Saturday, August 17, 2013

Self Tanners

Many people enjoy that sun-kissed golden glow that comes from the summer season, a winter vacation, or a tanning booth. Unfortunately, the sun damages our skin, causing aging, and too often, skin cancer. Many of us really like that golden glow, hence the advent of self tanners and spray tans, which do not have the damaging UV rays, but, like many things we have come to enjoy, these also come with a risk of damage.

A self-tanner is still by far the safest way to tan, most of the risk is in the dangers of inhalation. If you are spray tanning make sure to wear protection over your eyes, mouth, and nose. If you are using a spray at home, protect your eyes, nose and mouth as well. Use caution when applying lotion not to breathe in the fumes, apply in a well-ventilated area.

The next area of risk comes from a chemical in tanners, its what turns the skin dark, and is called DHA. This is not the same DHA found in fish oil, this one enhances freedom and production of free radicals in your skin. If everything you eat and drink is to rid your system of free radicals, it seems silly to place them directly on your skin, that is our largest organ!

According to Leslie Baumann, MD, if you really want to achieve that colored skin, be prepared to perform damage control. She recommends a topical moisturizer rich in antioxidants like grapeseed oil, vitamins C & E, lycopene, green tea, and CoEnzyme Q10. These products also have a short shelf life, make sure you toss them out after their expiration date. You must stay out of the sun when using self-tanners, the sun enhances the free radical effect. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding avoid any tanning products completely.

The other option is to learn to love the skin you’re in. Many beautiful people are a pale shade and enjoy their lives fully. It all depends on how much risk you’re willing to take, and what your perception of beauty is. Darker skin is lovely on people that are born with it, paler skin is lovely too. All shades of skin have their own unique beauty, and that is exactly how it is intended to be. No matter what you decide to do, always wear sunscreen! Wear protective eyewear when out in the sun as well, protect your corneas from glare.


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