Photo courtesy of sxc.hu
With the warm summer sun beating down on us, we often feel the need to go outside and get that tan glow. But, it is important to remember to stay safe while pursuing that perfect tan. Although we know what a tan looks like, what exactly is it?
A tan is your skin’s reaction to ultraviolet (UV) rays. When skin cells are exposed to UV rays, they produce a brown pigment called melanin, which darkens the color of the skin cells. This is your skin’s defense against further UV damage. UV rays actually damage the DNA of your skin cells! Even though your cells quickly react to UV damage, their defense is not perfect and your DNA is not always successfully repaired. This DNA damage is what can lead to wrinkles, sagging skin, spots, and skin cancer.
Every day use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. I go with at least SPF 30 unless I’m using a special product for my face, which usually comes in SPF 15. I always use a moisturizer with SPF; my favorite is CoverGirl’s Aqua Smoother Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 15.
CoverGirl's CG Smoothers SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer ($6.99)
Apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 to 3 hours. You may have to reapply your sunscreen more often if you’ve been swimming or sweating a lot. Make sure your sunscreen covers all areas of the body including your nose, earns, neck, and lips. That’s right, lips! Rather than goop body sunscreen onto your lips, you can get a lip balm with SPF built right in. The EOS lip balms are fun with great flavors and a unique shape; they’ve just come out with a lemon flavor with SPF 15 that can protect your lips from the sun’s rays.
EOS Lemon Drop Lip Balm
Many young women prefer the ease of the tanning bed to waiting outside for hours, but are tanning beds safer than tanning outside? Tanning salon owners comment on how their beds use UVA rays rather than UVB rays, which are more dangerous. But, UVA rays can also cause cancer! Sunbed tanning can still increase the risk of skin cancer.
So what’s a girl to do to safely get that tanned summer look? I’m a big fan of tanning sprays and lotions. It takes some practice to use them without streaks or unevenness, but once you get the hang of it you can get you tan in a quick and safe way. You can also use them to even out any existing tan lines. Here are some of my favorite sunless tanning products.
Neutrogena Micromist Sunless Tanning Spray ($11.49)
Jergens Natural Glow Tanning Moisturizer ($8.99)
With these sun tips you can have a fun and fearless summer. Remember, have fun and stay safe!
All price estimates are taken from Ulta.com.