Beauty by Lauren Gilbart
But when that sun does disappear, most of us are left with thought of sunshine and tanned skin dancing around in our heads. And unless you live right by the beach or have continuously great weather, chances are you probably don’t get as tanned as you would like to over the course of the summer. And when that happens, most likely your first thought in June is to tan to start the summer off right.
So where did this whole obsession with tanning come from? Society’s tanning obsession is due to a variety of things. Initially, tanned skin was merely associated with those who were fortunate enough to travel to warmer climates; however, today tanned skin is almost seen as a status identity, thanks to the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Leighton Meester and other A-list celebrities walking the red carpet in sun-kissed style.
But if you don’t have the opportunity to be under the sun for all hours of the day, how can you still that sought-after glow? Well, many young people head to the tanning salons to attain their perfect look. And while tanning beds may look harmless from the outside, are they really?
According to Dr. Lisa Kellett, a dermatologist at DLK on Avenue in Toronto, there are more cons than pros to tanning beds.
“Two risks of tanning are photo-aging of the skin and skin cancer,” Kellett explains. “Any perceived pro would be highly outweighed by the risk of disfiguring and potentially life threatening skin cancer.” Kellett is a firm believer that tanning beds are not the answer. “[They] are dangerous and unnecessary. In some cases, they are more dangerous than the sun.”
So if tanning beds are so dangerous, how can ladies get that gorgeous glow that is forever in season?
There are lots of options, says Kellett. “If you want the look of a tan without skin damage then there are many are many self tanners available in cream, lotion or spray formulations. The formulation depends in personal preference.”
Personally, I recommend Jergens Natural Glow self-tanning lotion. It gradually darkens your skin, making it appear more realistic and leaves no streaks. While the smell of the lotion can be overpowering, I just dealt with it because it truly gave me the right amount of colour for my skin. Better yet, it wasn’t expensive!
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you should still keep your appointment for that tanning bed salon or whether or not you should really spend the whole day lying under the sun today, perhapsKellett’s last few words of wisdom will be able to help you out: “Many people think that the best way to protect your skin is to get a base tan. This is not true; any tan is your skin’s response to injury. The best protection is to avoid the peak hours of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and seek out the shade whenever possible. You should apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher year-round, and don’t forget the areas like the back of the neck, the arms and calves. Tanning beds should be avoided at all costs. Repeated sunburns and sun exposure have been linked to skin cancer later in life, so the best thing to do is to avoid cancer is prevention.”