As the mercury dips so low that it nearly drops off the thermometer entirely, many of us are tempted to escape to tropical destinations to enjoy the heat and get a “healthy” tan.
Surprisingly, there are still many misconceptions about tanning. For example, if you think that going for a few sessions at a tanning salon before heading to the beach will create a “protective foundation” for your skin, unfortunately this is just not the case. Anytime UV exposure causes your skin to darken, it means your skin cells have been burned. This darkening in no way protects your skin from further exposure to the rays of the sun. It is even more harmful to children and teens, as these burns increase their risk of developing skin cancer as adults.
If you’re heading to a sunny destination, remember that it’s best for you to cover your body with opaque clothing and a hat, and to remain shaded from the sun’s rays during the peak periods of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Before you leave, check that your sunscreen hasn’t expired and make sure to pack enough of it. You have to apply sunscreen generously: if you’re exposing your whole body to the sun, for example, you need to apply the equivalent of two palms of the hand. Since you need to reapply every two hours, a single bottle is not enough for a one-week trip. Lastly, don’t forget to apply sunscreen lip balm to protect your lips as well.
If you still feel that you look healthier with a tan, the best solution is to opt for sunless tanning products, whether you’re planning a getaway down south or not. These cosmetic products have been greatly improved in the past few years to produce results that look natural. In addition, a recent survey conducted in the United States has found that individuals who use sunless tanning lotions tend to spend less time exposing their skin to UV radiation (in the sun or in tanning salons).
So if you’d like to have a light tan before heading on your trip, or just because you like how it looks, avoid tanning salons and instead opt for sunless tanning products. You’ll be surprised at how well they work, and you won’t be putting the health of your skin in danger.