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The Skin You're In24:08
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(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

Modern humans love to alter their skin. We bronze, we lighten, we pierce, we tattoo. Above all, for years, in the American culture, in summer, we have tanned.

In the country’s 21st century racial rainbow, skin color is – more than ever – all over the map, and proudly so. We have black, we have white, and everything in between – including in the White House.

And still, tanning is a cultural phenom. But these days, the sun may have little to do with it. A whole lot of tans these days come from a bottle, a lotion, a spray.

This hour, On Point: the new anthropology of skin and tanning.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.Guests:

Nina Jablonski is the head of the Department of Anthropology at Penn State University. Her most recent book is "Skin: A Natural History" (2008).

Jane Brody writes the Personal Health column for The New York Times. Her books include "Jane Brody's Guide to the Great Beyond" (2009), and "Jane Brody's Good Food Book" (1985).

Carmindy is an on-screen makeup artist for the TLC show "What Not to Wear." She is the author of "Get Positively Beautiful: The Ultimate Guide to Looking and Feeling Beautiful" (2008).

This program aired on July 14, 2009.

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