Archives for category: SPF

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  1. Cleanse your skin, especially at night. This removes makeup and environmental particles that cause premature aging.  Dirt particles caused from pollution are 20 times smaller than the diameter of the skin’s pores.
  2. Use a toner to remove excess residue that is left behind.
  3. Use a quality moisturizer to create a barrier between your skin and pollutants. Ones with lanolin, niacinamide or beeswax help from skin penetration.
  4. Wear long sleeved shirts while exposed to pollution for long periods of time.
  5. Avoid driving during rush hour, more cars equal more pollution exposure.
  6. Wear a filtered mask where pollution is extreme.
  7. Use antioxidant topical treatments, or ones high in Vitamins C and E. Regardless of the source of the free radicals, antioxidants will neutralize them.
  8. Eat antioxidant rich foods like blueberries, tomatoes and leafy greens. These combat free radical damage.
  9. Use scrubs and peels only occasionally. They can wear away the skin’s protective barrier and allow free radicals to penetrate the skin.
  10. A good quality mineral makeup will help shield your skin and act as a mask to help trap some dangerous particles from entering your skin.
  11. Use a sunscreen with at least a 25 SPF.
  12. Make sure the sunscreen is broad spectrum, coving both UVA and UVB rays.
  13. Use sunscreen every morning, even in the winter and even when it isn’t sunny.
  14. Wear a hat and sunglasses when out in the sun.
  15. Drink a lot of water! Keep skin cells hydrated and increases cell production.

It’s summertime and the sun is finally starting to show. Now comes the time to choose a sunscreen that will protect your skin from those harmful UV rays we hear about all the time. Before grabbing the sunscreen next to the breath mints at checkout however, take some time to learn which sun blocker is going to give you the most bang for your buck.

So, what is an “SPF” anyway?

Sun Protection Factor rates how long the sunscreen is going to remain effective on your skin after application. If you want to work out the math, multiply the SPF by how long it takes your skin to suffer from a burn after being exposed to the sun with no protection at all.

For example: If you normally burn after 10 minutes with no protection, an SPF 15 will provide you with approximately 150 minutes of protection. Now here’s the rub: the effectiveness of a sunscreen can be lessened depending on the activity.

So, what do you need?

A summer tan may be stylish but remember that every time you go into the sun without adequate protection you are increasing your odds of developing serious skin conditions down the line. Not to mention more immediate effects such as burned skin, dryness and irritation. Your skin is a sensitive system that relies on being properly protected in order to function optimally. If you don’t want to develop rough, wrinkled skin that looks like leather, pay attention to the SPF your choosing.

An SPF of at least 15 is recommended but research shows that kicking that up to an SPF 30 will provide significantly more protection during the day. Also, you can’t just apply once and forget it. Sunscreen should be applied at least every 2 hours (maybe more if you are swimming or sweating).

Types of Sunscreens Available

There are two types of sunscreens available: chemical and physical.

Chemical sunscreens will absorb the UV rays but carry the risk on increasing the likelihood of developing certain types of cancers.

Physical sunscreens contain active ingredients that will reflect the harmful rays away from the skin.

What Ingredients to Look For

Search for ingredients such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, red petrolatum, or talc. These are commonly used in physical sunscreens and work well to protect the skin without adverse side effects.

Great Choices This Summer:

Warmer weather means t-shirts, shorts and sandal season is just around the corner. As you start to dig through our summer wardrobe and make sure everything still fits, you may notice that your skin is not looking so hot. No, we don’t mean pale skin from being covered all winter (although we have a solution for that as well).

Winter skin is a common occurrence because during the colder months we tend to cover much of our bodies and therefore fall out of our good skin care habits. As the sun comes out though and the time has come to slip into a pair of shorts however you may notice that your legs are not looking so great. So what can you do to get back to fighting shape?

1) Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!
We can’t emphasize the importance of exfoliation enough when it comes to good skin care. Sure, you may shower every day but that is not enough. Even if you are using a loofah which promises to exfoliate your skin every time you shower…it’s not enough. Exfoliation means using a cleanser that has been specially designed to penetrate those dead skin cells and remove them without causing damage to healthy skin below.

