Sun Safety: How to Get that Natural Glow

With warm weather often comes the desire to be tan. While being tan may make us feel more *attractive* + bring summer vibes, tanning can come with harmful side effects. It’s always important to be informed prior to making decisions, so we want to give you the full scoop on all things tanning — from the downsides of tanning beds to *safe* sunscreen + self-tanning products.

THE RISKS

Tanning beds are a quick + easy way to achieve a tanned summer body, however, they come with numerous side effects. An article by the American Academy of Dermatology states, “just one indoor tanning session can increase the risk of developing skin cancer [melanoma by 20%, squamous cell carcinoma by 67%, + basal cell carcinoma by 29%].” In simpler terms, it increases the risk of developing the two most common forms [melanoma + squamous cell carcinoma] + the most recurrent form [basal cell carcinoma] of skin cancer.

If tanning beds are your primary source for tan skin over the summer, you may want to research some alternatives [stay tuned for some below!]. Alternative methods are especially important for those under the age of 30. A press release by the Skin Cancer Foundation mentions a study which found “out of 63 women who were all diagnosed with melanoma before age 30, 61 of them [or 97 percent] had used tanning beds in their lifetime.” For young adults, notably young women, melanoma is one of the most common cancers.

Clearly, there’s a reason the FDA requires warning labels on tanning equipment. Not only is cancer a potential side effect, but so is premature aging [wrinkles, leathery skin, dark spots] ++ eye damage.

Sometimes it can be simple to think you’ll be the exception to a warning label. However, when it comes to your health ask yourself what it’s worth. Many people use tanning beds for a confidence boost feeling it enhances their appearance. If you feel more confident after a tanning session, that’s great! We just want to enable you to make informed decisions while doing so.

SUNSCREEN

Breaking the desire for a tan can be difficult. Even with all of this information, many of us will still strive for a tan this summer. Most of us probably grew up protesting our parents when they told us to use sunscreen or applied it sparingly when we were forced to. One of the best ways to protect yourself this summer + decrease the risk of cancer, is to use sunscreen + not just once! Reapplying is crucial to protecting your skin — the American Cancer Society suggests reapplying every two hours. Sunscreen isn’t reserved for just the beach, it’s important for any occasion when you’re spending more than a few hours in the hot sun – cookouts, hikes, work, Bootycamp ; ) Ultimately to protect your skin, you should wear some type of SPF every day, no matter the season [that includes winter!].

Recent research discovered that certain chemicals in sunscreen can penetrate the skin + seep into the bloodstream. Although this new discovery has raised some concerns, experts are still supporting the use of sunscreen as the consequences of not using it are more severe.

Many people turn to mineral based sunscreen as a healthier alternative. Chemical sunscreens often contain oxybenzone, an endocrine disrupting chemical [read more about them here]. One resource you can turn to for information about safe sunscreens is the Environmental Working Group [EWG]. Each year the EWG compiles a sunscreen guide after researching + ranking around 650 different products. A few of their highly ranked ones are —

SELF-TANNER

If you want a quick tan + minimal sun exposure, self-tanners can be a great way to achieve this! Self-tanner provides similar results to tanning beds without the same harmful side effects. But like all products, some contain harmful chemicals. To aid in your search, below are a few natural options —

No matter how you choose to tan this summer, we hope you make the best decision for yourself! Enjoy another beautiful summer + remember to reapply sunscreen ; )

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