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How to Sun Tan Safely

The last few decades of dermatological research have made it clear: getting a sun tan and tanning bed use can significantly increase your risks of developing skin cancer. As a form of solar radiation, UV damage adds up over time, harming skin cell DNA and accelerating the aging process. Still, people take the risk to get bronzed for the summer – and many come to regret it.

At Skin Center of South Miami, we want you to feel confident in the way you look. That’s why we’ve put together this sun tanning safety guide to help you get that summer glow!

Skin Safe Alternatives to Sun Tanning

Tanning in Miami to look your best at the beach or by the poolside doesn’t have to come at the expense of your skin’s health. Before choosing to sun tan or head to a tanning parlor, consider trying safer alternatives.

Self-Tanning Lotion: Self-tanning lotion works by using dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which reacts with the skin's outer layer proteins to produce melanoidins – brown pigments. This reaction temporarily stains the skin, giving it a tanned appearance without sun exposure.

When choosing a self-tanner, be sure to follow the directions closely and review the ingredient list. Be mindful of anything that may cause an allergic reaction or irritation.

Tinted Moisturizers or CC Cream: Where self-tanning lotions work within the skin to produce a ‘fake tan’, using lightweight products like tinted moisturizers or CC cream can give you a slightly richer, healthy-looking complexion you can wash away at the end of the day. 

These products are great for those last-minute events where you want to look tan without changing your actual skin tone. Plus, many tinted moisturizers and CC creams on the market today include SPF and other beneficial ingredients to nourish and protect your skin.

Bronzer and Contour Products: Makeup is great for helping to enhance your natural features. Bronzers and contour products can help to give you that healthy glow and warm up your face without risking sun damage. Beauty experts at stores like Ulta or Sephora can help you find the perfect products to suit your skin tone and provide tips to help you look and feel your best.

Tanning in Miami: How to Sun Tan Safely

If you are going to sun tan this summer, try to do so as safely as possible.

Try to limit tanning to no more than 20 minutes at a time, allowing time between sessions to allow your skin time to adjust and recover. Remember, tans take time to set in, so you may not see immediate results.

Avoid tanning during peak UV hours between 10 AM and 4 PM, and be sure to wear sunscreen. This may seem counter-intuitive, but sunscreen provides some protection while still allowing your skin to tan. Pay attention to the SPF level, too; the number indicates how long the sunscreen is effective, not its strength. For example, a product with SPF 30 provides about 300 minutes of protection, lessening over time. 

Don’t allow your skin to burn. The idea that a sunburn will lead to a deeper tan is a myth, but 5 or more sunburns over your lifetime increases your risk of melanoma. Staying hydrated and seeking shade when possible can help prevent sunburns while still tanning your skin. 

If you do experience a sunburn, notice new freckles or spots, or have any other concerns about your skin’s health, schedule an appointment with Skin Center of South Miami today. We can help you repair sun-damaged skin and provide relief for any other skin concerns.


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