Look for a good cleanser with micro beads to really help your skin to look fresh and ready for summer. A body cleanser will typically use a rougher texture than a facial exfoli-cleanser so shop carefully. Exfoliating cleanser help aid in healthy skin production by removing those built up layers of dead skin. Failing to exfoliate at least 2-3 times per week leads to dryness, flaking and eventually…wrinkles.

2) Moisturize Daily!
Skin thrives on being properly hydrated. If you have dry skin naturally it is even more important to moisturize in the morning and before going to bed. If you have oily skin and are prone to break outs, search for an oil-free moisturizer that will seal in good oils without adding anymore.

3) Cover Up!
Yeah, we know you want to get that fabulous summer tan but don’t lay out in the sun “baking” for hours on end. Not only is that exposing the skin to those harmful UV rays we have all heard about, but it is drying your skin out even more and causing irreparable cellular damage.
A good SPF 30 will protect the skin and keep it looking great all summer. Try a combo moisturizer and SPF to do double the good. If you are really looking for a healthy summer “glow”, try a sunless tanner.

4) Change the products to match the season!
Winter meant heavy moisturizers to combat dry and chapped skin. As summer rolls in it is time to swap out your products for lighter products. A light weight and non greasy moisturizer will feel more comfortable as the temperatures start to rise. Remember, in the summer you will sweat more and (if you’re outdoorsy) be more exposed to dirt, grime and other environmental elements. Your pores will retain much of this build up so don’t increase it more with thick moisturizers.
Bonus Tip – Wash your skin daily to avoid build up and summer acne!

5) Develop a routine and stick with it!
Daily skin care is like a daily workout. At first it may be difficult to get into the habit but eventually you will wonder how you ever went without it. We recommend pairing your daily skin routine with something that you do daily already. Taking the time to wash your face with a good exfoliator right after brushing your teeth (for example) would get it out of the way and eventually just become something you do automatically.
Don’t think of skin care as something that is nice to do but not really necessary. As we age the skin requires just as much maintenance as any other area of the body. Taking care of it now will prevent future problems and keep it looking smoother, younger and healthier as you get older.

6) Do your homework!
A fancy bottle or a name brand does not ensure high quality products. If you are battling a specific skin issue especially, take the time to research the product ingredients and the company. Over the counter moisturizers and cleansers seem like a good deal but not when they are more water than anything else! Investing in high quality products will be more effective and have longer lasting results.
Check with a local esthetician or dermatologist for questions about your specific skin care needs. Remember that a commitment to great skin means taking the time to choose the right products and use them as directed.

Look great this summer with younger, smoother looking skin. Remember these six steps and your skin is sure to look fabulous all year round!

Have you ever sat down to study your complexion in the mirror and been less than satisfied with what your looking at? Your complexion is natural color, texture and appearance of your skin. Skin can look radiant, smooth and healthy or it can appear sallow, discolored and sickly depending on your state of health and how well you take care of your body and especially your skin.

The history of how a “good complexion” has been measured dates back to as early as ancient Greece and some of the most affluent philosophers of that age. The complexion was thought to be the result of four fluids that permeated the body. Later this was transformed into theories about balance in the body and temperaments. Health of an individual was determined by complexion but since complexions can vary between different individuals there was no one best complexion to have.

Your individual complexion is the result of biology. Skin color is determined by melanin in the cells and causes variation in tone. The overall health and appearance of your skin is determined by a variety of factors including your heredity and external factors like exposure to sun, chemicals or even the food you eat. Your skin is sensitive to the environment (both inside your body and outside) and taking proper care of your skin is an important step in maintaining a healthy complexion.

Improving your complexion doesn’t have to be a stressful task. Incorporating a simple skin care regimen into your morning or nightly routine can take years of stress and premature aging off your face. Start slow and build a routine that is custom tailored to your skins needs.

Tricks of the Trade:

1) Moisturize Daily – nothing is better for your skin than staying hydrated. Moisturize in the morning after cleansing the skin and at night before going to bed.

