Tanning isn’t for everyone, and there is (quite rightly) plenty of advice out there about the harmful effects of too much sun on your skin. But, there are also some amazing benefits from tanning in moderation:
Vitamin D Production: Sun exposure is a natural source of vitamin D, which is essential for various functions in the body. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces vitamin D – important for bone health, immune function, and overall well-being.
Improved Mood: Many people experience an uplift in mood after sun exposure. Sunlight triggers the release of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine in the brain, which can enhance your mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, often referred to as the “sunshine effect”.
Skin Conditions: Some individuals with certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema, or acne, can find that moderate sun exposure helps alleviate symptoms.
Aesthetics: Who doesn’t feel like they look better with a bit of a glow?
Of course, moderation is essential as too much exposure to UV radiation (and not enough preparation) can be harmful to your skin and health.
How To Get The Most From Tanning
When it comes to sun exposure and tanning, there are good practices to follow, and some bad habits to avoid. This should allow you to develop a good-looking tan (whether sun or fake tan), minimising any skin damage.
- Exfoliate: Before tanning, it’s important to exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells. This helps to create a smooth surface for an even tan. Use a gentle exfoliating scrub to lightly exfoliate your skin in the shower. This process is also good before applying any fake tan products.
- Moisturise: Hydrated skin tans better and maintains its colour longer. Apply a quality moisturiser daily.
- Gradual Exposure: If you’re new to tanning or have fair skin, it’s important to gradually expose your skin to the sun. Start with short periods of sun exposure, such as 10-15 minutes, and gradually increase the time over several days. This helps your skin to build up a base tan and reduces the risk of sunburn.
- Sun Protection: Protecting your skin from excessive sun exposure is crucial. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF (30 or above) at least 15-30 minutes before going out in the sun. Recent advice suggests an SPF should be worn when outside all year round.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated from within. Proper hydration helps maintain the health and elasticity of your skin, making it less prone to dryness or peeling after tanning.
- Protect Sensitive Areas: Some areas of your body, such as the face, lips, and eyes, are more sensitive to the sun. Extra cover will protect these areas from excessive sun exposure.