Safe Tanning Options for Summer

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We all know about the dangers of getting a tan. Sun worshiping has been out of fashion for a long time, as are tanning beds, which have been proven to have the same adverse effects as the sun; they are not the safe alternative that they are touted to be by the manufacturers of tanning equipment would have us believe. What never seems to get old, however, is our desire to get that beautifully bronzed, just off the beach look, and in the summer, when bodies are more likely to be on display, the demand soars. So how can you safely get that super sexy tan?

Sunless Options

Professional spray tans and home tanning products and lotions are two options for a faux tan that can look as good as the real thing. Spray tanning solutions will likely contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which works by reacting with the top layer of your skin. These chemical reactions, which lead to the darkened color, are temporary and perfectly safe – they only affect the top layer of skin and as soon as this layer naturally sloughs away in a week to ten days the tan will disappear. DHA has been used in cosmetics for over 30 years and has had the FDA’s approval since 1973, so it’s pretty safe to say that you can use it with confidence.

For the DIYer

The self-tanning products that you use at home sometimes have a streakier finish and can be difficult to apply evenly on yourself, so it’s essential to prep well for an authentic looking result. Exfoliate beforehand paying particular attention to elbows, knees, and back of feet. You may even apply a light moisturizer to those dry areas before application to avoid over absorption that can cause uneven discoloration. The chemicals used in most self-tanning lotions are generally the same as in spray tans. There’s no data to show that DHA is harmful when applied to your skin in tanning products; however, you may want to avoid tanning treatments altogether if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Professional Spray Tan

Spray tans are beloved by A-listers, dancing stars, and a sure thing at awards ceremonies. Most people opt for professionally applied spray tans for the consistently natural coverage and because, let’s face it, who’s going to be proficient at spraying the backs of their bodies? As with self-applied home products, proper prep is the secret to a long lasting natural looking tan.

Compared to the risks of sun exposure, spray tans and self-tanning lotions are much safer. Our advice is to have a professional application to avoid getting spray or lotion anywhere it’s not supposed to be, always have a patch test before you have a treatment to prevent an allergic reaction to DHA or other ingredients, and always wear sunscreen!

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