2) Exfoliate – Removing the dead skin cells that build up naturally over time can make a big difference in your skins natural ability to look fresh and smooth. Use a gentle exfoliant on your face and body to prevent premature fine lines and wrinkles from developing.

3) Correct now – Don’t wait for problems to become too significant to treat at home. If you notice dry patches, oily regions or uneven coloring use some preventative treatments designed specifically for your skin issue. Leaving a problem to “heal itself” can be more costly and time consuming to fix in the long run.

4) Protect Yourself – use a sun block even in the winter to protect your skin from sun damage.

5) Eat Right! Your body needs nutrients to stay healthy and your skin will reflect a balanced and healthy diet filled with vitamins, protein and minerals. Some natural ingredients (such as Vitamin C) will improve the overall look of your skin and they are frequently used in many skin care products.

Mother Nature keeps some of her greatest secrets to better skin care tucked away in her plant, flower and herbal remedies. One of the greatest hidden treasures is Aloe for its wonderful and effective healing properties. Widely known for its use on burns and skin irritations, did you know that aloe is also a popular ingredient in anti-aging skin care products?

So how does aloe benefit the skin exactly? It begins by hydrating the skin cells which is perhaps the most important part of achieving healthier skin overall. By refreshing your cells and providing them with the moisture they so desperately need, you are allowing healthy new skin cells to develop. It is the accumulation of dead skin cells that leads to your skin appearing aged, dull and lackluster.

Many skin care products utilize aloe in combination with other herbal and natural remedies to maximize the benefits and tackle multiple skin treatments simultaneously. Since aloe can soften those persistent dead skin cells, it makes exfoliating them away that much simpler. By revealing the healthy new skin cells just beneath the surface of all that build up, your skin will begin to look smoother with a better, more even texture.

Aloe stimulates and increases blood flow to your skin cells. As a topical ointment it can be used directly on irritations, burns, rashes and sunburns to reduce inflammation and soothe pain and itching. This is achieved because aloe contains natural anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Note: The use of aloe for medicinal purposes should always be under the advice of a doctor – this article is should not be used for medical recommendations.

Finding products that utilize Aloe is not a difficult task. Aloe is used all over the world and the Cosmeceuticals industry is no exception to this. Try an aloe infused moisturizer to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Daily use will help rejuvenate the skin and allow healthier new skin cells to develop. A deep cleansing mask will help to alleviate clogged pores and clear skin blemishes. Use a sun block containing aloe to prevent damage from the sun before it occurs or a topical aloe moisturizer to reduce damage that has already occurred.

Find your Aloe treatment today and you to can benefit from all the secrets Mother Nature has to offer.

Walking through an average cosmetic or health care aisle can be a wild adventure as well as an educational experience. The shelves are lined with mysterious concoctions, all claiming to be the miracle cure for your skin. These special brews come complete with fancy containers, shiny labels and seven syllable words to boggle your mind. Venture closer to these magic elixirs and notice the fine print:

Normal skin
Dry Skin
Oily Skin
Sensitive Skin
Combination

You feel your fingers moving up to your cheek as you wonder; what skin type am I? What if I have sensitive skin and just don’t know it? Does one dry patch mean I need dry skin care? Will products meant for oily skin completely ruin my face?

The list of questions can go on and on with no end in sight until you realize that you can come to this mysterious world armed with knowledge and ready to go to battle. Choose wisely and you will benefit greatly from your decision. Choose poorly and you will need to return and choose again.

Normal Skin

First of all remove “normal” and insert “average”. People with other skin types are not “abnormal” and should not feel as such. Millions of people have each skin type listed and there are products specially targeted for each type.

A product labeled “normal skin” is intended for use on healthy, hydrated, even toned skin with small pores and no history of irritation from skin care products. The skin retains good elasticity, good complexion and there are no blemishes.

Most “normal skin” targeted products can be used on all skin types but may not produced treatment effects for certain skin issues.

Oily Skin

Perhaps one of the more dreaded skin types to have because of the negative connotations associated with it and potential self consciousness it can create. The result of overactive sebaceous (oil-producing) glands, this skin type can appear quite shiny, feel slightly greasy to the touch and is prone to acne and enlarged pores.

