sun tanning bed

"do not use tanning beds and do not sunbathe for that tan."

Let’s start as friends. You are beautiful, there’s nothing you need to change or alter or dare I say, tan, to make you better. 

But our friendship can’t keep you from doing you. So, take my advice, as a dedicated skincare professional and as your friend – do not use tanning beds and do not sunbathe for that tan.

Skin cancer prevention doesn’t just come in the form of SPF. 

While it should obviously be the primary staple in your skincare and sun care regime, avoidance plays a big role. Avoid the sun and please avoid the tanning beds. 

Need an alternative to tanning outside or in a destructive bed of UV rays? I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of spray tan.

A spray tan can get you that tropical-tan look, conceal blemishes, highlight and contour – all in five minutes and without the harmful UV exposure. Here are some tips to prolong your glow and keep you safe:

Keep using sunscreen. Spray tans don’t give you a base to tan more and spend more time in the sun. You still need to wear SPF 45 at a minimum and avoid the sun and its harmful rays at its peak hours from 10 am to 3 pm.

Avoid topical acne medications and harsh face washes during your tan. Retinoid and benzoyl peroxide products lighten skin, so they will lighten areas of your tan with continued use.

Not all tans are created equal - pick a spray tan without alcohol as the main ingredient. Alcohol is drying, if you already have dry skin it might make it worse or ruin your tan.

Pick a well-ventilated salon and an organic tan formula. You didn’t take the safe route – avoiding the sun and harmful UV rays – to ingest strong chemicals. 

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) can aggravate asthma or other respiratory problems. The FDA recommends you limit your ingestion of DHA since the risks are unknown. 

So, cover your eyes, close your lips and put cotton balls in your nose to get the safest tan.

So get that glow – just make sure to play it safe! 

Sarah Neumann, MMS-PA-C, has been a practicing dermatology physician assistant  for over 15 years and is the founder of Ahwatukee Skin and Laser and Sun City Dermatology. Information:

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