In our culture, glowing, tanned skin is prized as an asset that signals good health. But anyone actually interested in their ongoing state of health knows that spending time in the sun can lead to more than a tan: it can also cause skin damage and even cancer down the road. Luckily, there are ways to take the sun and its UV rays out of the equation entirely. And if you like to spend time soaking up your daily dose of vitamin D, there are ways to protect yourself so that you don’t end up looking like a sun-worshipper. If you want to avoid the wrinkles, discoloration, and potentially more serious side effects of tanning, but you’d still like a golden glow rather than your current, pasty complexion, there are steps you can take to tan a little more safely.
- Wear sunscreen. There’s no truly “safe” means of tanning the old-fashioned way, which is to say, under the sun. But wearing sunscreen is a good start. You may be under the impression that you can’t tan while wearing sunscreen, but this isn’t true. A broad spectrum sunscreen is designed to protect you from harmful UVA and UVB rays, but your skin is still in the sun. You’ll certainly tan more slowly this way, but it’s a lot safer.
- Limit exposure. Any time you’re in the sun, you need to take pains to limit your exposure, and there are a couple of good reasons. Even if you apply sunscreen, the effects only last for so long, and it can be difficult to ensure uninterrupted coverage even with reapplication. And if you are exposed to harmful rays without the protection of sunscreen, the result could be a burn. This not only ruins your perfect tan, but it also increases the odds of developing skin cancer by a significant margin.
- Consider tanning salons. People seem to think that the UV rays touching their skin in a tanning bed are somehow different from those of the sun, but there is no difference in the results, both in terms of the tan produced and the potential risks for skin damage and disease. So if you’re going to the tanning salon, take the same precautions you would when going out in the sun.
- Consider spray tanning. One of the safest options for achieving the beautiful, tanned skin you crave is spray tanning, whereby a solution is airbrushed onto your skin and allowed to sink in, providing the illusion of a tan that fades gradually over the course of several days or weeks. This is a great way to get the tan you want for special events without having to risk sun exposure in the process. And the best spray tan solutions direct you on how to prep and care for your tan for the longest-lasting results.
- At-home solutions. If you want to avoid UV rays, but you’re not keen on shelling out the money for spray tanning, you’ll be happy to discover that there are other healthy tanning options you can pursue at less cost. There are all kinds of lotions and sprays that you can pick up at your local drug store. And with frequent application you can achieve the healthy, gorgeous glow you prefer without the risk of skin damage or major expense.