Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Dangers of Sun Tanning

Ok, I'll start off with the good news. Every living thing in this world; plants, animals and people need sunlight. Sunlight can give your skin a healthy glow, is the most important source of Vitamin D and helps clear up skin problems. It feels good on your skin and is essential for your overall well-being. Try staying indoors for several days without going outdoors to bask in the sunlight and see how depressed you get. It's because sunlight boosts your body's production of serotonin.

This is the reason many people suffer from depression in winter. Everyone can benefit from 30 to 45 minutes of unprotected sun exposure before 9.00 a.m and after 5.00 pm. Don't worry if it's overcast, the sun's rays will still get to you.

Now, as is the same with all things, too much can prove to be bad. Baking yourself in the sun for several hours especially when the sun's rays are at their strongest between 11.00 a.m to 3.00 p.m puts you at a real risk for skin cancer and premature aging.

Please do read this article. It is not long winded and still provides you with a great deal of information. Please use your good judgement. If you must tan, educate yourself so you minimise your chances of getting melanoma.

Know this, there is no safe way to tan yourself in solariums or tanning beds. Don't do it, period. Read this story about a young girl in her twenties named Clare Oliver who died from melanoma after years of visiting solariums about a month ago. During the incredibly short time she had left to live, this brave lady spent it campaigning hard to try and spread awareness about the cancer eventhough she was in pain and weak most of the time. She has touched many hearts and I hope that you will also benefit from reading about her story.

I have a couple of friends who frequent tanning salons. Their skin is dry and tough and the one thing that always strikes me about their faces are the pockmarks. One is only 22 and the other is 30. Yet they both have the same unsightly, leathery skin.

Ok, enough about that. As you all know there is an alternative to achieving that bronzed, golden, sun-kissed glow you all crave. Fake it! 5 top bronzers are tested here in this article. There also tips on how to achieve an even, smooth and long lasting fake tan.

Steps to Tanning "Safely"

1. Exfoliate. This will rub off dead skin cells and help the tanning oil to better penetrate your skin.

Easy Sugar Scrub

  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground almonds
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (puncture and squeeze out from capsules)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of essential oil(s)*

Combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Scrub your body in circular motions starting from your feet and move upwards.

*Note: Some oils are make you photosensitive meaning more sensitive to sunlight and more likely to burn like lemon and orange essential oil. Best to check before you use!

2. Slather on the tanning oil. A fun recipe you can all make right at home for a tanning oil with the SPF of about 8-10. I have several more advanced recipes which allows you to vary the SPF. If you are interested, do drop a comment.

Tropical Scented Tanning Oil

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup jojoba oil (may substitute with another oil like extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa butter
  • A few drops of coconut fragrance oil and vanilla essential oil (optional but produces wonderful aroma)

In a double boiler, melt the cocoa butter and coconut oil gently. Remove from heat and combine thoroughly with the jojoba oil. Add the fragrance and essential oil if you so desire and stir again. Pour it into a bottle and allow to cool then cap it and let rest for 12 hours before you use it.

This oil will have a thicker consistency in colder weather and you can warm it in a bowl of hot water. Shake bottle vigorously and apply immediately to the skin after shower or bath while it is still damp. You don't need alot so start with a small amount. Head out into the sun and dont forget to apply lip balm with an SPF of at least 15!

3. Moisturise. Re-apply the tanning oil and drink lots and lots of water. Don't do any vigorous excercise and rest. Don't hop into the sauna. Basically don't overheat or dehydrate your body any further. Lots and lots of water!

Tip: Take fish oil rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. They provide you wih natural sun protection from within.

Ok, that's the end. I hope you have found the information helpful. Have fun but mostly importantly, be safe!

Check back next time for the fun skin care recipes you can create with a bag of almonds!

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