Products targeted for this skin type typically contain ingredients meant to cleanse the pores, exfoliate the skin and remove the excess oil and grime build up. These products would not be very beneficial for people with dry skin.

Dry Skin

Dry skin can be the result of genetics, the environment, exposure to chemicals and a variety of other causes. Dry skin is trademarked by tiny pores, flaky or ashy texture, fine lines and wrinkles and/or cracked skin.

Products for dry skin focus on re-hydrating the skin cells and stimulating healthy skin cells to develop. Many products will contain fat-soluble ingredients that penetrate the skin’s outer layer to reach the interior layers to replenish moisture from within. Exfoliants are used to shed away dead skin cells build up and reduce flaky texture.

Combination

As the name suggests, this skin type is a combination of the three above. Meaning it is possible (and frequent) to have normal skin with an oily “t-zone” which is the bridge of the nose and forehead. Perhaps dry lips with normal skin or dry forehead but the rest of your face is normal.

This skin type generally uses spot specific treatments to correct problem areas and “normal skin” care products for the rest of the face. This could include blemish control for oily areas if needed, masques for application on the t-zone, special creams for the eyes or lips, etc. Consult with an esthetician or dermatologist if you need more help creating an effective skin care routine.

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is very typically dry and very reactive to heat, cold and any substances used on it. That can include all skin products, hair products and chemicals. Irritation may include rash, hives, itching, redness and swelling.

These skin care products are specially designed to omit using chemicals known to irritate sensitive skin but cannot be guaranteed. People with especially reactive skin should always consult with a doctor before beginning any new skin care treatment. Discontinue use of products at the first sign of negative reaction and take precaution by always wearing sun block to protect the sensitive tissue.

Final Thoughts

Have you figured out where you’re at yet and what to buy? Don’t be ashamed if you don’t have “normal skin” because the truth of the matter is, most people don’t. Focus on what problem areas you would like to focus on and choose a skin care routine that will be easy to maintain long term. The most important issue in skin care is persistence and maintenance. You must follow your individual plan every day and stick with it for your entire life. That is not meant to sound like a prison sentence, merely a reminder that skin care is not something you can do occasionally and expect to see real results.

Winter is coming and that means falling snow, holidays, sled rides and…..dry skin. Every winter thousands of people dread the appearance or worsening of their dry skin symptoms and seek new ways to beat this powerful foe. This year, take control of your skin and don’t let itchy and flaky skin put a damper on your winter wonderland.

Dry or itchy skin is a common condition that can occur all year round but peaks during the colder months when there is a drop in the humidity. Normally healthy and hydrated skin becomes dry, cracked and flaky. Mature skin may show increased fine lines and wrinkles due to the lack of moisture. For the most part, dry skin effects the arms, hands, legs and feet but can also occur on the trunk of the body or even the face (chapped lips anyone?).

The most common complaint when suffering from “winter skin” is a persistent itchiness that can be made worse when in contact with fabrics or liquids. Over time excessive cracking can and will lead to thick and rough patches of skin (called lichenification). This thicker skin not only develops lines and wrinkles but is prone to developing painful cracks (fissures) that may result in bleeding and irritated skin. Severe skin conditions can result from bacterial infections that can develop because of these and other conditions such as nummular eczema (red, scaly patches of skin) or dermatitis (inflamed skin).

The potential outcomes of winter skin are enough to take notice and take action before things get out of hand. Always remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and that is especially true in health care. Developing a proper skin care routine and faithfully maintaining a schedule will reduce your chances of developing winter skin this season.

Why does winter skin develop in the first place? The cells in the outermost layer of your skin are designed to protect the body and hold in the water to hydrate the interior layers. Loss of this water prevents the outer layer from doing its job and soon the moisture your skin so desperately needs to stay healthy slips away and you are left with dry and unhealthy skin. This can occur from over washing the hands (a frequent problem in the nursing field), exposure to harsh chemicals, changes in humidity and the natural aging process are all frequent culprits. Although some people naturally have “dry skin” and suffer this problem all the time.

