Top 4 Alternatives to Tanning Beds

The most beautiful skin is skin that you feel comfortable in. For many people, tanning is a part of feeling comfortable and beautiful in their skin. However, there is no “safe” way to tan, as outdoor tanning and UV tanning booths both expose the skin to harmful ultraviolet radiation. This radiation exposure can give the appearance of bronzed skin but also lead to harmful changes, increasing the risk of skin cancer. “Even using an indoor tanning bed just once significantly increases a person’s lifetime chance of developing melanoma,” says Dr. Melanie Pickett, a board-certified dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology. “A tan is a sign of injury to the skin, so unfortunately there is no such thing as a ‘healthy’ tan from the sun or a UV tanning booth.”

And getting a tan also has undesirable cosmetic effects…

ultraviolet radiation accelerates the development of wrinkles and other signs of skin aging. Therefore, minimizing excessive sun exposure and eliminating the use of UV tanning booths is an important step in taking the best care of your skin. Beware of products marketing themselves as “tanning injections” and “tanning pills” as well. Tanning injections work by stimulating a hormone in the body that increases the pigment, or color, in the skin. These products are not approved or regulated by the FDA for sunless tanning and have been linked to harmful side effects including the development of atypical moles and even skin cancer. Tanning pills typically consist of food additives in amounts many times larger than the doses that have been deemed safe for consumption. These products additionally have not been approved by the FDA and have been associated with serious side effects including organ damage.

It is important to avoid tanning and as well as unsafe tanning products for the reasons mentioned above, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on getting a “glow” this summer. In fact, there are a variety of ways to get the appearance of a tan while staying healthy.

  1. Self-Tanning Lotions: In recent years, there has been an explosion of different self-tanning lotions on the market. These products typically use dihydroxyacetone, which causes a chemical reaction with the top layer of the skin to produce a darkening effect. These lotions can give a “bronzed” look quickly and safely in the comfort of your own home.
  2. Self-Tanning Sprays: Similar to self-tanning lotion, self-tanning sprays use dihydroxyacetone as well to darken the skin. Applying a spray is fairly easy and allows you to control the level of color that you want to have. There are many options to choose from as well.
  3. Spray Tan Booths: Spray tan booths can help you get the tanned appearance that you are looking for without exposing you to harmful UV radiation. Just be careful to cover the eyes and lips and avoid inhaling or ingesting the spray. This is a great option for people who would prefer to receive a tan rather than apply one themselves.
  4. Temporary Tanning Lotions and Sunscreens: If you want a temporary color that will last for up to a day, then temporary tanning products are perfect for you. These products tint the skin until it is washed off. Many of the temporary tanning products are incorporated into sunscreens as well, which allow you to have a “tan” and keep your skin protected too.
    Whether embracing your natural skin tone or using one of the above products for a “tanned” appearance it is still important to protect your skin when outdoors with sunscreen, a hat, and sun-protective clothing. As always, we at Sanova Dermatology are available for your skincare needs and to help you take the best care of your skin this summer, so please do not hesitate to contact us!
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