The Best Ways to Tan Without Damaging Your Skin

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If your skin is a little on the pale side at the moment then you are probably thinking about getting a tan to add some color to it. There are a few different options for giving yourself a tan these days and you may have some questions about which option is best for you and your lifestyle.

So here are some common questions you may ask about tanning along with the answers you are probably seeking.

Who is suitable for a sun-tan?

If you have naturally fair skin then your skin may be more inclined to burn than tan. This can depend on your genetics with people who come from countries with a large number of fair-skinned inhabitants being more at risk of sunburn and less able to tan. If your skin doesn’t take a tan well then you should look at sunless tanning methods that don’t involve UV radiation – such as spray-on tans, creams, and safe tanning ingestible.

What are the different ways to get a sun-tan?

There are several different ways to give your skin a tanned look. You can use ultra-violet radiation from the sun or from artificial tanning beds to tan your skin. You can also use spray-on tanning solutions, tanning creams, and ingestible solutions to dye your skin or tan it chemically.

Ultra-violet Tanning

Ultra-violet radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation emitted from a variety of possible sources. It is found naturally in the spectrum of radiation emitted from the sun. UV rays damage your skin, so your body uses a chemical called melanin to protect itself from UV rays.

In the process, melanin gives your skin a brown tanned look. Melanin provides limited protection from UV radiation, so you should still use a sun-cream and clothing to protect your skin if you want to avoid sunburn and long-term skin damage.

UV rays fall into two categories – UVA and UVB. UVA has an electromagnetic wavelength in the range of 320 to 400 nano-meters with UVB in the range of 280 to 320 nanometers. UVA tends to be blocked by clothing and to a lesser degree by sunscreen creams.

Most UVB radiation is blocked by the planet’s ozone layer and atmosphere, but some still get through to the surface and it is blocked fairly well by sunscreen creams. Both of these types of UV radiation are responsible for giving you a sun-tan, and both also have their dangers if you get too much exposure to them.

Outdoor Sun Tanning

You can get a sun-tan by sun-bathing at the beach, by the pool, in your backyard, or anywhere else you are able to lie down wearing swimwear or skimpy clothing. Bear in mind that a sun-tan is a sign of skin damage, so don’t overdo it. Limit your time in the sun and wear sunblock to stop your skin from taking too much UV damage.

Tanning Beds

If you don’t have the opportunity to tan in natural sunlight then you can use a tanning bed to get a sun-tan from an artificial source. A tanning bed is an enclosed bed that you lie down in. It comes with a cover that usually closes over you.

These beds use light sources that emit UV radiation in a controlled fashion in order to give you a tan. Tanning beds still have the same dangers as natural sunlight though, so you should still be careful not to overdo it when using them. It’s best to tan in small increments where possible.

Tanning beds can be useful to maintain a tan in urban environments where you may not have many opportunities to tan using the sun. If you have a busy lifestyle then they may also fit in better with your schedule than a day at the beach or by the pool.

The Best Ways to Tan Without Damaging Your Skin

Sunless Tanning

If you don’t want to damage your skin by subjecting it to ultra-violet radiation then sunless tanning may be more your thing. Sunless tanning uses a variety of methods to give your skin a tanned look without using the sun or tanning beds. Sometimes the term is also applied to tanning beds but for the purpose of this article, we’ll put tanning beds into the ‘Ultra-violet Tanning’ section.

Tanning Spray

Tanning spray or spray-on tans involve chemicals sprayed onto your skin to give it a tanned look by dying it. These sometimes include sunscreen which can give you light protection from the sun. You can get a spray-on tan from sun tanning salons which can be convenient if you don’t have the time for natural tanning.

Tan-accelerating Creams, Oils, and Lotions

You can find a variety of tanning accelerator products that you can apply to your skin to give it a tanned look. Many of these are designed to promote the production of melanin in the skin, often by encouraging the growth of blood vessels. These tanning accelerators usually use the amino acid tyrosine as their active ingredient. These products generally encourage a light tan to appear after at least several days of use.

What are the preparations before getting a sun-tan?

For tanning using the sun or tanning beds, you should be careful to limit your exposure to UV rays. Use a sunscreen or clothing with good coverage to control your exposure when in the sun and limit your time in tanning beds.

For spray-on tans, you should take a shower about eight hours before getting the tan to ensure your skin is clean and to also give it time for its natural PH balance to be restored before the spray tan is applied. Allow six hours after the tan is applied before taking another shower to avoid washing the tan off.

Check the directions for any rub-on tanning products and make sure that you use them according to their instructions.

What are the possible side effects of tanning?

Tanning using UV rays from the sun and tanning beds can result in sunburn and long-term skin damage. Natural tanning is a reaction to your skin getting damaged, so by the time the tan has occurred any skin damage has already happened.

The point of the tan is to limit further damage. Too much damage will result in premature aging of your skin leading to wrinkles and a leathery texture. Damage to your skin’s DNA may also result in skin cancers forming.

Spray-on tans are relatively safe as long as you give your skin an occasional break from them.

Tanning accelerators are generally considered to be fairly harmless, but for safeties sake, you should avoid overdoing them. These are relatively new products and may have as yet undiscovered side-effects.

What cautions are advised?

You can find a variety of ingestible tanning products in pill form. These are generally based on food dyes and are not considered safe for consumption in the quantities they are often used in for tanning. So be cautious when using them!

Something to say…

There are a variety of ways to tan your skin and a variety of ways that you can do yourself harm if you are not careful. The bottom line with natural tanning is that it is a way for the skin to limit the damage done to it. So you should avoid overdoing it and look for other less harmful solutions where possible. Modern technology gives you a variety of ways to give yourself that tanned look without the skin damage and it is worthwhile finding out more about those alternatives.

Kana Z

Kana Z

I am a writer focussing on beauty, cosmetics, skincare, haircare and body care. I have a special interest in establishing solutions for problem skin. I have being working and studing with some of the world’s top skincare experts, hairstylists, makeup artists, perfume creators, photographers and models. I also currently write for websites of the skincare brand. My Specialties: beauty, journalism, skincare, haircare, cosmetics and problem skin.

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