A Young Melanoma Survivor’s Regrets

Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 03:15 PM.

   1. Prep your skin. Exfoliate skin with a scrub or loofah and follow up with a moisturizer to ensure even application.

   2. Follow the package directions closely. For example, wait at least 12 hours after shaving to apply (to avoid dark spots in hair follicles) and don’t use on skin with active eczema.

   3. Be patient. Self-tanners can take 30-60 minutes to produce visible color on the skin, and this color typically lasts about five days.

   4. Repeat as necessary. Generally, the product should be reapplied daily for two to three days, until the desired shade is achieved. Then, reapply about three times a week to maintain the shade.

   5. Go to a pro. Professional spray tans are an option for those who want to safely achieve a bronzed look in a hurry. Many salons provide automated application of high concentration, no-rub, aerosolized non-UV tanning products, while others provide a customized airbrush tan. When receiving a professional spray tan, wear protective gear for the mouth, eyes and nose to prevent ingestion or inhalation.

   6. Don’t rely on sunless tanners for sun protection. Even if your self-tanner contains sunscreen, reapply a separate broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every two hours when outdoors. Note that sunscreen is not the only form of sun protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation has always recommended that everyone follow a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade, covering up with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use.

For those ready to give up their tans, The Skin Cancer Foundation advocates embracing one’s natural skin tone, like many celebrities do. The Foundation’s Go With Your Own Glow™ campaign features print public service advertisements, developed to encourage women to love — and protect — their skin, whatever its natural hue. Go With Your Own Glow™ relies not just on health and safety information but also on fashion and beauty trends to convey the message that tanning is unhealthy and simply no longer in style. More information is available at SkinCancer.org/glow.



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