Luxury Skincare: "Hollywood Bronze" has become all the rage as the marker of health and beauty in our society today. Billions of dollars a year are spent in the tanning industry. However, all tans aren't created equal. Some can be hazardous to your health.
Basically, there are four ways that you can get a tan today. There is the natural tanning that occurs with sun exposure. There is the tanning bed. There are sunless tanning sprays, lotions, oils, and even tanning pills. So many tans, but what is safe?
Too much sun exposure increases your risk of skin cancer and causes premature aging of your skin. Yet, in spite of bad press, some sun exposure is a good thing. It is necessary to insure that your body makes an adequate supply of vitamin D. When sunning, it is best to wear a sunscreen of SPF-30 or above. You will still get enough sun to make ample vitamin D and to give your skin a healthy appearance without the skin damage and the increased cancer risk.
Cancel your tanning bed appointment also. Tanning beds are OUT! Tanning beds use UV-A waves, which penetrate your skin more deeply. They cause sunburn, more rapid visible signs of aging, and cancer. Even "high pressure" tanning beds that promise less UV-B rays still damage the skin. You are safer lying out on the beach for four hours in the sun than spending just 20 minutes in a tanning bed. Tanning beds can also cause photosensitivity of the skin with a variety of foods, medications and even cosmetics.
Tanning pills are the worst. None have been proven safe or effective.
That leaves us with sunless tanners. With these, the skin is covered with DHA (dihydroxyacetone) or some other bronzing ingredient. The colorless sugar interacts with the top layer of dead skin cells, causing a color change to occur. Tanning lotions and oils frequently afford an almost immediate tan, but staining and streaking can occur, especially if you have large pores. Spray products may take from 5-7 hours before the tan fully appears, but they provide a smoother more even tan. Some spray tanning products can also be carcinogenic, so I recommend products that are free of parabens, such as the Jimmy Jimmy Coco, Inc. © line of tanning products. Pregnant women should avoid tanning products all together during the first trimester of pregnancy.
One final thought as you are preparing for that big event and desire to look Hollywood glamorous, be prepared to get your tan within days of your event. Good spray tans only last about 5-7 days. Even natural tans only last two weeks to a month, depending on your age and how quickly the skin regenerates itself. A little natural sunlight and a good parabens-free spray tanner are you best bet for maintaining your beautiful, sun-kissed glow.
By Dr. Cheryl BryantBruce, M.D.
Elite Personal Physician Services, Inc.