When I was young, I spent countless summer days playing in my backyard. But the thrill of baking mud pies and burying time capsules faded as soon as I came into the house.  “Look how dark you’ve gotten,” my mom and grandma scolded.

In high school and college, my Caucasian classmates complimented each other on their tans and told me I was lucky that I tanned so easily.

Asian cultures value fair skin, while American culture praises tanned skin.  Where does that leave Asian Americans?

While my complexion may not be fair or tan enough to meet the beauty ideal on either side of the Pacific Ocean, it is good enough for me.

When it comes to issues of the skin, my top concern is health.  One of my biggest regrets from childhood is that I spent all those hours unprotected from UV rays.  Yipes!

So if you see me slathering on sunscreen or taking out my hat, you’ll know it’s at the advisory of the surgeon general, not the beauty industry.

–posted by Debbie Chong


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