No one is trying to say that you should have stayed inside all summer just to avoid getting skin damage from the sun, but we are saying that we want you to learn how to tan safely so that you can maintain healthy skin and have people asking if you recently went on a tropical vacation in the dead of winter. There are ways to get a tan without obtaining skin damage, and we want you to know all of the secret weapons to help you achieve that summer glow all year long. Here are five tips, other than the obvious suggestion to avoid tanning beds at all costs, to help you along the way.
There are seemingly endless reasons to exfoliate regularly, but if you want to achieve a summer glow it may be a good idea to exfoliate before you head to the beach or pool. Not only can exfoliation help remove dirt and oil stuck in your skin, it can also remove dead skin cells to help give your complexion a more consistent glow after sun exposure. It can also help give you a more even skin tone, preventing hyperpigmentation in some areas and not in another. We recommend exfoliating once per week with chemical exfoliants such as lactic acid on your face, and a gentle scrubbing brush on the rest of your body. This will assure that your skin can properly regenerate without being damaged.
Always Wear Sunscreen
We know, we say this a lot, but we cannot stress enough how important it is to wear sunscreen every single day, even if you plan on staying out of the sun for the most part. Sunscreen can, obviously, protect your skin from incurring sun damage through UVA/B rays. What many forget or do not know, though, is that the regular use of sunscreen can help diminish redness and inflammation on your skin. This is because redness and inflammation are only made worse after sun exposure.
A good sunscreen will not prevent you from getting a tan—it will prevent you from getting a burn. We recommend either chemical or mineral sunscreens that are up to 50 SPF (anything past that is essentially not going to do anything more). For the beach, it may be a good idea to go for a chemical-free sunscreen to protect the ocean. Chemicals present in chemical sunscreens may be harmless on your skin, but they do pose a threat to marine life and reef health. So much so that the state of Hawaii recently banned chemical sunscreens!
Beta-Carotene: The Secret Helper
There are a ton of products on the market that promise to help your skin get a summer glow faster. The truth, however, is that nothing can help the melanin production in your skin work any—uh, faster? Avoid topical products that promise to help your skin tan better—because odds are high that they contain no beneficial ingredients and could actually harm your skin in the long run. Beta-carotene, on the other hand, can give your skin the nutrition it needs to naturally fight UV rays and help you tan easier. This is not to say a beta-carotene supplement can be a substitute for sunscreen, but it may help you get a summer glow.
When all else fails (or in the dead of winter) turn toward fake tanning alternatives to maintain your healthy glow without any of the damage that comes with sun exposure. Products like Tan Towel from Apothecarie can help you achieve a warm summer glow in no time. Apply self-tanning products as often as needed, making sure you apply the product with consistent coverage throughout your body to avoid streaks or patches. For bigger commitments, a visit to your local spray tanning salon can do wonders.
Understand Your Body
If you do choose to get a tan the old fashioned way, understand that your body can only take so much sun before it gets over-exposed. This means that you do not have to sit in the sun all day to get a tan, and your body needs less time in the sun to go further. Most dermatologists will suggest to find some shade after about three hours in the sun. For those with fair skin, it will take much less time to get a tan before you subject your skin to overexposure.