Tanning, colloquially refers to the darkening of the skin in reaction to time spent in sunlight. For some tans are alluring, for others it represents excessive exposure to the sun leading to skin ageing.
Tanning begins at the moment when you step out into the sun. As UV rays penetrate the skin, it starts breaking down DNA in the body. To protect our body and prevent further damage, the pigment melanin is produced. Wikipedia defines “Melanin is an effective absorber of light; the pigment is able to dissipate over 99.9% of absorbed UV radiation. Because of this property, melanin is thought to protect skin cells from UVB radiation damage, reducing the risk of cancer.”
The more melanin in your body, the darker tone of skin.
Many of you might want to see fast tanning results under the sun. Unfortunately, our body cannot produce enough melanin in a couple of hours to tan completely. However, regular exposure for short durations can produce enough melanin in as little as five to seven days to create a beautiful glowing tan. A suntan needs to be built up gradually, so it is better to tan little bit at a time whilst using protection like using sunscreen.
Best time for tanning
If you sunbathe between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm you can get a decent tan but I recommend sunbathe before and after that. Be aware of the possible dangers of excessive sunlight exposure – the UVA and UVB rays are strongest time between 10 am and 2 pm – RSA has in fact the highest number of melanoma cases in the world!
Ways to tan naturally
Here are some of the perfect natural tanning solutions, this being said, one needs to be aware of sun-damage to the skin cells:
- Choose Your UV Source: Sun for ultraviolet tanning, tanning-beds have come under great criticism for the health risks that they pose.
- Hydrate Your Skin: A well-hydrated skin has always shown better tanning results than dry and dusty skin.
- Wear Sunscreen When Tanning: When you choose to go for tanning, make sure to apply sunscreen evenly.
- Apply One of Natural Oils onto Your Skin: Apply natural oil onto the surface of the skin that will attract the sun, giving you a healthy tan. It will act as a natural tan-enhancers that you can wash it off with soap and water when completed tanning. Few natural products you can apply are Olive oil, Coconut oil, Hazelnut oil, Green Tea Extract, Avocado oil, Sunflower oil, Sesame oil and Wheat-germ oil.
- Time Yourself: You need to make sure that you spend 15 minutes on every side of the body to ensure an even tan. Timing yourself also acts as a preventative measure against excessive sun-exposure.
Alternatives to direct Sunlight
- Use a self-tanner– Self-tanning lotions, creams, and sprays can help you get the desired color of your skin, giving the illusion of a tan. These tanners consist of a chemical called dihydroxyacetone that dyes the dead skin cells on your body. Therefore, it is only temporary, lasting only until your body sheds the dead skin. To get an even tan, use an exfoliant to rub off dead skin cells prior to applying your sunless tanner.
- Avoid tanning pills– Try avoiding tanning pills as it contains a chemical dye that, with time, can change your skin orange and damage your liver.
- Maintain your tan– You can increase the longevity of your tan by applying a hydrating lotion regularly that will help reduce the rate at which dead skin cells are shed.
- Look for alternatives to a spray tan– There are spray-tans available that are not FDA approved which may harm your body if ingested through the nose and mouth. Conduct thorough research for your own safety.
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