Study Finds Sunless Tanning Temporarily Deters UV Tanning

A recent study published in the Archives of Dermatology found that women who were given sunless tanners along with a bit of skin cancer education were 33 percent less likely to sunbathe to develop a tan, compared to only 10 percent of those who were not given sunless tanners.  Two hundred fifty women were recruited to participate in the study during their visit to a public beach in Massachusetts.  The researchers found that their tanning intervention, which promoted sunless tanning as an alternative to UV tanning, "had a short-term effect on sunbathing, sunburns, and use of protective clothing and a longer-term effect on sunbathing and sunless tanning."

Self-tanning products are a safer option than UV tanning.  However, self-tanners still need to be concerned about protecting themselves from the sun, even after the product gives them a darker color.   Just because your skin is colored darker doesn't mean you're protected from UV rays.  DHA in self-tanning lotions - the ingredient that darkens the skin - does offer some protection, equivalent to an SPF of about 2 to 4.  But this is barely any protection at all.  When shopping for a self-tanner, make sure to look for one that has an SPF of at least 15 or also apply a regular sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.  Also remember, you should reapply the sunscreen every two hours outside, or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. And you need to put on sunscreen the next time you go outside, even if your tan remains. Click here to learn more about sunless tanning products.

Research proving that UV tanning behavior can be changed with awareness is encouraging since tanning is both out of style and unhealthy, damaging the DNA in your skin. This is why celebrities, models, and fashion insiders, including Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Rachel Weisz, and Nicole Kidman are proud to be pale.  They wouldn't alter their natural beauty - or risk harming their skin - by tanning.  

Sarah Brown, Vogue's Beauty Director, says it best: "A healthy glow does not mean a tan. A healthy glow means your natural skin tone, glowing." Jane Larkworthy, Beauty Director of W, adds, "I can't remember the last time I saw a tanned model in my magazine or on the runway. Skin that is not tan is gorgeous." This is a trend you'd be smart to follow! 

Learn more about how to stay healthy and "Go with Your Own Glow."