Friday, June 1, 2012

Teen Trend: Tanning

It’s summer! FINALLY! The weather’s heating up, the clothes are getting smaller, and high stakes consist of getting the last lounge chair by the pool. So what’s the best way for teens to flaunt healthy-looking, glowy skin this summer?

Well, it’s not this:

Unless you want to look like this:

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, 2.3 million American teens visit a tanning salon at least once a year.

That’s craaaaazy. Why? Because even though one out of three teens say they tan because it looks healthy (source), there are safer alternatives to get glowy, summer skin – self-tanners, spray tans, gradual tan lotions, and plain old sunscreen. Lots of people, not just teens, are scared of using self-tanners because they don’t want to look like an Oompa Loompa. I mean, that’s totally understandable.

So here are a few tips for achieving a more natural, bronze-y look:

  1. Pick a tanner that’s green-based to get a bronze result. I also like self-tanners that are tinted with a guide color so I can apply evenly. My top picks are brands like St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse, Xen Tan, Sun Labs, Bare Escentuals Faux Tan, Banana Boat Summer Color (drugstore), and Jergens Natural Glow Foam (drugstore).
  2. Exfoliate before you apply. Exfoliating is a great way to instantly make your skin look better. You can find scrubs at the drugstore, or save money by making your own at home. All you need is white or brown sugar and oil (something like olive, almond, vegetable, or coconut oil will work). Mix, slather, and voila!
  3. Rub lotion on knees, ankles, toes, wrists, and elbows beforehand so the color applies evenly to those spots.
  4. Wear disposable gloves, use a large, dense makeup brush (like a kabuki brush), or pick up a self-tanner mitt from a beauty supply store for the application process.
  5. Work in small sections for more control. Start with your lower legs, then move to the thighs, stomach, arms, etc. Get someone to help you with your back unless you’re double-jointed!
  6. Dance around in your birthday suit for at least five minutes to speed along the drying process, and remember to wear dark, loose clothing for a few hours until the color sets completely.
  7. Mix tanner with facial moisturizer if you want to warm up your face color. Or just brush some powder bronzer on your cheekbones, across your forehead, and down your nose for a temporary sun-kissed glow!

In addition to faking that golden glow, you also need to protect and prevent. Ninety percent of pediatric melanoma cases occur in girls between the ages of 10-19 (source), so it’s super important you protect your skin EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. (And by “protecting”, I don’t mean mixing iodine with baby oil while keeping a baseball bat handy for any creepers lurking around your backyard.) Whether it’s sunny, rainy, cloudy, or hailing zombie brains, you should always wear a broad spectrum sunscreen to protect yourself against UVA and UVB rays. Even better? Wearing sunscreen AND a hat. Staying in the shade. Reapplying often. Moisturizing your skin after you’ve been in the sun. Checking your body for abnormal moles and going to the doctor if you find something you’re not sure of.  There are even more great tips on The SkinCancer Foundation’s website you should check out.

And really if I’m being honest, today’s summer skin tips aren’t just for teens, but for all of us. We’re only given one skin, folks – so make it last!


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