Sun Safety: 5 Essential Facts About Tanning

Discover the facts about sun safety and tanning - is there such thing as a safe tan? How can you tan safely? Find out here.
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Girl tanning on the beach

There are at least three tanning salons within a two-mile radius of most colleges for a reason - it's no secret to anyone that college girls love to be tan.

While most people look good with some color, getting that color from the sun or a tanning bed is more dangerous than most girls realize.

Be smart this summer and learn the facts about tanning and the dangers of tanning beds to protect yourself for the future and keep your skin looking fabulous for years!

If you're already a tanning addict, or are just thinking about getting some color this summer, keep reading to learn some important facts about tanning, the health risks of tanning, and how to stay safe in the sun this summer.

1. Sunscreen is the world's best anti-aging product.

Forget about Creme De La Mer. Sunscreen is your best friend when it comes to fighting wrinkles. Sunscreen not only blocks out the sun's damaging rays - it also blocks their aging effects.

If you wonder how Hollywood stars over 40 like Halle Berry and Nicole Kidman stay looking young (okay, aside from the help of cosmetic dermatologists), I'm willing to bet that they wear serious sunblock, and have done so for years. It's really the best, cheapest, and most natural way to keep your face looking fabulous for years to come.

2. Sun damage happens now, but appears later.

You may think that just because you haven't developed wrinkles or skin cancer yet, you're fine. That couldn't be more false. The more you tan and damage your skin at a young age, the worse you're going to look when you're older.

Picture yourself at 40 and 50. Would you like to have skin like Demi Moore's, or would you rather resemble Demi Moore's distressed leather purse? If your answer was the first option, tanning is not for you. While you might look tan now, your skin will suffer in the long run.

Sunglasses at the beach - tanning facts

3. There is no such thing as a "safe" tan.

Yes, it's true. Despite what tanning salons may claim, their beds can't be safe, because tanning itself isn't safe. Tanning is actually your skin's reaction to damage already done, and a defensive attempt to protect itself from further harm. All those tanning beds that claim to be safe are lying.

Remember: the only safe tan comes from a bottle.

4. Dark skin is at risk, too.

While it's true that darker skin does have more natural protection from the sun than light, sun damage is still an issue.

Do you still need to wear sunblock if you have dark skin? YES! Darker skinned ladies still need to wear sunblock: at least an SPF 15 whenever you go out in the sun. This will help fight wrinkles, prevent cancer, and keep your skin looking beautiful.

Black girl with medium toned skin in the sun

5. SPF 15 is the minimum protection you need.

Don't slather on an SPF 6 and think that you're covered on a sunny day at the beach. While SPF 6 may be better than nothing, it's the same thing as wearing nothing after a few hours in the sun. You're also still inviting skin damage, wrinkles, and possibly cancer by not wearing enough SPF protection.

The absolute minimum amount of SPF that you should be wearing is SPF 15. Anything lower, and you're risking serious sun damage and all the other horrible effects that come along with it.

For more information on your skin, sun damage, and skin cancer, visit The American Academy of Dermatology website.

How to Get a Tan Without Skin Damage:

So what can you do if you want to be tan but don't want wrinkles and cancer? Simple - invest in a great sunless tanner. 

We've done tons of posts on the best self tanners: Here's our list of self tanners that actually work, and another one on how to apply the gold standard sunless tanner, St. Tropez. See also: The best self tanners for fair skin, our favorite self tanners in all categories, and our ultimate guide to applying self tanner.

If do-it-yourself isn't your deal, consider getting spray tanned if you really feel the need to be dark. (Just be sure to know the pros and cons of spray tanning.) Sure, it might cost a little extra money, but you're saving your skin and possibly your life in the long run, which are both more important.

Beach blanket on the sand

Now that you know some facts about summer skincare, you'll be better prepared to hit the beaches and keep yourself looking fabulous for years to come! At the end of the day, natural beauty is the best fashion statement of all.

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