Treatment options are available and can be quite effective in preventing or relieving the symptoms of winter skin. Water is not the solution and can frequently worsen the problem, not solve it so step away from the sink! A good moisturizer however is a great way to penetrate the skin and trap moisture in so the skin becomes smooth and supple. Choose a moisturizer specifically designed to target dry skin and use it regularly. If you have more severe symptoms, consult with a doctor and discuss potential treatment options – dry skin can sometimes require pharmaceutical grade products that are not available over the counter. Not all over the counter products to treat itchiness are safe to use on irritated skin so consult with a doctor or pharmacist before use.

Increase the humidity in your home or office if possible. There is no way to change the environment outside but by making strides to limit your exposure to the dry air, the better your skin will feel. Humidifiers are readily available in most local stores and online.

Remember to use sun block, even in the winter. Some sun blocks include a moisturizer along with SPF protection so you would receive double benefits! If you are outside, cover up your skin and limit sun exposure when possible. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean your skin is not suffering from UV radiation.

Cover up your hands when you go outside and remove wet articles of clothing as soon as possible. The skin on your hands is some of the thinnest skin on your body and cannot bear being constantly exposed during the winter months! Stay warm and protect your skin!

Avoid skin treatments that will exfoliate or strip the skin of essential oils if possible. Remember it is the loss of moisture and natural oils that dried your skin out to begin with, don’t cause further aggravation with harsh chemicals! This can include masques, exfoliants and peels.

Protect your lips when going outside. Use a lip balm to keep the moisture in and banish those unsightly cracks – you will thank yourself. Remember that irritated skin reacts poorly when exposed to different materials and spicy food on sensitive lips can cause more than just a little discomfort.

Learning to control your winter skin is a battle well worth fighting. Just think of all the discomfort you have endured in the past seasons and make a commitment for this year to be different (a great New Year’s resolution!). If you are prone to dry skin, try keeping your regimen going all year round to see maximum benefits. Some treatments may require a few days to work to their full extent so be patient with your skin and allow it the time it needs to heal.

The development of uneven skin tones during middle age leads many consumers to seek out skin lighteners or brighteners as a solution. Commonly seen as a sign of aging, the formation of brown age spots has been associated with poor health in addition to being considered unsightly. Clear and even skin tones are seen as the epitome of youth and health so trying to recapture that look is considered to be a reasonable approach to this problem.

Uneven skin coloration is not a problem that is strictly associated with old age however and many people combat hyperpigmentation throughout their entire lives. By learning more about your skin and proper skin care treatments, you can make informed decisions as a consumer. Beginning with the most basic information: your skin color is determined by the amount of melanin present in your skin. There are two main determinants of your skin coloring and they are constitutive and facultative.

Constitutive skin color is determined by genetics and heredity. Facultative skin color is the result of sunlight, the environment and hormones – factors beyond genetics that impact the appearance of our skin color and can change over time. By developing a clear understanding of why your skin’s appearance is changing, you can develop a plan to reverse the damage and prevent further occurrences.

Hyperpigmentation is a factor of facultative skin color issues – this could be exposure to UV radiation, prescription drug use, pregnancy, etc. Outside influences that alter our skin’s appearance and cause discolored “spots” to form. Age or liver spots (lentigines) are flat discolorations on the skin and they are usually harmless. These are different from freckles (ephilides) which are typically flat and appear as a result of sun exposure – these will typically fade during the winter (although this is not always the case for extremely pale skinned people).

Treatment options for hyperpigmentation have sparked a variety of debates or the past few decades. The most effective treatments are skin lighteners containing the active ingredient hydroquinone (in concentrations up to 2%). There are concerns however about possible safety risks because as much as one third of the population may be allergic to hydroquinone. There is also studies that suggest it is an extreme sensitizer and cause more skin conditions (including hyperpigmentation) to develop after use. Although the FDA has considered banning the use of hydroquinone because of these possible complications, they have not done so yet and it is available in many over the counter products.

