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Sunless vs. Natural Tanning

With skin cancer rates increasing, natural tanning could become a thing of the past. But is sunless tanning a good replacement? Here, we’ll examine the pros and cons of sunless vs. natural tanning-and see how sunless tans hold up.

Sunless vs. Natural Tanning

Natural tanning: The Pros.

A more natural look. Natural tanning generally looks more natural than sunless tanning, despite some significant advances in sunless tanning technology. The reason is that natural tanning always brings out natural skin tones-so it always looks right on you. If you’re not working with a skilled specialist, the shade you use in a sunless tan might be just a bit off-making the tan look too orange or yellow on your skin.

Fun. Despite recent warnings about skin cancer and UV rays, we still love to spend time outside. Natural tanning is often a social event, on the beach with a book or a tall drink. Going to a salon might get you a safer result, but natural tanning is a fun, relaxing experience that makes us feel good.

Natural tanning: The Cons.

Uneven tanning. If you don’t spend equal time on your back, stomach, and sides, you can get an uneven tan. In addition, if you’re preparing your tan for a big party or wedding, you’ll have to sunbathe topless to cut out the bikini lines-and not all of us have a place to do that in privacy.

Sunburn. Sunburns are a nuisance if you’re lucky-at worst they can accompany serious symptoms of heat stroke, such as fever, dizziness, and the chills. The worst part about sunburns is that they’re so easy to get-only twenty minutes of sun at the wrong time of day can result in a painful burn.

Skin cancer. It’s the most common kind of cancer in people in their 20′s-and it can be fatal. Skin cancer is becoming more and more prevalent as pollution strips our atmosphere of its natural shield against UV rays, putting us all in danger of getting it. A natural tan may give you a healthy-looking glow, but natural tanning is no longer a safe activity.

Sunless tanning: The Pros

Everyone can tan. There are some people with very fair skin who just can’t tan naturally-their summers are an endless cycle of burning and peeling. For these people, sunless tanning is the only option for that sun-kissed glow-with no risk of sunburn.

An even, on-demand tan for special events. With sunless tanning, you don’t have to spend days or weeks in the sun-or risking public indecency laws-to get a perfect, line-free, even tan for a special event. Just go to the salon once, and you’ll have a tan that will look great under your dress without tan lines-the easy way.

No risk of cancer. This is the single best selling point of sunless tanning-it could save your life. Sunless tanning carries no risk of cancer, giving you a good-looking tan without all the health risks associated with exposure to UV rays.

Sunless tanning: The Cons

A little less natural. The sun always brings out your natural skin tones-so your tan always looks right on you. A sunless tan in a less-than-expert salon could use a tone that’s not quite perfect for your skin, which makes some sunless tans look less natural. However, it’s almost impossible to tell an expertly-applied sunless tan from a natural tan.

Risk of sunburn. When you tan naturally, your skin builds resistance to the sun-so you won’t burn once you’ve tanned. With a sunless tan, you don’t have that resistance-so it’s still possible to burn, even if you look dark enough to withstand plenty of sunlight. Wear sunscreen over your sunless tan, and there won’t be a problem.

For us, just one factor makes sunless tans better than natural: their safety. With a sunless tan, you can be as dark as you want without risking burns or cancer. Which one you prefer is up to you-but it’s pretty clear that even tanning, relaxation, and a natural tone are hardly worth risking your life and health for.

• Page created on May 29th, 2015 •

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