A tanned complexion is widely sought after, as it is seen as both attractive and healthy. Contrary to the “healthy” notion associated with tanning, frequent and prolonged sunbathing can carry unhealthy, undesirable, and even deadly consequences. Too much sun can cause skin cancer, premature skin wrinkling, impaired vision, and weakened immune system. Although you can alleviate some of these negative consequences by properly applying sunscreen under the sun, you are still vulnerable to them.
People typically know that UVA rays from the sun are harmful. What people aren’t usually aware of is that exposure to artificial UVA, used in tanning salons, increases your chance of malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by twofold. The World Health Organization has been advocating stricter regulations on the use of tanning beds, while the FDA suggests that they be avoided altogether.
Tanning the Safe Way
Avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun and tanning beds doesn’t mean that there are no safe ways to achieve the tan look. Below are some safe ways to tan:
- Aerosol spray tan: You can apply aerosol spray tans at home or have it applied by a professional at a salon. The spray tan contains a colorless sugar (DHA) that dyes your skin surface brown when interacting with the amino acids the skin. DHA is approved by the FDA for safe tanning. A single application lasts for approximately one to three weeks, or until the dead skin sloughs off. This method is quick and effective, particularly if you have it professionally done.
- Tanning Lotions and Creams: The aerosol spray tanning method is also available in the forms of lotion and cream. Tanning lotions and creams are readily accessible and easy to use. There are some things to consider when using tanning lotions and creams at home. They can be messy and turn out uneven on your skin. The lotions and creams can dye the palms of your hands to a weird color, so wash your hands as frequently as you can during application. Also, apply the tan sparingly on your elbows, knees, ankles and hands, as those areas tend to come out much darker than other parts of the body.
- Bronzers: A great option when you need to fake a tan immediately, bronzers usually come in the forms of gels or powders. Bronzers instantly color the skin and are is easier to control than tanning lotions and creams. The downside is that bronzers wash off or fade away with the first wash.