Try it – Protecting yourself from skin cancer doen’t mean you have to be pale!

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Try It

It’s that time of year, people. As the sun breaks through the clouds and temperatures rise, the string bikinis are pulled out of the closet along with the tanning oil and beach towels. It’s tanning season. People everywhere immediately start working on their ‘base tans,’ whether it be from laying outside or spending 20 minutes in the cancer coffin tanning bed.

SIDE NOTE: Base tans are a myth. Educate yourself here. According to an article on Lifestyle Yahoo!, a base tan offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of, at best, 2 to 4 and provides no defense against skin cancer. Yet people feel more protected and assume they don’t need sunscreen. It’s actually an extremely dangerous practice.

Trust me, I like everyone else realize that people like the ‘tan look.’ Their bodies look slimmer, they feel as if they have a healthy glow and they seem to carry themselves with a bit more confidence. But I don’t think looking like THIS or THIS is worth it.

The facts:

It’s no secret that the number of skin cancer cases has been rising over the years. According to an article published by the University of Iowa, experts say this is due to increasing exposure to the sun, tanning beds, and sun lamps. More than 1.3 million new skin cancer cases are likely to be diagnosed in the United States this year.

In addition, the number of cases of melanoma is rising. “Studies have shown that people who used tanning beds before the age of 35, have a melanoma risk eight-fold higher than people who have never used them. Even occasional use almost tripled the chances. Using commercial lights also more than doubled the risk. Melanoma, with a suspected link to UVA exposure, is often fatal if not detected early.”

A 2002 study of participants who used tanning beds, found increases in other types of skin cancer also. Those who use the tanning beds were:

But here at The Daily Balance, we’ve got to find a middle ground, right? We want it all! We want to have a healthy glow and still look fabulous into our later years.

Solution? Self-tanner.

OK, before you turn your nose, hear me out. Self-tanners have come a long way and there are some FANTASTIC products out there that have really evolved the self-tanning industry and have moved it light-years ahead of what it was. If you tried it a few years ago and had bad luck, give it another shot. I did.

Looking through my photos, you may notice that I’m pretty ghastly fair-skinned. While I admit that I’ve gone tanning before (hello, homecoming and prom! — I was young and dumb, people. young.and.dumb.), I’m thankful that I learned of the risks involved before it became an unhealthy habit. I stopped going my Senior year in high-school (I had probably gone 15 times before then, not too bad.) Anyway, I certainly wasn’t going to be the only translucent girl at my senior prom — after all, I had to impress the Mister (yes, we were together and went to my Senior prom – awww!!)!

So think back a few years – remember all the hype surrounding Mystic Tan?  Well I bought it. Instead of laying in a tanning bed, I stood in a booth that systematically sprayed me with self-tanner.

It worked! I looked like I had a healthy glow without all the terrible UV rays!

The catch? I smelled like death.

I wish I was kidding.

True story – the following morning, my mom came to wake me up (even then, I didn’t respond well to alarms!) and she was blasted with the most foul-smelling odor that she thought I had died. Once she calmed down and realized I was in fact, alive, we started damage control. After a few showers and strategically placed perfume, the odor had subsided and I finally felt as if I could appear in a crowd without feeling bad for everyone else. I personally think that I smelled like stale chips (Frito’s, maybe?). I also noticed that I would get tiny whiffs of the stench every now and then. But it wasn’t obvious that it was coming from me, so I figured I could blame it on someone else ;)

Me and the Mister - all dressed up for prom ;)

Me and the Mister - all dressed up for prom ;)

Aren't we precious?

Aren't we precious?

After-prom

After-prom

What a goof!

What a goof!

This is my favorite pic of the Mister - look at those baby blues!

This is my favorite pic of the Mister - look at those baby blues!

Well, self-tanners have come a long way since then and there are products on the market that provide great results (and the added bonus of not needing a gas mask)!

One of the products I tried out this past week and recommend to all of you is Jergens Natural Glow. I purchased both the body product and the one designed specifically for the face.

From the Web site:

Jergens® natural glow Healthy Complexion Daily Facial Moisturizer with UVA/UVB SPF 20 protection gradually creates natural-looking color, helps prevent premature aging and protects skin from everyday sun exposure.

Jergens® natural glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer provides color that lasts 2x as long* with an antioxidant and Vitamin E-infused formula

I was initially drawn to the Jergens line because it’s built around the concept that you BUILD a tan. As someone who is quite fair, I didn’t want a big change and I wanted to be in control. The first day I applied the product, I definitely noticed a difference and felt better wearing a skirt knowing that I wasn’t blinding everyone with my bright white legs. I was comfortable with the strength of the tan and didn’t apply the lotion again for a few more days. I’m sure that increasing the color would work just as well, but personally I like a natural look, so I wasn’t looking to build a dark tan.

For those of you who are looking to build a tan (without UV rays!), I strongly suggest this product. I’ll probably continue to use it every now and then (I’m not crazy about using chemicals to tan, either — but it certainly beats the alternative!), but personally I’m fine with embracing my paleness! After all, if Edward Cullen digs it, it’s fine by me ;)

If you are looking for reviews on other favorite tanning products, click here or here.

A few more helpful links:

Tanning Booths: Are They Worth the Risk?

Tanning Your Health Away

Tips From the National Cancer Institute

Do you use self-tanner? Do you embrace your paleness like me (show yourself Edward Cullen lovers!)? How do you protect yourself from the sun?