Fake it, Don’t Bake it  

Growing up in Australia, I was well educated on the dangers of sun tanning, and the huge numbers of skin cancer diagnoses each year. It’s a problem all over the globe, but it’s especially prominent in Australia due to the ozone layer gap above our heads. In fact, approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70. That’s a shocking statistic.

Even though I knew that sun exposure was the most common cause of skin cancer, I still spent many of my teenage years lathering myself in coconut oil and spending the day baking at the beach. I wholeheartedly believe that you do not need a tan to be beautiful, however my personal preference is to have a golden glow. I pretty soon figured out that sun tanning was not going to be an effective way for me to achieve this – I have fairly light, freckly skin, so it burns easily and is just a recipe for disaster in the sun.

Remember the campaign ‘there’s nothing healthy about a tan’? There is so much truth to that. Here are some fun sun facts for your week:

  • Your skin burns in the sun when it isn’t able to produce enough melanin to stop UV rays from injuring the skin and the deeper blood vessels.

  • A tan builds only after lots of damage has already occurred to your skin cells – it’s a sign that the damaged skin has tried to protect itself by sending signals to produce more melanin, the pigment that darkens your skin.

  • Dermatologists categorise the dangerous parts of UV light into UV-A and UV-B. Both cause DNA damage that can result in skin cancer, but UV-A is particularly well known for contributing to a second problem: it breaks down the natural collagen in the skin, leading to premature aging.

Put quite simply, it’s a fact – there is nothing healthy about a tan. It increases your risk of cell carcinoma and melanoma, as well as contributing to premature aging.

Because of these reasons, I made the switch to fake tan. Let’s not kid around here, it took me a long time to become a competent fake tan user. In all fairness, the products have come a long way from when I first started using them. My body was basically streaky and orange every time I tried to turn myself into a bronzed goddess – not exactly the look I was vying for. Now, it’s so much easier to achieve a healthy tan that is sustainable all year round. I LOVE my fake tan – it’s quick, easy and convenient, and of course a much healthier option than spending hours getting burnt. There’s also no danger of turning up to special events looking like a bright red lobster – choosing your shade is well within your control.

When choosing your fake tan, it’s important to go for a natural option. As with all products, our skin absorbs over 60% of what we put on it so it’s vital to make good choices both for your health, and for the planet. My number one tip is to make sure the active ingredient is approved by the FDA. If you’re new to the fake tan club, I have a few favourite brands after many years testing out the market. My favourite is Eco Tan. It gives the most natural glow, is certified organic and is accredited by Choose Cruelty Free. I also love this brand because of the story behind it – check out how Eco Tan started here . Two other brands that I’m a huge fan of are Naked Tan and Ms Lova Tan. Both provide great colour and are also vegan. I recently purchased a tanning machine from Ms Lova Tan as well because it allows me to use the bigger bottles and produce less waste. Needless to say, my boyfriend Scott is getting pretty damn good at tanning me!

Fake it, don’t bake it. Reducing your prolonged sun exposure is such an important step to keeping yourself healthy and youthful. As always, research your products, look at the ingredients, and be ready to call BS!

Dara HayesComment