layers of dead skin just sitting there, building up. Layers of dead skin, COATED IN TANNER. After about a week, every time I'd furtively scratch at the opening of the cast, little brown flakes would waft out. Soon, you could see that the "sock" inside the cast was stained a hideous golden brown. And if you looked in with a flashlight (yes, I did this), you could see the line of delineation where my pale arm connected with the still-tan part, which was at this point the color of TOBACCO. Flaking off in little pieces that looked like fish food.

It was beyond gross. It was Frankentan.

And soon the day came when that cast was to come off, with me under general anesthesia, unable to explain myself. So at the last minute, while I was signing some release form about blood transfusions and just about to toddle off the the operating room, I looked up at Hot Surgeon and blurted out:

"I know you have to scrub the surgical site, but can you make sure to scrub my entire arm REALLY, REALLY well? Um, because things might be a little unusual under there..."

Greeted with a quizzical look, I babbled on and out came the story of the tan. There was a different color arm under that cast, that tan needed to come OFF, and he needed to be prepared for it.

"I like to say I've seen it all," said Hot Surgeon, "but this, I've never seen. Yeah, we'll take care of your tan arm." He gave the nurse a bemused look.

"Oh, and while you're at it, can you shave the whole arm, too? I heard that dark hair grows under casts and I would just rather never have to see that, thanks!"

Major eye roll on that one. But eight days later, the surgical dressings came off and my repaired arm was revealed, lily-white, hairless, and skinny as hell. Thanks, Hot Surgeon! And the first thing I did as soon as I felt comfortable touching the arm? Why, a fresh layer of self-tanner, of course! Can't go around with all that pastiness now, can we?