Because of these issues there are some steps you can take when using a product containing hydroquinone including always wearing sun block when going outside. Your skin will be especially sensitive to environmental influences and proper precautions should always be taken. Follow all instructions with any product and contact your physician immediately if you notice any type of adverse reaction.

Alternative skin lighteners are available that do not contain hydroquinone. This is a great choice for mature or sensitive skin because there is a lower risk of negative reactions to treatment. These skin lighteners may take longer to show results but can have longer term results than their more potent counter parts containing hydroquinone. Just a thought for those who may be seeking long term solutions and don’t mind waiting a little longer.

Many people consider hyperpigmentation to be an unattractive development on their skin and will take many extreme measures to reverse this problem. Keep in mind that most skin discolorations are generally harmless and treatments should be used as directed and not overused. Research any skin lightener or brightener carefully before use and test it on a small area of your skin before applying to a larger area such as your face. Remember that skin irritations are a common side effect when using any new skin care product and it is better to err on the side of caution by testing new products first.

Final thought: although there are many skin lighteners available on the market today the best option is prevention, not intervention. Try to always use sun block when going outside and cover your skin appropriately. It is much simpler (and more cost effective) to stop the problem before it starts. If you have lighter skin naturally, freckles and spots may continue to be a problem even after treatment because of the skins natural reaction against the environment to protect itself. Keep your skin healthy and happy by taking care of it and if possible, don’t sweat the small spots.

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Celebrities are notorious for being accused of using cosmetic surgery to maintain their good looks into maturity. A little “nip & tuck” procedure to reduce lines, redefine the chin or lift the brow can knock several years off your appearance. For decades, plastic surgery has been the solution to many middle aged (and sometimes younger) women and men’s solution to the battle against aging.
But before you go under the knife, consider the alternatives and evaluate your options carefully. Unnecessary surgery is not only time consuming and expensive, it also places your body under extreme stress and physical discomfort during the healing process. Added to that…without a change in how you care for your skin and body, you will still suffer the effects of aging down the line. More surgery means more scarring and more time spent trying to recover. The face and body is meant to age and it is a natural process. By using surgery to turn back the hands of time the face you see staring back at you in the mirror will not be your younger self, merely a shadow of who you used to be.

Learning about alternatives to surgery and testing a few non invasive procedures out is a great way to see significant results without the excessive costs and risks. Understanding what is happening to your face and body, why your appearance is changing, is a valuable tool in learning new ways to combat these problems without needing to resort to surgical intervention.

What causes fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin?

There is a myriad of reasons why our skin begins to lose that tight and toned look. A major reason is the slowed production of collagen and loss of elasticity that allowed your skin to stay firm in your younger years. This will lead to sagging, hallowed cheeks and loose skin around the eyes, neck and ears.
Wrinkles are another common complaint that can be the result of natural aging as well. We all know that skin sheds and new skin cells are being formed constantly and migrate to the surface but what you may not know is that as we age this process slows also and sometimes the dead skin cells don’t shed away as easily. As skin cells accumulate on the surface this causes lines and wrinkles to form (dry and unhealthy appearing skin are also results).

So what can you do?

Lack of proper skin care can be the source of many early signs of aging. Developing a healthy skin care routine and targeting any problem areas before they become severe can dramatically slow the signs of aging. This includes cleansing the skin, using a daily moisturizer that is designed for maturing skin (boost collagen production, stimulates skin, etc.) and protecting yourself from excessive sun exposure.
It sounds too simple and easy to be effective, right? The truth of the matter is that by treating your skin right and keeping a daily routine, your skin can stay smooth well into older age. It’s all about taking control of the process of aging and not allowing problems to build up with no preventative action.

But I Really Want Something Dramatic, Not More Creams!

Maintaining a regular routine will be important no matter which route you decide on but if you are looking for something more dramatic that doesn’t involve surgery, there are options! Have you considered a facelift massage series? Not quite a facial, not just a massage but an innovative combination that stimulates the skin and more importantly the muscles beneath the skin.

