We’ll assume everyone knows what tan lines are: those dividing lines between darker tanned skin and lighter skin that hasn’t seen the sun.
This, as you know, occurs when materials covering the skin effectively block UV rays while the exposed skin becomes tan after directly being exposed to the rays.
But did you know about the different types of tans that have been distinguished in popular culture?
There’s the farmer tan, which we’ve all heard of. This tan came to be known when farmers would work all day outside and develop dark tans on their arms, face, and neck, while the skin under their clothing would remain untouched.
Another type of tan is called the Franciscan tan. Franciscans are members of certain Catholic religious orders. During the summer, Franciscans would walk around with sandals on, thus developing tans on their feet. So the Franciscan tan was named to describe a tan you can get from wearing sandals all day in the sun.
A trucker’s tan is named after a type of tan that truckers can get, and anyone else driving a vehicle for that matter. Also called a driver’s tan, this tan occurs when someone driving a vehicle has their arm on the window or out the window, and that arm becomes more tan than the other arm. This tan is similar to a farmer’s tan, but the difference is that one of the person’s arms is going to be a bit darker.
In the UK, the trucker’s tan is called the taxi driver’s arm, named after the tans that taxi drivers get after driving all day with their arm out in the sun.
There is also a biker’s tan, where tanning occurs on the top of the arms. If biking gloves are worn, tan lines occur on the hands as well. There are also tan lines on the leg if biking shorts are worn.
Different types of tan lines are found to be attractive by different people. The more irregular the tan lines, the less attractive usually. Also, at present, less people are attracted to highly distinct tan lines, where more people prefer subtle tan lines and even more prefer no lines at all. Of course, this is going to be a matter of preference in the end.
Special fabrics have been developed to allow UV rays through to the skin even, so that people tanning on beaches can tan without tan lines.
Easier still is to hit a tanning salon and tan in private without clothes, though tanners are always cautioned to take it easy the first few times on sensitive sections of skin that haven’t seen the sun.
In many salons, special stickers are sold to induce tan lines to make certain shapes or messages. Some people simply put sun screen on their bodies in shapes or words to induce tan line messages that way. Stars, hearts, messages, and other designer symbols find their way onto tanner’s bodies all the time.
Now you know all about tan lines!