Having a bronzed and sun-kissed glow was a huge trend back in the day, however, being tanned no longer holds the same appeal as it once did, mostly thanks to a heightened global awareness surrounding the risks associated with sunbathing.
With climate change affecting us more than ever before, and the continual deterioration of the ozone layer, the sun is becoming more brutal forcing us to rethink how we take care of our skin.
So without channeling your inner vampire or slapping on layers of sunscreen, how do you possibly avoid the sun? It’s there when we wake up and is around us all the time. Is it even possible to prevent tanning?
If you want answers to these questions you’re in the right place. This article contains everything you need to know about how to successfully prevent your skin from tanning.
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UVA and UVB - Know the difference
If you want to avoid tanning at all costs you must understand exactly what you’re up against. Chances are you heard of UVA and UVB rays, but what exactly are they and how do you stop them from tanning your skin?
In a nutshell, sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays namely; UVA or Ultraviolet A - longwave radiation, and UVB or Ultraviolet B - short wave radiation.
UVA rays are dangerous because they penetrate the deepest and thickest layers of our skin causing us to develop fine lines and wrinkles .h UVB radiation on the other hand can cause the skin to burn.
Myth - I can’t burn if it’s cloudy outside? Fact- Yes, you most definitely can. A huge misconception about tanning is thinking that cloud cover blocks harmful radiation from the sun.
Cloud cover blocks UVB rays but doesn’t do much from preventing harmful UVA rays from tanning your skin. This is why wearing SPF all year round is your number one defense in terms of tan avoidance and protection.
Why SPF Matters
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is found in sunscreens, skincare, and makeup.
The higher the SPF the better protection it offers in terms of blocking UVB rays and absorbing UVA radiation.
Back in the day, SPF was only found in sunscreen but thanks to huge strides within the beauty industry, it’s now a staple in most products.
When should I use SPF?
Regardless of which season you find yourself in, SPF should be used year-round, and applying an SPF product should hold the same clout as brushing your teeth.
SPF determines how long you’ll stay protected from the sun without burning or tanning, hence the higher the SPF factor, the longer you can stay in the sun.
If you’re the type of person that gets sunburnt at the mere thought of spending 5 minutes in the sun, you’ll need an SPF with a level of 40 or more and will need to reapply it frequently.
Whether your skin tone is fair, medium or deep applying SPF is your first line of defense in terms of protecting your skin and warding off a tan.
I Hate Sunscreen but I don’t want to Burn or Tan?
If you’re like me, you’ll likely have a deep aversion to wearing sunscreen. - Yuck. Yes, it’s a cornerstone of avoiding a tan, but it can also leave your skin feeling greasy, heavy and can cause sensitive skin to break out.
Spending the day outdoors is going to require lots of sunscreen - a non-negotiable, so if you’re trying to prevent your skin from tanning the obvious solution would be to stay indoors.
The good news is that if you’re simply going about your day-to-day business and happen to despise wearing sunscreen, you can ditch it altogether and opt instead for a moisturizer/foundation that contains SPF.
You’ll get all the benefits of UVA and UVB protection without that greasy, uncomfortable feeling, and using both SPF moisturizer with foundation is a surefire way to keep the tan away.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re unable to avoid the sun, make a run for it and take cover under a shady spot.
Not only will it keep you cool, but it will also thwart off potential skin-damaging exposure to the sun.
In your quest to become tan-free, you must be prepared to cover up and wear long, preferably loose-fitting clothing (in the Summer months) to hide and protect areas of your body that are exposed to the sun.
Fabrics like cotton, rayon, and linen are great at keeping you cool and stopping harmful UVA and UVB rays from penetrating your skin.
Avoid the Peak
Regardless of the season, the sun is always at its harshest between 10 am and 3 pm and should be avoided like the plague if you’re trying to prevent a tan.
There’s nothing wrong with getting a little bit of early morning sunshine to boost your vitamin D levels but, to be safe, keep morning sun exposure to a maximum of 20 minutes.
Hats and Sunglasses are your Best Friends
A great pair of oversized sunglasses (that offer 100% UV protection) can do wonders to protect your eyes and the delicate skin surrounding them.
A wide-brimmed hat should also be a wardrobe staple for those who chose not to tan as it protects your head, neck, and decolletage from harmful rays.
Having a tan can make you look and feel good, however, skin experts all agree that there is no such thing as a safe tan.
Staying tan-free and ditching the rays will not only improve your overall skin health but can also ward off the need to undergo expensive procedures like Botox, fillers, and micro-needling to repair sun damage.