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


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?



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?

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

  1. my dad had a melanoma a few years ago, so we’re all very careful with the spf. i can’t get into a tanning lotion, though. don’t know why. i guess i’m ok being pale.

  2. Yes, self tanners have come a LONG way. They used to smell just awful!!!

    I use sunblock every day as I have very light skin and both my parents had melanoma. I’m also on medication that makes me more sensitive to the sun. Unfortunately, when I was younger, I didn’t always do this…

  3. Debi Pettit says:

    Wonderful Post!
    I have had 2 melanomas and 23 biopsies to date. I am very fair and now look a little like a patchwork quilt but i even still want a little color. I used the jergens over spring break and it looked great. My husband didn’t even notice the smell. He used to always notice the smell on the old ones.
    Yea, there is hope for us “whities”

  4. Thanks for the suggestion girlie! I have been trying to figure out what to do re: tanning for my wedding, since my dress is STARK white and I have the potential to be very pale come November!

  5. Anais says:

    I think I’m finally ok with having pale skin…so I skip the self-tanner and just use sunscreen ;) I still get a less-sickly glow lol!

  6. I live for sunless tanner! I need to be really careful in the sun because I am so fair, but I still want that tan look. I have tried so many different sunless tanners. I agree with you about the strong smell of Mystic, but I still like the full body results. I also use the Jergens moisturizer for a natural tan, but sometimes you need something a little darker. I recentlytr tried one of the L’Oreal Sublime sunless tanners and fell in love. I can’t remember the exact name right now (and I’m at work and can’t look!) but I will be doing a review on my blog soon!

  7. Lydia says:

    My dad died of melanoma when I was a baby, so I’ve never been allowed to tan or spend much time in the sun. I was the dork with the swim cap on, without being a member of the swim team, in 3rd grade and I can count on one hand the number of REALLY BAD burns I’ve ever had. It’s nothing to play around with and not worth taking the risk.

    I have used the self tanner lotions (from Jergen’s, etc.), but am starting to actually love the skin I’m in. I think pale is coming back, and not just vamp style. All hail the Victorian Era! Let’s just leave the bustles behind! :)

  8. K says:

    I rep the paleness year round! I’d much rather be white than increase my chances of skin cancer. I have used Jergen’s and Mystic tan in the past though (high school) and quite liked those!

  9. Elaine says:

    Just accept the fact that you’re white! Asians are known for looking younger……because they always have protection against the sun!!! So the secret to looking younger and geting fewer wrinkles is to get out of the sun!


  10. Elina says:

    Oh man, I totally tried those spray tan booths before. I did it before a friend’s wedding. When I first came out of it, I looked “normal.” I told the woman at the salon that I wanted a tan! She said: “don’t worry, by tomorrow you’ll look black.” I was excited! Uh, until tomorrow came. I was orange!!! and then “tan” was kind of streaky on my feet so I was embarassed the entire time because you could see obvious lines where it stopped and where it began. I still can’t look at those wedding pics!
    I’m quite pasty myself, so I may try that lotion mid-summer if I feel like I need some color. Thanks for the recommendation! :)

  11. Amber says:

    In the winter I embrace my pale skin and in the summer I use Neutrogena build a tan!!

  12. [...] presents Try it – Protecting yourself from skin cancer doesn’t mean you have to be pale! posted at The Daily Balance, saying, “Informative review for [...]

  13. [...] Last year I wrote about my distaste for tanning. Of course, Shannon, of course. You are ghastly pale, of course you are going to advocate that being pale rocks. [...]

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