Sunless Tanning Is Better for Your Health


April 23rd, 2009

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You don’t have to be Jersey Shore orange to enjoy having a tan. Many people, both young and old, use tanning beds as a means to get that summer glow all year round. Yet tanning beds can put individuals at risk of developing a number of serious skin issues, most notably melanoma. If you’d like to stay bronzed but reduce your risk of skin cancer and prevent premature aging of your skin, sunless tanning could be the answer you’re looking for.

Sunless tanning products are available widely at supermarkets and beauty supply stores nationwide. These products are designed to give your skin a sun tanned look without exposing it to any potentially harmful UV rays. They come in lotions, gels and sprays that are easy to apply to your skin and can create a darker look. The active ingredient in most of these products is dihydroxyacetone or DHA. It works with the outermost layer of skin to temporarily darken it. Fake tanners do not wash off of the skin in the shower but will fade as these outer skin cells are sloughed off over the next few days or weeks. Those who want a sunless tan can also visit a regular tanning salon for a spray on sunless tan as well.

Sunless tanners are easy to apply and can result in a natural looking tan when used correctly. For the best results, individuals will want to exfoliate their skin first to remove any excess dead skin cells. This sets up the skin for application of the product, which should be applied sparingly to areas of think skin like those on the knees, ankles and elbows which do not tan darkly naturally. If you’re looking for a natural look, make sure to remove any product from your hands and wait to dry before dressing so the product will not smear or rub off.

These products are quite different and much safer than sunless tanning pills. These pills can darken your skin temporarily but they can have some unpleasant side effects as well. If you take too much, your skin may be bright orange. More seriously, they can cause liver damage and hurt your eyes as well as causing some unpleasant hives.

Sunless tans are generally considered to be a safe alternative to traditional sunbathing provided you follow the directions when applying them to your skin. The greatest risk you will face when using sunless tanners is applying them to your face. In is in this area that the product can get into your eyes, nose and mouth and can be ingested or inhaled. The long-term effects of ingesting these products is not yet known so it is best to prevent it when possible. Overall, however, these products provide a much safer way to darken the skin than exposure to sunlight and can help prevent major medical problems.

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