The tanned look has been popular among young people at the same time as the increasing incidences of skin cancer. Most experts think that this is no coincidence and that the tanning trend probably contributed to the rise in skin cancer in the last twenty years, especially in women as shown in a study by the National Cancer Institute.
The only safe way to tan is by sunless tanning lotions or sprays containing DHA. Only DHA-containing lotions and sprays are approved by the FDA. These products are considered safe as long as they don’t enter your eyes, nose, ears, mouth, other cavities, and does not come in contact with your lips or any similar surfaces with mucosal membrane.
Beware also of tanning pills as they may be unsafe and are not approved by the FDA.
Unfortunately, some people are willing to die for the tanned look, literally, as they ignore the warnings and continue to use tanning beds. Since looks are more important to some of you than your health, let’s talk about what tanning booths (as well as outdoor tanning) can do to your looks. You’re simply speeding up the aging and wrinkling of your skin. Although you are getting the nice tanned look in the short-term, you will eventually look 10, 20, or even 30 years older than your actual age. (UV rays speed up the wrinkling process by increasing cell proliferation and disturbing connective tissues accelerating the lost of elasticity.)
Here’s the bottom line. If you want to tan, sunless tanning sprays or lotions are the only (safe) way to go. Know also that such products do not protect your skin against the sun. Therefore, you should also use sunscreen (SPF-15 or higher) when you go outside.
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Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor when considering any health information here.
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Shu Chan 陳樹中 Terence Chan LIU