Oh sun, grant me the skin of a golden goddess!

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Having a tan seems to be one of the vital things in many teenage girls’ (and surprisingly, guys’) lives, especially in the summer. Let’s face it, a tan does help to make you look more taut and healthy, and less albino. The countless times people will put their arms together to compare their tan with one of them saying “see, I’m browner,” impels many to make that change and bronze themselves, in order to have the ultimate tanned look.

When going to extreme lengths to get a tan, you tend to conveniently forget the harmful effects of the sun. The increasing percentage of people that are turning to tanning beds when the weather in England unsurprisingly does not grant us with sunlight is beginning to expose the negative effects of this new phenomenon.

It was found in May this year that six per-cent of these ‘tanning addicts’ are British teenagers aged only 11-15. Although many might find them easy, cheap and convenient, the benefits are limited. Many believe that a nice golden bronze tan is appealing to the opposite sex and therefore will go to extreme lengths to do this. However, tanning beds can not only cause instant sunburn and discomfort but also dry, flaky and itchy skin; not attractive! There are many long-term effects of the excessive use of tanning beds, including leathery skin as you age and other diseases such as eczema and cancer.

There are however many other ways we can tan, without the sun. The first is to do it ourselves – if we do have a tan and we are trying to prolong our golden glow, the best way to do this is to moisturize, most effectively with aloe vera and exfoliator. However, those who are not lucky enough to have gained a glow already, could use effective sunless tanning moisturisers which contain self-tan. Using this every day will gradually build up that ultimate tanned look. Obviously a more dramatic self-tan would be the spray tan. For the most effective results you should shower and exfoliate before application, and focus the spray evenly over your body – especially elbows and knees – to avoid that patchy looking golden tint. For a fool-proof bronze, maybe it’s best to go to the salon.

Obviously, if the weather is in our favour and the sun is shining, tanning can be done outside without the use of lotions and sunbeds. Using a factor five and applying it only once a day is not the wisest choice unless you want to end your sunbed session looking bright red and waiting for the peeling to begin. Regular applications of a SPF 30 is bound to grant you with that summer glow, and miss out on the less favoured lobster look!

Therefore my final message is: yes, most of us want to look as though we’ve just stepped off a 3 week Caribbean cruise, but play safe in the sun to avoid long-term harmful consequences and opt for a self tanner instead.

 

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