It’s already happening- my friends are inviting me out to the beach and noticing how very, very white I am. Having very fair skin is just fine in the winter; you can pile on all the sweaters and turtlenecks you want, but come summer everyone expects to see a healthy glow, not a creepy white vampire hiding under the beach umbrella. Various cancers are ever looming in my family so I can’t risk tanning out in the sun- luckily this article by Kimberly A. Daly, arrived in Shape Magazine just in time to help me with my fake-tanning needs.
Way to Glow!
Skin cancer is a bigger risk than ever. Lower your odds and get golden safely, sans the sun, with these pro tips and tricks.-
There’s something about a bright, sunny sky that makes you want to smile. But if you’re not protecting your skin when you’re out enjoying the day, you’ll soon be frowning. “Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a known carcinogen,” says Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., a dermatologist in Washington D.C. “And melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, is increasing at an alarming rate.” So what’s a girl who loves looking golden to do? Head to the beauty counter! Self-tanners can give you the color you crave- without the dangers that come with sun exposure- and they even have the power to encourage good behavior: A study published in the Archives of Dermatology found that women who embraced a faux glow reported a decrease in sunbathing and burns. And even a year later they were more inclined to use sunless tanners and wear protective clothing. Find out how to shun the sun and fake a bake beautifully.
Don’t Get Burned: The Truth About the Sun and Your Skin– If you rely on the rays for your glow, you’re putting your skin- and health- at risk. Heed these facts to help you stay out of the red.
There’s Nothing Healthy About a Suntan: “When UV rays hit your skin, your body goes into defense mode,” explains Tani. “In an effort to prevent DNA damage, cells produce melanin, turning your skin golden.” But at that point the cells are already injured and have the potential to become basal cell carcinoma, the most common (and most treatable) form of skin cancer; squamous cell carcinoma, which accounts for 2,500 death per year; or melanoma, the cause of almost 9,000 fatalities annually.
A “Base” Tan Won’t Protect Your Skin From Cancer: “Women who sunbathe or visit tanning beds before going on vacation certainly aren’t doing themselves any favors,” says Tanzi. In fact, researchers from the National Cancer Institute found that a layer of increased pigment doesn’t offer skin any additional protection against the harmful effects of UV rays. “You’re just subjecting it to even more damage,” says Tanzi.
UV Rays Don’t Discriminate: “Anyone can develop a cancerous lesion- even those with dark skin,” says Tanzi. And those patients often have a poorer prognosis. According to a recent study in Cancer Control, melanomas are more likely to be fatal among African-Americans and Hispanics because they tend to be diagnosed late in the game. “That’s why everyone needs to protect themselves,” says Tanzi. “This means using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 year-round.”
The Sooner You Get Diagnosed, The Better: According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one person dies every hour from melanoma. “But in 99percent of those cases, catching it earlier might have saved his or her life,” says Tanzi. See a dermatologist for a head-to-toe skin exam annually. Or get one free from Aveeno and the Skin Cancer Foundation. Their fourth annual Road to Healthy Skin Tour will be canvassing the country in an RV providing cancer screenings and sunscreen samples. Log on to aveeno.com to find a stop near you. In the meantime, do regular skin checks once a month. Look in the mirror and pay careful attention to any variations, says Tanzi, who advises her patients to remember their ABCDEs: Visit your dermatologist if you notice any moles with asymmetry (irregular shapes); poorly defined borders; color changes or inconsistencies (ones that have darkened, turned red, or are more than one shade); or a large diameter (anything bigger than a pencil eraser). Also watch for evolving moles (spots that look different than they used to).
How To Go For The Gold-A spray-tanning pro reveals how to get “sun-kissed” skin at home.
Pick Your Potion: Finding a good self-tanner can seem daunting- store shelves are lined with lotions, gels, mousses, and sprays. Which is right for you? “Choose the formula that best suits your skin,” says Anna Stankiewicz, of Suvara Airbrush Tanning at the Warren Tricomi Salon at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Creams and lotions work well on dry skin, while sprays and mousses have a lighter consistency- perfect for the acne prone. If you’re a newbie, try a gradual sunless tanner that builds up to your desired hue.
Reach For The Right Shade: “The orangey effect happens when you choose a self-tanner that’s too dark for your skin tone,” says Stankiewicz. “If you’re fair, like Nicole Kidman, use the light-to-medium option; if you’re skin is closer in color to Eva Mendes’ or J.Lo’s, go for the medium-to-dark one.”
Slough It Off: Before you apply the sunless tanner, buff rough spots- they often soak up too much color, leaving splotches. “But avoid oil-based scrubs, which can leave a slick film on your skin that the active ingredients can’t penetrate,” says Stankiewicz. A better choice: a loofah or body brush. Wait for skin to dry completely after showering since water can dilute the formula, giving you an uneven or streaky tan.
Apply It Right: “When you put on your self-tanner in circles, you end up hitting the same spots more than once,” says Stankiewicz. Instead, carefully smooth it on using long, even strokes. For sprays, hold the product six inches away from your body for a consistent coat.
Don’t Sweat It: On average, it takes six hours for your sunless tan to develop. Wear loose-fitting, dark-colored clothing during that time and try not to perspire- it can cause the product to rub off.
Make It Last: “Harsh cleansers dry out your skin, which can cause your fake tan to flake, fade, or look patchy,” says Stankiewicz. In the shower, stick with moisturizing body wash or gentle soap.