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Safer Alternatives to Tanning

Many women like to tan during the summer when warmer weather means wearing lighter clothing. More skin is exposed during the summer months when people are at the beach, the pool or engaging in outdoor activities.

While tanning can provide a healthy looking glow, it can be anything but healthy in the long run. Tanning can cause skin cancer and age the skin prematurely. But if youíre like most people, the idea of having a tan for summer is hard to resist. Fortunately, there are safer alternatives.

Spray Tans]
Though costlier than other methods of tanning, a spray tan can provide a long-lasting glow without the streaks you can get from a self-tanner. They are offered in salons. The self-tanner is applied inside a booth, where small jets spray the product onto the skin. It lasts from three to seven days.

Self-Tanning Products
Self-tanners are readily available at drug stores, retail stores and online. They are most commonly available as lotions or sprays. Some are also available as towelettes. Youíll find them in a range of prices, from inexpensive to very pricey, so there is a product for almost any budget.

Some products are made specifically for the face or body. Follow the directions on the packaging for the best results.

Self-tanners can look ďstreakyĒ if not applied carefully and evenly. This is especially true of self-tanning lotions. It can be more noticeable on fair skin. Try using a sponge to apply the product, making sure to cover the skin evenly.

Bronzers
Those looking for a very temporary glow may opt for a bronzer instead of a self-tanner. Popular brands include Urban Decay, NYX, Benefit and many others. They most often come as a pressed or loose powder. But some companies, like Stila and NYX, offer them in liquid formulations as well.

Donít Forget the Sunscreen
Even when donning a golden glow from a self-tanner or another cosmetic, you still need to protect your skin while youíre outside. Itís especially important to do so during the hours between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., when the sunís rays are the strongest.

Be sure to choose a sunscreen or a sunblock with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Higher SPF may offer more protection if you have fair skin. Choose a product that offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Apply your sunscreen liberally 30 minutes before going outdoors. Generally, most sunscreens require additional applications after swimming, perspiring or after specified period of time (usually two hours). For best results, follow directions on the packaging.

You donít have to risk skin cancer to get a golden tan for the summer. A spray tan from a salon, a good self-tanner or a bronzer is all you need.

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