I tanned this weekend! It was much needed and I felt great afterwards. I do indoor tanning in a stand up booth. Now I don’t want people to think I’m promoting indoor tanning, especially knowing about the skin cancer risks of both indoor and natural outdoor tanning. Rest assure, I only go to a tanning salon once a week and during the summer I’ve been going about once every two weeks.
So why do I tan? Especially since I live in sunny California?
I would only recommend indoor tanning if you are in a situation like me, or if there’s a special occasion coming up (like a wedding).
I don’t have time like I did in the past to keep up my tan. Instead of spending 2-4 hours at the beach, I spend 8 minutes in a popular tanning salon (with my indoor tanning lotion) where I kind of get pampered. It is much easier to keep up with on a weekly basis.
I am inside most of the time. If you are outdoor often and get a lot of sun, I wouldn’t recommend tanning. I’m inside most of the time, whether it be because I’m in class, working, working on projects (on the computer), or studying. These things take up most of my time and it was because of this that I started to get lighter and lighter and paler and PALER. I was looking very unhealthy and pale, so tanning was a quick fix. Now when I am outside often (say during the summer or when I am going to athletic events and actually have time for the beach and what not) – I do NOT go to the tanning salon!
Please, please, PLEASE DO NOT go to a tanning salon EVERY DAY!
I can see why it can get addicting because I feel great while tanning and after it, but this is probably the worst thing you can do, it is very unhealthy and NOT safe! I’ve heard about many people who would go every day and actually know someone who got skin cancer (she is young but she is okay now). I was told she went everyday, and this was not good especially since she was in what I call the “high-risk” group.
Some people have a greater risk of getting skin cancer than others. This includes those with fair or freckled skin, blue, grey, or green eyes, and or have blonde or red hair. Keep in mind that does not mean that others can’t get skin cancer, you still can!
So why tan if there are all of these risks?
There are benefits:
Vitamin D Production. The skin produces Vitamin D in response to sun (UVB) exposure, which is a health benefit for those with Vitamin D deficiency (which can lead to osteoporosis, liver/kidney disorders, and more). An article by Dr. William B. Grant stated that 23,800 premature deaths occur annually in the U.S. due to insufficient UVB exposure / Vitamin D deficiency. Compare that to the 8,800 annual deaths due to skin cancer. You can read about Vitamin D deficiency here.
Note that light-skinned individuals, who have less pigmentation, absorb more sunlight more easily so their risk of Vitamin D deficiency is smaller. However, those with melanin pigment (darker skin color) are a bit more likely to suffer from Vitamin D deficiency because the melanin acts like a sun-block, so it takes a longer time of sun exposure to produce Vitamin D in the body. This partly explains why those in the high risk group should tan safely!
Other benefits are that it can temporarily treat acne, and it has been clinically shown to help in the treatment of depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and Sub-syndromal Seasonal Affective Disorder (SSAD). Some others uses are for the treatment skin conditions such as psoriasis and vitiligo.
So all I have to say is that if you do decide to tan indoors (or even outdoors naturally), please keep all of this information in mind. It is NEVER okay to tan everyday!
SELF TANNING/ SUNLESS TANNERS
Now if you want to go the ultra safe way, I would go with the spray-on tan or try out the many great self tanning products out there. There are self tanning lotions and you can even use bronzers. The only thing you won’t get out of sunless tanners are the UVB/sun benefits (like Vitamin D), but if you just step out into the sun throughout the week then you should be okay, right? 😛
I’ve seen some really bad outcomes with some of those self tanning lotions… a lot of times people end up looking orange or blotchy and you can see spots they have missed. I think it is still a great idea to take some time and find which products are best. I have yet to find one, all I know is that I DO NOT recommend Victoria’s Secret Bare Bronze Daily Glow Moisturizer. It smells good, but the color wasn’t natural. So I ended up using it just for its scent lol! But I know there are lotions out there now that give a natural tan like Jergens Natural Glow and Dove Energy Glow (click on the product names to visit their official site). I personally haven’t tried these products but will in the future, and you know if I do (and like it) I’ll post it up here 🙂
So far I have been using Oil of Olay’s Touch of Sun. It’s only for the face, and I got it because sometimes when I go tan I cover my face with a towel (another tip! Too much sun can cause wrinkles! 😉 ) and I like it, it’s very subtle and not orange or streaky. It also has SPF15 UV protection (and Vitamin E).
Of course you have to take care of your skin to get the best results from getting a tan-in-a-bottle or spray tan. One of the best tips I’ve received is to EXFOLIATE! I blogged about that last year HERE – Exfoliate for Tanning. But what I was surprised to find out was that people can do all of this FOR YOU 😮 … now this is ultimate pampering…
Ideally I would like to have this done! Maybe for the occasional pampering and when I have spare money to waste.
And I didn’t talk about spray-tans (this post is long enough) so all I have to say is don’t end up like Ross on friends (one of my favorite episodes) lol!