Tanning: Prevention and precaution

Believe it or not, tanning wasn’t always as famous as it is today. For centuries, tanned skin was considered unattractive, especially among women. A tan wasn’t seen as golden or glowing, but weathered and brown which was proof that you were likely to be someone who labored outdoors (oh the snobbery). Well-bred ladies protected themselves with hats, parasols and long sleeves.

With thanks to Coco Chanel she changed the way we looked at tanning (after she accidentally got tanned whilst holidaying in Cannes). No longer was it seen as fashionable to be pale, and everyone soon jumped on the tanned bandwagon.

Fast-forward almost 100 years later and we are still as obsessed about tanning. We can’t get enough of the bronzed, tanned look whether we are sunning ourselves on a beach or smothering ourselves in fake tan. But just how careful should we be in the sun? Tanning prevention and precaution, we find out…

What are the dangers of tanning?

The most common form of UV radiation is sunlight, which produces three main types of UV rays:

• UVA rays: this has the longest wavelengths that can penetrate the middle layer of your skin (the dermis)

• UVB: this has short wavelengths which reaches the outer layer of your skin (the epidermis)

• UVC: this has the shortest wavelength and is most dangerous. The difference with this one as opposed to the other two is that is it absorbed by the earth’s ozone layer

RECOMMENDED: Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF25 from Green People

The more damage that there is to the ozone layer, the more UVB rays that reach our bodies. UVB rays can produce DNA damage in the skin and mucous membranes which can cause genetic mutations, leading to skin cancer, premature ageing, cataracts and other eye conditions.

Excessive UV exposure can also weaken your immune system from functioning properly, reducing your ability to fight off skin cancers. Therefore, ozone loss is a serious health threat.

Ingredients to avoid when tanning

Although these ingredients may speed up the tanning process leading to your skin becoming bronzed quicker, it’s important to note they aren’t good for your skin and therefore should be avoided. Here are the ingredients and reasons why:

Mineral Oil

A derivative of petroleum, it is carcinogenic and a comedogenic (which blocks your pores). It is used because it’s slippery and allows the tanning product to spread more easily.

Sodium Hydroxymethyl Glycinate

This masquerades as a ‘natural preservative’ and in high concentrations is a skin and eye irritant.

Amyl Acetate

An ingredient, which is popular within the dry cleaning business. Not one for tanning your skin!

Octyl Stearate

This ingredient blocks pores and is an irritant and comedogenic.

Artificial fragrances and colours

Many fragrances used in tanning products are created from petrochemicals and many chemicals used to create scents are known carcinogens (e.g. methylene chloride).

SEE ALSO: 9 ingredients that you should avoid in your beauty products

Good ingredients to use when tanning

The ingredients listed below are ones we recommend you use if you are looking for an even, bronzed glow. However it is important to note that you should still use a decent SPF when tanning to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

These ingredients can be used as an accelerator, as well as a moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated whilst in the sun. But they should not become a replacement for sun cream.

Coconut oil

We can’t stop shouting about this oil we love it! We can’t stop shouting about this oil we love it! It’s important to note, that long gone are the days of cooking yourself in the sun. But coconut oil can still be used as a moisturiser and it is also an amazing tanning accelerator (if you are going to choose this method, only stay for 20 minutes maximum).

It attracts more UV rays, which then help to produce the melanin necessary for a tan to appear.

Coconut oil does not protect you 100% from the sun’s rays but 15-20 minutes a day is all it takes to get a really deep brown tan and soak up an adequate amount of Vitamin D!

Other reasons why we love coconut oil:

• An effective antioxidant, which helps to neutralise free radical damage

• Can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

• Exfoliates dead skin cells

• It allows your skin to absorb natural Vitamin D, while most sun screens and sunblocks don’t.

To sum this oil up, it basically tans your skin for longer.

RECOMMENDED: Coconut Oil, Organic Fractionated from Fushi

Cocoa Butter

This has often been called the ultimate moisturiser and has been used for centuries to keep your skin looking and feeling silky smooth. As one of the most stable, highly concentrated natural fats known, it readily absorbs into your skin.

When applied topically, cocoa butter retains moisture, which is an essential for a great tan. It also protects sensitive skin from other environmental stresses such as wind and temperature.

Other reasons why we love Cocoa Butter:

• Great moisturiser

• Rich and important source of Vitamin E

• Contains cocoa mass polyphenol (CMP) which is known to help reduce skin irritation


• Apply after sunbathing as it’s not a tan accelerator but an amazing moisturiser.

Almond Oil

This oil has long been considered an excellent emollient that soothes and softens your skin. It has a pleasant, natural aroma that contains no harsh fragrances.

Other reasons we love almond oil:

• Relieves skin irritation caused by too much sun exposure

• Balances your skin’s moisture level

• Contains high levels of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and Vitamin E


• Apply after sunbathing as it’s not a tan accelerator but an amazing moisturiser.


Lanolin’s main purpose is that is acts as an emollient for the skin. This means that it is able to lock in moisture, which is vital if you are looking to achieve a long lasting tan.

Other reasons why we love lanolin:

• Hypoallergenic, so it’s great for those that suffer with sensitive skin. You will not find any irritation whatsoever

• Bacteriostatic to reduce the risk of irritation

• It’s a natural emollient to seal in the moisture


• Apply after sunbathing as it’s not a tan accelerator but an amazing

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