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01st Jul 2012

How to Stay Safe When You’re Tanning This Summer

Fancy ditching the fake stuff and getting a natural tan this summer? Here is the guide to safe tanning...

It’s summertime and the weather is relatively fine…well…if you choose to ignore the occasional downpours we’re having in true Irish style.

For most of us summertime means two things: sunshine, if we’re lucky to have it, and a nice healthy tan. Let’s face it: nothing inspires the question “Oh, have you been away?” like that perfect golden glow that lights up your eyes and even makes your teeth look whiter.

Unfortunately, in our quest for the perfect tan, sometimes we put our own safety at risk. Maybe we leave the house without sunscreen, or we douse ourselves in baby oil in the quest to banish our pale, freckly skin and replace it with something more Californian-looking.

Ladies, we propose that it is time to stop the madness when it comes to tanning! Stop the torture. Stop the roasting. And, more importantly, stop the awful sunburn and the premature wrinkles.

While there’s no such thing as a ‘safe’ natural tan, there are a few ways that you can encourage your skin to get that gorgeous glow, but without giving yourself skin cancer in the process.

Here are our top tips for safe summer tanning.

1. Understand tanning: Right, let’s be blunt here girls. Basically when you tan, what you’re doing is burning your skin and leaving it open to lasting damage. If you lay out under a scorching sun without any kind of sunscreen on you, the results will not only be painful, they’ll also be potentially dangerous.

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland? In fact, 8,000 new cases are diagnosed every single year. Therefore, for your own safety, it’s important to be smart and sensible when it comes to catching some rays this summer.

2. Always wear sunscreen: This may sound counter-intuitive, especially if you’re trying to get rid of all that pale skin, but sunscreen is essential when it comes to cultivating a natural tan. You want to get nice and brown, but you also want to keep your skin relatively safe in the process.

What type of sunscreen should you go for? Well, the fairer your skin, the higher the protection you’ll need in terms of sunscreen factors.

Apply your sunscreen at least half an hour before you go out into the sun. This will give it time to sink down through the layers of your skin and protect you fully. Depending on how fair your skin is, use a slightly lower factor than you’d usually wear. This will ensure that you’re still relatively protected, but you can start laying the foundation for a nice glow.

It is important that you only spend thirty minutes outside at most though. If you want to repeat the process later, make sure you apply more sunscreen before you leave the house.

3. Take it slowly: You’ve heard the old saying ‘slow and steady wins the race’ and this is definitely true when it comes to natural tanning. Don’t rush the process in a bid to see quick results – if you rush you’ll just end up with sunburn and that awful snake-like peeling that goes with it.

The secret is to tan gradually rather than laying out in the sun all day long. It is essentially to limit your exposure, so your skin has time to recover in between. Start by going out for thirty minutes at a time. This will reduce the likelihood of sunburn.

4. Maintain your tan: After a while you should notice that your skin has that healthy glow, but how do you keep it for as long as possible?

Well, once you have your tan, you should stop exposing yourself to the sun. Start applying your usual factor of sunscreen again promptly.

Keep your tan longer by taking the time to apply moisturizer twice a day and avoid exfoliating until your tan has faded.

Again, there’s no such thing as a ‘safe’ tan. The only ‘safe’ tan is one that comes out of a bottle, but if you want to get a natural tan this summer, make sure you take the precautions to ensure that your skin is protected because sunburn isn’t just unsightly, it’s dangerous.