Tanning describes the darkening of the skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or from a sun bed. There is a rather popular mistaken belief that a “healthy tan” exists.
Tanning is essentially the skin’s natural reaction to damage from excessive exposure to UV radiation and is the skin’s attempt to protect itself from further damage.
There are some potential dangers that can be acquired through excessive exposure to the sun, so extra care should be taken to maintain the health of your skin when trying to achieve a glorious tan.
There are three ways to get a tan; one can tan through sun tanning, salon tanning or fake tanning.
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Sun Tanning is just that – getting a tan via sun exposure. There have been studies that show a strong connection between skin cancer and sun tanning. UV rays are the most dangerous part of a natural tan.
UVA and UVB, the two types of UV rays, affect the skin in a negative way, penetrating it and possibly damaging the gene composition. The prolonged exposure to these rays, especially UVA, is what causes cancer.
With this in mind, here are some tips to help you achieve a great tan while protecting yourself from skin damage:
Use sun block
The most important thing to remember when sun tanning is always wear your sun block. A sun block with low SPF will still allow for some tanning but provides a certain level of protection from the sun’s powerful rays.
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Exercise caution when on or in water
The sun can badly burn your skin without showing any warning signs.
Wear hats and t-shirts
These items provide some protection from the sun. Individuals with very fair skin, freckles or moles, people under the age of 16, those who tan poorly or burn often and individuals who have a history of skin cancer should be extremely careful when exposing themselves to the sun.
When going out into the sun, apply the sun block before you get dressed to make sure that you don’t overlook any areas. Make sure that you gradually build up on the time that you spend under the sun. You should never attempt to burn too quickly as this may cause skin damage.
The sun is at its hottest from 12 noon to around 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Stay out of the sun at this time. Choose a specialized sports formula or a waterproof formula for your sun block if you are playing sports or swimming.
You should keep in mind Tanning beds and vitamin D deficiency in your next tanning session.
Protect your lips!
Use some good lip screen to keep your lips from getting burned and from chapping. Consult your pharmacist for hypoallergenic products if you find your skin to be sensitive to the other products in the market.
Salon tanning or other forms of personal tanning methods have become very popular. These methods are using tanning beds, bronzing powders, wash-off tanners or self tanners. Using a tanning bed is thought to be a bit more protective as compared to getting a tan naturally; however, there are still risks involved when using tanning beds since the exposure to the harmful UV rays is still there.
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Bronzing powders is a form of artificial tanning product used on your face the same way you would a blusher. Wash-off tanners is one of the simplest ways to get an instant tan. All you need to do is smooth the cream on and wash it off when the day is done. Self tanners come in different forms – gels, lotions, sprays, wipes and just recently, a pill. These products were designed to eliminate the need for exposure to harmful rays.
The pill stimulates pigment change without any need for sun exposure; however, no tanning pill has been approved by the FDA. The spray treatment, which is a speedy, 30 second application, are available in various salons and can present instant results.
All these options contain the ingredient dihydroxyacetone (DHA) which is soaked up by the surface skin cells, turning them brown when exposed to oxygen. The “tan” usually takes about three or four hours to be achieved and will last until all the skin cells are shed naturally.
A lot of these products also come with combinations of moisturizers and vitamins to keep the skin healthy and soft.
Tips for a good looking self tanning
Here are some tips to consider when self tanning.
Scrub away the dead flaky skin first before applying any self tanning products. This way, you can avoid a patchy finish.
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Use a body lotion
Apply a generous amount of body lotion over the area you intend to treat with tanning products. This will prevent any drying and will create a smooth surface for the application of tanning lotions.
Darken your skin gradually
Go with a lighter shade choice. Remember, you can always apply a second layer if you want a darker tan.
Use the product correctly
Work the product well into your skin. It should feel completely dry and there should be no excess product left. After applying self tanner, wipe off areas that don’t normally tan like the armpits, soles of feet, nipples and fingers.
Use a damp cotton wool pad or cotton balls for this. Also wipe off the area around your eyebrows, hairline and jawline.
Use the self tanning products with sun screen. You can never go wrong with this tip.