Bank-Holiday Break? Remember, A Safe Tan Is An Urban Myth

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This summer, I’ve been asked an exceptional number of times for my tips on safe-tanning. And every-time someone asks me this, I have to search for ways to sugar-coat the fact that, well, there simply isn’t one and that the mere expression causes me consternation.

A (real) tan means you’ve caused enough damage to your skin’s DNA to activate the fire alarm and start up the hose-your skin’s melanin factory.  And in some this will prove an effective defense mechanism (but know that your skin is like an elephant and will not forget this insult); others (fellow Casper-like Celts, you know who you are) will see their somewhat impotent melanocytes  gasp and splutter to produce a bit of extra protection, but ultimately they will fail  them-and the inevitable sting and soreness of sunburn will ensue.

Why go through this ritual of burn-then-tan (badly) when your skin is simply not designed for this function very well? Take the following steps and  your lovely white epidermis will thank-you for decades to come:

1)   Apply lashings of Xen-Tan Gradual Self Tan after exfoliating-and use one of those nice, velour mits for a streak-free finish. See, you too can look good in a white Heidi Klein bikini.

2)   Develop a vacation ritual of late nights, lunch-for-breakfast and enjoy the beach from 3pm onwards (Mykonos and Ibiza lend themselves very well to this custom). This minimises sun exposure at the peak hours, without killing your buzz from the great weather.

3)   Find a broad-spectrum sunscreen that you like, minimum SPF30 and USE IT PROPERLY.  Use a shot-glass full amount to cover the average adult, let it dry before going outside to avoid it rubbing off and reapply at least every 2 hours, or after sweating/towelling.

4)   Get a sunscreen for the face that’s non-comedogenic, so you don’t have the excuse that it ‘makes you break out’ for under-applying. A generous teaspoon here please. And don’t miss bits, commonly along the hairline, nose and ears.

5) A good-quality antioxidant facial serum will give you a ‘belt-and-braces’ type extra layer of protection against any pesky UV that does get through your sun-screen, neutralising ageing free radicals-try Obagi Professional C serum or Skinceuticals CE Ferulic.

5)   Finally, please do not ask me for Botox whilst lobster-red from yesterday’s sunbed in preparation for going on holiday (this really happened) …..I don’t have words…..

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