When faced with the choice between soaking up the rays at the beach, hitting the sunbed at the salon, or using a self-tanning spray at home – few would doubt that the first option is more likely to contribute to sunburn and skin cancer. But, dermatologists agree that there is in fact no safe way when it comes to tanning, and all forms of skin darkening — whether natural or artificial — can present health risks in the long run.

That bronze glow may seem attractive and healthy now, but that might not be the case a few years from now when the effects of long-term exposure kick in. Moreover, it’s a myth that a sun tan helps prevent skin cancer. A tan is actually a sign of damaged skin no matter it’s source. That being said, previous studies discovered that radiation from a solarium is in fact ten times more dangerous than the midday sun.

Cancer Research UK claims that using tanning devices before the age of 35 increases one’s risk of malignant melanoma, the most life-threatening form of skin cancer, by 75 per cent. Additionally, research, published in the British Medical Journal, suggests that people who have ever used a sunbed were 20% more likely to develop melanoma, a risk which increased with sun exposure and sun sensitivity.

Also, don’t be fooled into thinking that slathering on a bronzer is completely safe. According to some medical experts, tanning sprays and lotions may cause genetic alterations and DNA damage due to an active chemical called dihydroxyacetone. 

For those looking to catch a dose of Vitamin D but without the risk of skin damage, Healthy Magazine recommends that you spread your tanning sessions over a couple of weeks instead of baking in the sun all day, spend no more than 20 minutes outside, avoid tanning between 11am and 3pm, and use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. 

Stock up on EezySun’s convenient, quality sunscreen snap sachets, available at Clicks and Spar, and arm yourself with the best defense against sunburn whenever you decide to spend some time in the sun.

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