A facelift massage typically requires a series of 6 (ideally 12) treatments that is designed to stimulate the collagen production and renew the former elasticity of the skin, while smoothing the fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes, mouth and neck. It is a relaxing treatment that takes typically an hour to complete.
The Bellanina Facelift Massage is a wonderful example of this revolutionary technique. Inspired by treatments used during the stars in Hollywood’s glamour days, the Bellanina Facelift Massage will rejuvenate the skin while soothing the mind and senses. Bellanina practitioners are available around the United States and can work with clients to target individual concerns and needs.

Where can I learn more?

Check out alternative options to surgery online and do your research carefully. Fully understand the benefits and potential risks before making your decision. Try an alternative treatment before resorting to consulting a plastic surgeon- you may be surprised how a change in behavior can result in significant changes to your appearance and outlook on skin care.

The “Sunless” Tan

Its summer time and that means shorts, tank tops and flip slop sandals but anyone who lives in colder climates knows that winter weather and gray skies leads to pale and pasty appearing legs and arms. Although it is tempting to run outside and lie in the sun for a few hours to correct this, we have all heard about the dangers of SUV rays and the potential for skin cancer down the road. This leads to the catch-22: wanting a tan but not wanting to risk getting a tan.

Backing up a moment, let’s take a look at what a tan is exactly and how it affects the skin in the short and long term. The skin itself has two main layers called the epidermis and the dermis – tanning (sunless or traditional) involves the epidermis. Tanning is actually the skin’s natural defense system against overexposure to UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Your skin is actually trying to protect your body from the potential damage when you begin to sport that bronze glow.

Frequent exposure to the sun, tanning beds or sun lamps have some definite down sides that have been extensively researched. The link between skin cancer and tanning alone should be enough to dissuade this activity but since the effects are not seen right away it is easy for some people to dismiss the real danger they are exposing themselves to on a daily basis. This is not to say that exposure to the sun is bad, on the contrary it is actually very important to maintaining a healthy body, but how much is the question.

A more immediate (and visible) effect of the damage the sun can cause is the sun burn. Redness, itching and sensitivity are all problems that come from overexposure with no protection. If that is the short term damage that can happen in one day, can you imagine what frequent tanning is doing to your skin’s health over several years even without burning?

Other potential damage to your skin includes dryness, premature wrinkling, decreased defenses against free radicals….the list goes on and on. So the only real question is….is it really worth it?

Options!

So now what? You understand tanning is not good for you but you still want to have a nice tan anyway. Don’t think you will be the exception to the damaging effects, instead think smarter and find alternatives! The sunless self tanner has become a revolution in the consumer market because it provides all the benefits of a tan without the damaging repercussions.

Sunless self tanners have a bad reputation for producing unnatural or uneven tones in the skin. This is entirely possible if you do not take the time and care to read all instructions and apply your sunless tanner correctly. Here are a few simple steps to help ensure a wonderful and even sunless tan this season and all year round:

1) Prepare your skin!
Shave, cleanse and exfoliate! You want your tanner to go into fresh and healthy skin – not clinging to dead skins.

2) Do Not Use Other Products!
Don’t risk weird product interactions by moisturizing before or after applying your tanner – remember that the goal is a smooth and even texture, not a blotchy pattern.

3) Use Gloves!
Tanner is meant to penetrate the skin and the more applied to one area, the darker that area will be. Using gloves will prevent your hands from looking like you just played in the sand and forgot to wash up/

4) Make a System!
Even color is essential to avoid the “fake” look most tanners are criticized for. Begin with one leg and go from top to bottom in sections. Follow the same plan for legs, chest, stomach, back, etc. Do not apply to random areas and risk forgetting where you have already completed.

5) Ask a Friend!
Okay, maybe you don’t want anyone to know your faking it but big blotchy patches on your back will be a dead give away anyway. Ask a buddy to help you with any areas of the body you cannot reach or see easily to prevent missing an area.

6) Time is Important
Applying a tanner can be time consuming and rushing through the process will lead to mistakes and terrible results. Give yourself time to apply the tanner thoroughly AND time to allow it to dry.

Give your skin that fresh summer glow without the damage! Try a sunless self tanner this year and have all the benefits without the worry.