With the arrival of January, you’re probably losing that tan you got from your last vacation. Still months away from summer, it might be tempting to turn to sunless tanning to bring back the rosiness in your cheeks. Many people rely on tanning beds in particular to achieve their sun-kissed glow. However, this quick fix may come at a cost.
Tanning beds may be faster, but are they safer?
According to Dr. Ashley Cauthen of MidState Skin Institute, the answer is no: Tanning beds are never safe.
Dr. Cauthen notes that patients have a misconception that beds aren’t as bad as the sun, but that’s just not the case. In order to fulfill the promise of bronzed skin, tanning beds employ the use of artificial bulbs that can actually be stronger than natural sunlight due to their highly concentrated ultraviolet A rays.
If you must rock that tanned look in the winter, opt for alternatives that are known to be less dangerous, such as aerosol spray tans and at-home tanning lotions.
Much research has been done on spray tans and the chemicals in them, and the risks are substantially less than those posed by tanning beds. Spray tans and tanning lotions utilize DHA, an FDA-approved chemical when used topically. DHA is the active ingredient in lotions and sprays that are responsible for turning your skin darker. When it comes to self-tanning, always exfoliate beforehand to prevent streakiness and unwanted texture, and apply lotion to dry areas like elbows for a smooth application. One problem that might arise from using sprays or lotions is the possibility of an allergic reaction. If you are concerned about this, perform a spot test first on a small area like the inside of your wrist. Always apply tanner in sections to build up the product evenly before it dries, and choose a color that isn’t too dark for your skin tone for the most natural look.
Sun damage is real, and it doesn’t discriminate. No matter your complexion, always use sunscreen. Even on overcast days, UV rays are not entirely blocked by clouds and continue to affect skin and cause premature aging.
Take care of your skin, and it will take care of you.