By Christine Dion of Mode Dion.
It’s summer and with the golden sun usually comes a golden glow to your skin. Whether your sunny radiance comes from a tanning bed or directly from the sun remember that any suntan is a response to damaging your skin. The sun isn’t what it used to be.
While it’s true that the sun heals the skin and provides us with Vitamin D, both of which are beneficial, we can get our daily requirements with just about 15 minutes or less of exposure a day.
Tanning beds with a concentration of light are the most dangerous of all. Studies have shown that many tanning beds are improperly sanitized between clients making them not only dangerous but also contagious, exposing you to a variety of viruses!
Sun exposure will increase your chances of skin cancer, winkles, brown spots and sagging. As the skin loses elasticity, any cellulite (lumpy, uneven skin tones) becomes more noticeable. Skin will begin to thicken and appear leathery, which is never a beauty asset.
Acne will seem to improve as skin dries in the sun and then shortly after even more break outs appear due to increased production of dead skin cells, oil and perspiration.
Using a product with SPF will help solve the problem, but how do you know which SPF to use for best results? Here are a few helpful tips.
How to identify your SPF
SPF means “sun protection factor.” A SPF of 15 means that you can spend 15 times longer in the sun than you could without any protection. (20 means twenty times longer, and so on…) To figure out the SPF you need, first find out how long you plan on being in the sun. Then figure out how long it takes before you begin to burn (get pink). Divide your burn time into your exposure time, and this is supposed to equal your SPF needed – but note that swimming, perspiring, drying off with a towel and applying unevenly can decrease the effectiveness of your sunscreen.
Also, remember that the time of day is important in the calculation as the sun is strongest during the middle of the day. Water (lakes, pools and the oceans) and sand reflect the sun’s rays, so even if you are under the shade you can still get sunburnt.
Most tanning oils provide zero protection, and may actually encourage burning. Most dermatologists recommend a SPF 30 or above, especially on the face and chest.
Remember, you can get sun damage through the car window and even from the window of a plane, so always wear sun protection especially on your face and hands.
Sun protection tips
– Always use a sunscreen. Use it on your face, neck and the top of hands. Oil free sunscreens are available for those of you with oily skin types. Apply about 10 to 15 minutes before going out (follow the directions). Don’t forget to re-apply sunscreen as often as indicated in the directions (especially after swimming or sweating).
– Some antibiotics, medications and fragrances (especially citrus scents) can make you more sun sensitive.
– Keep your sunscreen bottle in the shade. The bottle can absorb the sunlight, which breaks down the sunscreen, making it ineffective.
– Wear a hat and good sunglasses (eyes can be damaged too) when outside. Make sure your sun products, including sunglasses, carry both U.V.A. and U.V.B. protection.
– Don’t forget your lips when out in the sun. Lips protrude and catch all the rays, especially if you’re wearing lip gloss. Lip gloss or shiny lipstick can be just like wearing oil on your skin, creating certain sunburn. Always wear a lipstick or balm with sunscreen in it, if you plan a day out in the sun.
– Bring a cover-up or a t-shirt. When you feel you have had enough, cover up exposed areas. Watch for arms and the back of the neck!
– Shave or wax your legs and bikini area at least a day before you’re heading out to the beach or pool. Sun exposure, salt water and chlorine can irritate your skin. Those nasty red bumps will appear, and that’s not pretty! Don’t forget – that goes for under arms too. Treat red bumps with a bikini models secret called Tend Skin found at most drug stores.
A safe tan is no tan – professionals use a self-tanner
Every performer knows that you don’t want tan lines to ruin your stage style! If you get caught off guard and get a stripe in the wrong place, makeup can help you not see between the lines. It’s best to have in your bag of tricks a light and dark concealer to blend the shades together so you achieve the perfect skin tone/tan match. Apply concealer or body makeup using a foundation brush for a more flawless blend.
Mode Dion Cosmetics has a new 5 Color Concealer Pallet to help you achieve the perfect coverage wherever you need it and a great Foundation Brush too – all found on modedion.com. Self-tanner (tan in a bottle) can also be of help, but it’s best to get one that’s tinted so you can paint it using your Foundation Brush onto the exact area where needed.
Perfect tan in a bottle
If you would like to have a radiant tan try a self-tanner. One of the best formulas and most popular with dancers is L’Oreal Sublime Bronze, found at any drug store. This product has a fast-acting formula with a little shimmer added for radiance; and it is a tint so you can see it being applied for more control. The key to a great even tan is in application. You will have blotchy, streaky-looking color if applied incorrectly so before you jump into a self-tanning product be sure to follow these steps.
Steps for a professional looking tan:
– The night before be sure to scrub down all areas you plan to tan with a body scrub, loofah or wash cloth. Be sure to get knees and elbows as these can be problem areas. After the skin is slightly pink and smoothly scrubbed, be sure to remove any hair. After the tan is applied, shaving or other hair removal will break it down quickly and cause streaks.
– Towel dry but avoid rubbing skin as more dead skin can be pulled up and cause streaks. Just pat skin with your towel until completely dry. Apply self-tanner in even amounts onto small sections. Lower legs then upper legs, etc. Be sure to blend each section in all the way until it feels tacky, but do not rub after that as you will rub off skin, making streaks. Take careful notice to knees, folds of arms, ankles and tops of feet.
– After completed, put on dark clothing as the tanner can stain, and wash hands immediately – especially around the finger nails and between the fingers.
– After two to three hours apply a rich moisturizer like Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion found at most drug stores.
Remember that self-tanning lotions make you look tan, but are not sun safe – you still need to wear sunscreen! Happy summer with a healthy glow!
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Photo (top): © Dirima | Dreamstime.com. In text photo supplied by Mode Dion.