A golden body tan creates an impression of good health and attractiveness, right? Certainly, the media portrays images of models with bronzed bodies, and that encourages a desire to be the same. An article in Psychology Today, Will a Tan Make You More Attractive?, quotes various studies that show that men and women believe they are more attractive with a tan, and appear more healthy.
Yet, most people know that there are serious risks associated with exposing your skin to the sun, to achieve a tan. Sunburn is obviously unpleasant, both in appearance and sensation, but the longer-term effects of sun exposure – premature ageing and skin cell damage – is the real concern.
So, knowing the risks of old-fashioned tanning in the sun, many people turn to ‘safer’ methods, like tanning beds, or spray tan. BUT it turns out, tanning beds are no safer than the sun. The lamps in tanning beds work the same way as the sun’s rays, pushing out UV light which stimulates melanin production, but the effect is even stronger. Twenty minutes on a sun bed is the equivalent to several hours in the hottest part of the day, with no sunscreen. The risk of melanoma (skin cancer) is increased by at least six times, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
That’s quite scary stuff! Add the fact that sun beds contribute to wrinkles, age spots and loss of skin firmness, as well as making stretch marks more obvious, and it should be a no-brainer: DON’T use a sun bed.
The safest way of achieving the desirable glow is spray tan or using a self-tanning lotion. The active ingredient in spray tans and self-tanning lotions is dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a glycerine derivative. When applied to the skin, it reacts and binds with the amino acids in the dead skin cells on the outermost layer of the skin. This is known as the “Maillard reaction”, where pigments called melanoidin are produced. Once applied to the skin, the tan takes a couple of hours to develop, and may continue to deepen for 24-72 hours.
Since the body constantly sheds dead skin cells, the spray tans typically last for one to two weeks. Bear in mind, even with a spray tan, you still need to wear sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, to prevent damage from the sun. At Professional Skin Care Lab, we recommend Lamelle’s Helase 50 and Lamelle’s Luminesce Brightening Defence SPF 30.
The spray tan we offer at the Lab is water based, alcohol- and aloe vera-free, as well as odour- and fragrance-free. It dries quickly, with no sticky feeling and is suitable for all skin types, and it can be used on the face. Spraytan comes in five strengths, giving you options on the depth of your tan, to suit your skin tone.