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Isn't tanning the same as dying hair?

Submitted: 5/2/2007
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Question: Question... in other words you say that coloring your hair is a sin. But everyone in my church goes to or owns a tanning bed. how is one justified and not the other. (Yes, it is an apostolic church.)

Answer: We never said that coloring the hair is a sin. We said it obscures the glory of God. Now you might conclude that anything obscuring God's glory is a sin (since Romans 3:23 says that to sin is to come short of the glory of God), but that is your inference, not our explicit teaching. As for tanning beds, we agree that they are generally an indulgence of the carnal nature. But tanning is not in and of itself the same as dying. Caucasian skin tans naturally when exposed to the sun. Dying is always an artificial process. To use a tanning bed instead of the sun comes close to dying but is not exactly the same. It it is using an artificial means to produce a naturally occurring result.

Our larger concern is the idea that tanned Caucasian skin is more attractive or more healthy than untanned skin. To us, this is symtematic of the sun worship that goes on every summer at American beaches and swimming pools. The fact is, continual exposure to the sun at high levels results in premature wrinkling and can produce skin cancers which can be deadly. It seems that it is mostly women who are drawn to tanning solons. This is an indication of dissatisfaction with the God-given appearance. In this sense, we agree with you that tanning beds are really no different than hair dyes and make-up.