When I lived in South Florida I mentioned something about hitting tanning bed and my local friends turned to shame me with their wide-eyed, aghast expressions. “You still go to the tanning bed? Do you know how bad that is for you?” I had been going since middle school (hello, this is the standard for preparing for a southern prom) and it was always a great way to get my harsh-shade-of-white-complexion ready for summer. I had an addiction to an easy transition into beach season. When you live in Miami, beach season runs year-round and it did seem silly to be tanning when I could be laying by the pool year-round. So my tanning bed visits ended and my time outdoors increased as my activity level increased. I was always outside walking, biking and running. Very soon I noticed ugly sun spots appeared, skin discoloration formed, and my 15-block transitioned to 50-block.
Having a slightly darker complexion does have perks such as the seeming illusion of a brightened demeanor, ability to hide imperfections and magician’s trick for slimming a person’s physique. Here are my tips for leaning into spring without jumping in the tanning bed.
Self-tanning lotion is probably the most common way to avoid direct sunlight and upgrade your color, but there are new brands out there that are worth exploring. Jergens is probably the most common and accessible, but there’s still time to purchase two or three brands and try them out this spring to see which one works for you. A lot of companies are also making an easy-to-apply foam.
Tanning wipes are great for brightening up your face, covering an entire area, or even filling in what lotion didn’t cover. It’s a relatively inexpensive and quick way to get the cancer-free glow you’re looking for.
Lower SPF can still get you in the game at a slower pace than a quick burn. I once went to a free dermatologist screening and the doctor actually recommended that I use this SPF on my face year-round. It doesn’t have that sticky sunscreen feel and is great under make-up. I STILL get a tan with 50-block on my face and skin. If you’re looking for a little vitamin D, just sit out in the sun for 15 minutes or less and practice a delayed sunscreen application.
Spray tanning has come a long way since the Friend’s show tanning debacle episode where Ross just can’t get on point with the seemingly difficult instructions from the employee working the machine. One tanning session can last up to two weeks and most tanning bed facilities also offer spray tanning packages.
One Christmas my sister received a spray tan gun. She has had spray-tan-parties and she has even sprayed a group of prom-goers. We used to visit a stay-at-home mom who had her own gun and charged people stand in her pop-up tent pitched in her home office while she sprayed away.
Embrace Your Lighter Side
I have a few friends with light eyes and dark hair with naturally pale skin. It gives me inspiration for being different in an age of tanning beauties, leaving my skin tone a bit lighter. Plus, lightening your hair doesn’t cause cancer and it still provides a similar glow. Be ever so kind to your skin.