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July 29, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 1 Faves: 0

Tanning tips for Golden Goddesses and Nubian Queens

By Mellissa More Blogs by This Author

Whenever your skin “tans” and becomes darker after sun exposure, it's protecting you from damage. The melanin, or pigment, in your skin becomes darker after absorbing UV rays. If you expose yourself to UV rays too long, your body will go into “repair mode,” resulting in an increased flow of blood and cells to the affected area (a.k.a sunburn). Sun damage doesn't just stop at skin: Your hair, nails, and eyes can be impacted too! Having a naturally darker skin complexion due to ethnicity will not automatically protect you from sun damage either; it will only slow the process.

How to protect your skin

The best way to deal with sunburn is to prevent it from happening!

  • Do not use Baby oil or Tanning oil to tan. I'm not entirely sure where this myth originated, but it is false. There is nothing in either oil that will increase your rate of tanning or protect your skin.

  • Don't skip the sunscreen! The myth that you won't tan if you wear sunscreen is totally false as well. Sunscreen will keep the dangerous spectrum of UV rays from hurting your skin. If you are using a lotion or cream, squeeze out a golf-ball-sized amount and apply.

  • Put your sunscreen on 20-30 minutes before you head outdoors.

  • Reapply sunscreen after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Most sunscreens on the market today will provide protection for a little more than an hour before requiring reapplication. Don't forget to put it back on!

  • Don't forget your lips! Wear a lipbalm or chapstick with an SPF of at least 30.

  • Be sure to bring along a lightweight coverup and sunhat.

How to protect your eyes

You can't put sunscreen on your eyes, so how do you protect them? Here are some suggestions to keep your peepers safe:

  • Wear sunglasses that protect from UV rays.

  • Wear a hat. A baseball cap, sun visor, or sun hat will provide protective shade.

How to protect hair & nails

Your hair and nails are just as susceptible to sun damage as your skin and eyes. Don't neglect them!

  • Never use peroxide, alcohol, lemon juice, or a marketed “natural” hair-lightening product. All of those liquids will suck healthy moisture out of your hair and leave it even more prone to damage from the sun.

  • Use a protein or keratin-rich conditioner to keep your hair's cuticles healthy.

  • Use a leave-in conditioner to maintain healthy moisture in your hair.

  • Use an opaque topcoat nail polish. Though there are nail polishes out there that contain an SPF, a cheaper alternative to keeping your nails and nail beds safe is a topcoat.

After the sun

Even if you've successfully avoided burning, prolonged sun exposure can leave your skin feeling dry and itchy, especially if you've had a few dips in the pool. Aloe vera gel, available at any local drugstore, will offer immediate relief for sunburned skin, but it will also feel cool and refreshing to sun-beaten skin. Aloe vera is a good immediate moisturizer, but you will want to apply a lotion or cream with lipids to help maintain the “watering” action of the cream. Most “after sun” products tend to be pricey, but I found Dermasil lotion to be extremely effective at healing and soothing dry skin at $1 for a 10 oz. tube through Dollar Tree Stores (a very well kept secret in skin care products).

Spending time at the pool or beach are fine and fun activities, but “laying out” will put you at risk for melanoma and other skin cancers. If you're going to be outdoors and scantily clad for long periods, spend as much time as you can under shaded areas or beach umbrellas. Other than the threat of disease, extreme amounts of sun ages the skin quickly and can stunt hair growth. Be smart: Keep yourself and your family safe from the harmful effects of the sun!


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1 Comment

  • Funny but true - back in the 70's that is exactly what we used to get a tan - BABY OIL!

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