Tanning Methods Debunked: What is the Healthiest Option?

 With summer coming to a close, lots of people are rushing to get that sunkissed tan look before the coldness of fall starts to creep up. For people with fair skin like me, this tan is almost unachievable as I have to lather myself in sunscreen to avoid a burn. But answers are not hard to come by as there are tips and tricks online, on social media, and even at your local drug store for how to successfully obtain a natural-looking summer glow. In this article, I will be reviewing and giving my opinion on different types of methods I’ve used to achieve tan skin and their safety!

  1. Natural Sun 

This method is pretty self-explanatory as the most popular way of getting a tan is laying out in the sun for hours on end. Despite giving you the most natural-looking tan, laying in the sun for hours can put you at risk for permanent damage to your skin. In the hottest days of summer under normal circumstances, the UV Index (strength of the UV) can reach up to an average of a 10 which on the UV Index scale means you can begin to burn in as quickly as just 15 minutes in the sun. Personally, I love being out in the sun in the summertime and prefer spending the summer building up a natural tan but as someone who has fair skin, I have to be extra careful and conscious about reapplying sunscreen. As long as you are responsible about your duration of time in the sun and make sure to apply proper protection to your skin, a tan should develop. Wearing no sunscreen in hopes of rushing the tanning process can not only put you at risk for sun poisoning but even some types of skin cancer. 

2. Tanning Bed

A tanning bed is one of the most dangerous ways to achieve a tan as it is not only extremely harmful to your skin but also your brain and eyes. No real tan is ever really safe, but this is the one method you should really try to avoid due to the extreme UV radiation that is released just inches from your skin. Indoor tanning is associated with a 75% increase in melanoma which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Applying sunscreens and protective oils are no match for the power of the UV rays, and the various side effects such as wrinkles, uneven skin tones, and leathery textured skin are not worth the temporary tan. 

3. Spray Tan

Spray tans have never failed to give me the look I was going for in a matter of hours. Of course, there are many downfalls to an instant tan such as its price, quality, and how long it lasts but places like Tommy’s Tanning in New England have always given me great results. When you show up to get a spray tan there are many rules you should follow in order to get the best results. These include shaving and exfoliating the day before, avoiding wearing any makeup or deodorant the day you get tanned, and also refraining from sweating, taking a shower or going swimming 4-6 hours after you tan. Depending on the location you visit price will vary but usually, these types of stores have memberships to help you save if you want to frequently get tanned. For one-time visits, I have paid anywhere from 30-50 dollars for a spray tan. Sometimes, tanning places will have special deals with free tanning in order to promote their services. 

4. Tanning Wipe

“Tan Towel” is a self-tan towelette that can be used on your body and face. You can get them in different shades and sizes depending on how much of your body you want to tan. They are sold at Ulta for about 30 dollars for a 10 pack of towelettes. You should follow the same instructions with shaving before and showering after you apply the tan towel. The one element I dislike about the tan towel is that you get excess coloration on your hand and you are unable to see if you are missing any sections until the next day. But if you are looking for a safe and cheap tanning alternative, the tan towel is a great selection!

5. Tanning Foam 

Tanning foam is all the rage for instant, affordable and safe tanning especially brands like St. Tropez and Bondi Sands. What I love about these products is that since they are tinted, you can see every spot you are getting and especially notice the ones you are missing. This allows you to get an authentic-looking, even tan without leaving your house or dropping a ton of money. These foams are applied with special mitts to avoid discoloration on your hands and can last up to a week. You are able to buy them in different shades to appeal to everyone’s tanning needs. 

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