Tanning the safe way

 pic @lucybrownless

pic @lucybrownless

Being winter, we haven’t seen the sun for a while and we are starting to notice those pale limbs. You may have an upcoming event or are going away and want to make sure you have that ‘healthy’ glow. Many of us use artificial tan, and although it means avoiding sun exposure, there are some other things to consider when getting our tan from a bottle.

1.    Artificial tan is safer than a real tan, but be mindful

Artificial tan is essentially a lot safer than getting a tan from the sun. Exposure to UV light through tanning the old fashioned way can increase risks of skin cancer, melanoma as well as sun spots, pigmentation and premature ageing.  However, when using artificial tan, please be mindful of how you apply it. Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is found in artificial tan and is the chemical responsible for darkening the skin. Although the levels found in artificial tan are very low, it is recommended to avoid inhaling, ingesting or making contact with the eyes.  To minimise risks, you may want to consider applying tan with a mitt rather than spraying it. If you get regular spray tans in a salon, choose somewhere that has suitable ventilation.

2.    An artificial tan does not protect you from the sun

Although you may look like you have a tan, your ‘tanned’ skin will not protect you from the sun. It is important to still apply sunscreen (SPF 50+) on all areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun.  Even if your artificial tan claims to contain SPF coverage, this may only be for a few hours after the initial application. Ongoing sunscreen application is imperative throughout the day.

3.    Don’t assume organic tan is safer than non-organic tan

Although organic artificial tan will include more naturally derived ingredients, it is important to remember that organic tan still contains DHA. Therefore although organic ingredients may be more beneficial, still be mindful of how you apply it. Remember to avoid inhaling, ingesting or making contact with the eyes. 

4.    Moisturise and moisturise

It is commonly known that artificial tan tends to dry out the skin so it is important to keep the skin moisturised. To ensure the longevity of your tan, avoid oil based lotions as they will tend to make it fade quicker.

5.    Avoid artificial tan if you are booked in for laser

If you are coming in for laser, it is important to avoid artificial tan for a minimum of 4 weeks prior. This is recommended because the laser can be attracted to the pigment colour in the tan product rather than the actual pigmentation we aim to treat. There are also more complications that can occur when tan is present on the skin. For example, blistering, burning, hyper-pigmentation and hypo-pigmentation.