With sunny days finally upon us, the golden glow of a summer tan is the perfect accent to your warm-weather look, from bikinis to sundresses. A suntanned (or faux tan) look can be achieved in a few different ways from the traditional lounge on a beach towel to sunshine in a bottle. The question remains – what is the best way to get your glow AND protect your skin?
Au Naturel – Simple Sunshine
Soaking up the sun’s rays can be healthy in moderation, since sunshine is a major supplier of vitamin D . Also known as the “sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D can help strengthen bones and stave off a variety of diseases (including MS and some cancers) among others. Sounds great right? But It is still important to be aware that spending too much time in the sun can lead to some serious skin damage, so it is not the best method of getting the perfect golden glow. Some sacrifices you might be making if baking in baby oil is your tanning method? Skin cancer, early signs of aging (think early age spots and wrinkles), to name a few, even if you are someone who doesn’t usually burn in the sun. Although a daily dose of sunshine is a good thing, spending all day suntanning without applying (and reapplying) sunscreen of at least SPF 15 certainly isn’t.
Hitting the Tanning Bed
Tanning beds remain a popular method of obtaining the perfect all-over bronze colour, but it is by far one of the worst things you can do to your skin, especially if you are under 30 years of age (chances of getting skin cancer are 75% higher!). Studies have shown that use of tanning beds leads to a much higher rate of melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Those tanning bed operators who claim that getting a tan can prevent you from getting skin damage if you “pre-tan” before going out in actual sunshine are sadly mistaken. Any colour on your skin from UV rays is, in fact, skin damage.
You may be wondering, since two of the top methods of achieving the ideal summer glow can cause serious damage to your skin – what are some healthier options? Not to fear – you can get the bronzed bod that you seek while protecting your skin at the same time!
Faux Tan Option 1 – Airbrush Tan
One sunless tanning option is the airbrush tan, which is becoming increasingly popular, since it provides an all-over glow in as light or dark a shade of bronze as you like, without causing any damage to your skin. You can specify whether you only want certain parts tanned (i.e. legs, face) or a full body tan (be prepared to don paper undies if so). As a redhead with extremely pale and sun sensitive skin, this is a tanning option I have turned to a number of times , and can honestly say that it provides fantastic and natural looking results. The major con here is the price – not unreasonable but salons charge anywhere from $30-$75 for a session. If you are looking for a budget option, this might not be for you, or perhaps best saved for special occasions. It does last for at least a week, sometimes two, if you don’t use exfoliating products.
Faux Tan Option 2 – Self Tanner
This is probably the easiest, most budget friendly option of all. Like airbrush tanning, self tanning products do not damage the skin, while still providing glowing results. Also, like any beauty product, there is a whole range of options, from your budget friendly drugstore options to more pricey beauty counter options. The main cons of self tanning lotions is the potential for streaky and/or unnatural colour, however with the rise of interest in sunless tanning products, an ever wider and higher quality array of self tanning creams, gels, and foams are increasingly available. You can easily find these types of products at your local drugstore, or at any online beauty retailer like Sephora or Beauty.com .
It is pretty clear that if you want to be a bronzed beauty this summer, that (American Cancer Society approved) bottled (or airbrushed) sunshine is truly the healthiest and best option for the perfect summer tan.
What is your favourite way to get a healthy golden glow for summer? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!