Being a ”somewhat recovered tan-aholic” myself, I know first hand how much I love the first signs of spring and summer. Suns out, Guns out!! Woo Hoo!!!
The Sun however is not our friend. Tanning, even though everyone feels better with a little color on their skin, is not good for you.There are so many consequences to basking in the sun and cooking yourself to a nice, toasty brown color. I know because I did it and still have urges to just slather on some tanning oil and lay out by the pool all day. For some reason, I have this notion in my head and I know others do also, that being tanned is better and prettier. It may be temporarily, but in the long run, its sooo, sooo bad people!
This summer, I’m going to try as hard as possible to be a little more vigilant with sunscreen and resort more to self tanners and bronzers(which may be scary at first, but trust me they get easier the more times you use them!)
So before I get ahead of myself and start discussing self tanners, lets talk sun safety, sun tanning myths and sunscreens.
Like I previously stated, myself and others feel “prettier” with a tan. I don’t know why and where this all started (maybe we can blame those dam Victoria’s secret models…$#@*\=+ Giselle!!!!) but for the rest of use mere mortals we should be layering up on sunscreen, wearing sunglasses and covering up whenever possible.
-Find an SPF that you will use. Whether it’s a lotion or a spray or whatever. Make sure that it is SPF 30 or higher. A lot of makeup lines now has SPF 15 in them, which is great but not nearly enough to really protect you against the strong rays of the sun.
-Reapply your sunscreen. The biggest misconception people have is that putting on their sunscreen at 9 a.m. and going out for the rest of the day will be good enough….WRONGO! You need to be reapplying throughout the day. Especially if you are swimming or sweating or outside for extended periods of time.
-Another big misconception is a “base” tan will prevent you from getting burnt or decrease your risk for skin cancer. Even though a slight tan doesn’t give you the pain of a full on burn, it is still damaging to the skin. You are altering the melanocytes and keratinocytes (cells that give your skin pigment) and speeding up the aging process. You might not notice the affects today or tomorrow, but down the road when you look like a wrinkly old leopard at 40 or have to get treatments for melanoma, you’ll realize it wasn’t so smart to go tanning every day.
Another thing I believed for years and am still on the fence about, is tanning “cures” acne. It may temporarily fix the problem, but in the long wrong the tanning will be worse for your skin then the acne and can help along hyperpigmentations left behind from breakouts. ( I know this part all too well)
Now don’t get me wrong me, like I said, “I’m a somewhat recovering tan-aholic” . I tan so easily and rarely burn. I love the heat and used to go to the tanning beds religiously. This was all before I went to Halifax and stuck my face in a Wood’s lamp….Mother of God! Before this experience, I thought “I have no sun damage. Maybe a few freckles here and there, but my skin is fine.” What I saw was all these dark marks and hyperpigmentation lying beneath the skin waiting to just jump out at any time! At this point in my life a tiny light bulb went off in my head and was saying “wait a second,you dummy!” All along my biggest hint about my skin and how it reacts to the sun and what it will look like when I’m older was my own mother and her struggle with hyperpigmentation.
Now supposedly, I’m the spit of my mother. She can never deny me!!! ( I have the papers and brown eyes to prove it) I got all her good qualities and bad,which includes the fact we can get so brown we don’t notice the damage we are actually doing. Now being the good little aesthetician daughter that I am, I’ve tried recommending things to Mom to help with her skin. Tried them on myself. I’ve stressed in previous posts, a good skin care regime is important. If you have signs of aging caused from sun damage, the sooner you start treating them the better.
If you really NEED color on your face and body and don’t want to look like Casper the Friendly Ghost, might I suggest self tanners and bronzing makeup?
The formulas for self tanners have come a long way. There are sprays and gels and foams galore. You can strip down and have someone airbrush tan your body and give you abs!!!!!! and who doesn’t want that?! or if you are more modest, there are lots of spray tan booth places popping up. With the rise in skin cancers and more people becoming aware of how bad the sun’s rays really are, spray tans are becoming more accessible.
I’ve used tanning gels and gradual tanning lotions which I don’t mind, but my favorite are sprays. I’ve tried a couple different kinds and by far my two favorite are Loreal’s Sublime Bronze Pro Perfect Salon Airbrush Self tanning mist (longest product title ever!) and the one I’m actually going to put on tonight is Quick Tan Instant Self tanner. This can be bought at Sally’s beauty supply or for fellow aestechians and hair stylists at Maritime beauty supply.
Some things I would suggest to make self tanning as easy as possible are;
-find a product you like. Easier said then done. Only way you will know if you like it is if you try it. What may work for me or the next person, may not work for you. Look up reviews on products. Worst things worst, you’ll look like an oompa loompa for a day or two. It washes off.
-Exfoliation is sooooo important. Make sure your skin texture is smooth and even before hand. Do any waxing or shaving prior to applying self tanner. Use a gentle body scrub all over and concentrate on your hands, feet, knees and elbows. These areas are prone to having the color pool and look blotchy.
-Moisturizing your skin is also helpful. If an area is dry, that area will look darker..
-If you’re using a tanning cream or lotion, wear gloves. Nothing looks worse then stained nails and palms.
-As far as tanners on your face goes, wear one that won’t cause you to break out. A lighter formula will do.
-Very important!! If you are using a spray, cover the floor, avoid walls, shower curtains, anything you don’t want stained. Lay out towels or anything you won’t mind getting ruined.
-Make sure you are completely dry before getting dressed or going to bed. Apparently, I hold myself in my sleep? I’m reminded of that when I wake up with hand prints on my chest or arms ( not a good look 😦 ) You can dry yourself a little faster by putting a hairdryer on a cooler setting.
-If you aren’t into the whole “tan in a can” thing. Makeup can help you achieve some color. I wear powder bronzers daily. Just apply them where the sun would naturally hit you. The Chin, forehead, cheekbones, neck and chest. Blend lots so that there are no harsh lines.
Now with all this being said, there are studies out there that show some ingredients in some self tanners are not great for you. I am no where near saying self tanners are healthy, but they are a “healthier” alternative to skin cancer from the sun, which I personally don’t want. Do some reading and research, maybe you will find you don’t want to self tan and be paler. That is completely fine. Porcelain skin is gorgeous too. It’s whatever your preference is. Just be sun safe.
-Nicole 🙂 xo