(Reprinted from the January Network)
Spray tans. Jergens’ Instant Sun. Tanning beds. Laying out in the sun for hours at a time. All of these options are popular ways for girls to get that perfect sunkissed look, and while striving to be tan is definitely no new fad, these classic methods can bring along harmful side effects if not used carefully. Though a majority of Marian girls have never used a method of self tanning, it is necessary to know how to keep your skin in a healthy condition, whether you chose to tan or not.
Senior Ava Matthies isn’t new to the tanning game and is knowledgeable about the risks of tanning and the importance of wearing sunscreen, even in the winter. Her preferred method is using a tanning bed, while most Marian girls who self tan stick with spray tans or self-tanner.
“I only use them when I have a special event or going on vacations, so maybe like one month out of the year. Using a tanning bed looks a lot more natural and lasts way longer. I think a tanning bed has better results,” Matthies said.
To avoid the harmful effects that these beds can bring along, she wears eye protection and wears lotion and SPF during the process, and is also cautious not to use the bed an excessive amount.
Though tanning beds often get a bad reputation, other methods of tanning that may seem harmless, like laying out poolside, can bring their own consequences. When out in the sun, the lack of sunscreen has a strong correlation to eventually developing skin cancer. Even in the winter, it is encouraged to wear sunscreen out like Matthies does. Even though it may seem cloudy and dreary outside. Sunburns are still possible, and having more than five sunburns can double one’s risk of developing skin cancer, which is the most common cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Self tanning lotions and spray tans are methods that are more widely used by Marian girls frequently throughout the year. But while these are safe in small doses, using without exfoliating or in the face area can bring along side effects. Spray tans contain the chemical dihydroxyacetone, which can be harmful if inhaled or introduced into the bloodstream according to the Mayo Clinic. This chemical is also in self tanning lotions, so it’s important to keep it away from your mouth and nose. This prevents some Marian girls from getting a fake tan. “I’m fine being pale,” sophomore Ashley Doehner said. “I tan in the summer and make sure to wear sunscreen on my face in the morning.”
Natalie Cusick, a junior, has a spray tan machine and spray tans up to twice a week. She always puts on primers, and is aware that there may be negative consequences of getting spray tans so often. “It just puts me in a better mood and makes me feel more confident for sure,” Cusick said. She chooses to spray tan because it’s quick, cheap and safer than other methods of tanning.
While school dances may seem to encourage you to get a bit more tan in these cold winter months, remember to do so in small amounts with caution, and protect yourself even in the winter, or when you’re trying to catch rays. Try using SPF 30 on the daily, which is the recommended amount by the American Academy of Dermatology due to its ability to block out 97 percent of UVB rays, and find a brand that’s broad-spectrum, protective against both UVA and UB. UVB rays typically cause sunburns, while UVA rays are associated with prematurely aging your skin. Play it safe and lather up with sunscreen before you head outside to protect yourself, your skin will thank you later!