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To Tan or Not to Tan? – That is the question

25 Apr 2014

Having a sun kissed glow is really important to men and women, especially if you are going somewhere hot and sunny on your holidays. Here at Beauty in Prague, we know that there is no real safe way to tan if using UV rays. We have put together the three main ways you can tan and the safest way to do it.

Tanning under the sun

Tanning occurs when your skin cells protect you from harmful UVA and UVB rays that come from the sun.

  • UVA and UVB rays are a type of radiation linked to cancer. Prolonged exposure can greatly increase the likelihood of cancerous cells growing in your skin.
  • A tan works as a shield from radiation. Imagine thousands of tiny umbrellas in your skin; they open more the more they are exposed to the sun, which in turn makes your skin look darker
  • Remember, a tan does not cause cancer or damage, but is rather the visible evidence that damage to your skin cells has already occurred.

Always apply a Sun Lotion or Sun Protection before you step into the sun.

  • Sunblock is a product that uses titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to completely block out UV rays from the sun. This means you will get no tan while wearing it.
  • Sun lotion is a product that allows some UV rays to penetrate to the skins surface, which gives you the ability to get a slight tan.
  • Sun Protection Factor (SPF) refers to the amount of UV radiation that can saturate your sun protection to reach your skin. For example SPF 30 means that 1/30th of the sun’s UV rays are in contact with your skin.
  • Use an SPF no lower than SPF15
  • Use two to three tablespoons of sunscreen or sunblock on your entire body, concentrating on the areas most in contact with the sun. (shoulders, nose and face, arms, back).
  • Sun lotion and sunblock must be reapplied every two hours, or after entering water.

Know how long you should be in the sun. UV radiation is at its highest between 10am and 4pm, please make sure you are extra cautious between these times. Try to tan in short bursts. One hour a day is a safe amount of time to tan.

Tanning without the sun

Self-tan has become increasingly popular with many celebrities launching their own lines and nearly all Skin Care companies have their own tanning line too. You can get self-tan in lotions, creams and sprays. These dye your skin and make it look like you have a tan.

  • Self-tan uses a chemical which dyes the dead skin cells on your body. This means that it is only temporary, as it will last only until your body sheds the dead skin.
  • For an even tan, make sure that you exfoliate to rub off dead skin cells prior to applying your sunless tanner.

Give your body an all-over even coating to avoid streaks and spots of colour.

  • Self-tan may not contain sunscreen. You can still get skin damage with a self-tan if you spend prolonged periods of time outdoors. Be sure to apply a sun lotion in addition to your self-tan to keep your skin healthy.
  • Maintain your self-tan by applying the tan regularly. This reduces the number of dead skin cells you shed and makes the tan last longer.

Visiting Tanning Salons

Be very cautious when using sun beds. They expose you to UV rays that cause skin damage

  • Sun beds work by simulating the radiation from the sun. This means that they don't reduce the risk of skin damage at all compared to natural sunlight.
  • Using an indoor sun bed before the age of thirty increases the likelihood of getting skin cancer by 75%.

Beauty in Prague: Tips for Tanning

  • If you are going to tan, make sure you see a Dermatologist once a year to examine your skin for signs of skin cancer.
  • Rotate your body around so you get an even tan on the front and back.
  • Well hydrated skin is less likely to burn and more likely to tan, so keep that water glass full!
  • You are at increased risk for skin damage at higher altitudes and closer to the equator.
  • If you’re afraid to use a sun bed or afraid to use self-tan then use a tanning sun lotion, it gives you a wonderful looking light to medium tan but still gives you the protection of a sun lotion.
  • You can still tan in water and snow, which reflects and intensifies the UV rays from the sun.
  • If you want a nice glowing tan wear sun lotion, but make sure it's at least 30 SPF.
  • The suns is hottest between 10am and 4pm. Lay outside in between then and you'll get a better tan, but remember to apply sun lotion every 2 hours or when coming out of the water. It is also advised that you only tan in between these times for 1hr only.

Warnings

  • Even taking the previously mentioned precautions, skin damage and cancer are always an unfortunate possibility.
  • Spending time in the sun is not the only, or the best, way to receive a daily intake of Vitamin D. Instead of relying solely on the sun, try taking supplements instead.

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