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Have Your Cake & Eat It Too: Summer Skin Savvy

enjoy the summer rays while sun-bathing, meghann shannon
enjoy the summer rays while sun-bathing, meghann shannon
Meghann Shannon, meghann shannon

Every hour one person dies from melanoma. That’s right - DIES. (

As you are probably aware, summer officially began on June 21, 2014. Hopefully, you are just as excited as myself! Sun, sand, the summer breeze, that bronzed glow…

Before I get too carried away, let’s take a moment to discuss that desirable “glow” that, for many, perceive as almost inevitable during the next few months. The truth of the matter, is that you can still enjoy those summer days (and nights!) with a beautiful, natural glow without the damaging - and perhaps even deadly - effects of the sun. If you know anything about myself or my writing, you know I tell it like it is. That being said, I DO prefer a NATURAL tan! However, I’m also knowledgeable and educated when it comes to skincare and how to protect it. That said, keep reading.

Here's the good news: over the counter sunless tanning products have come A LONG WAY just in the last few years. One of the most popular is Jergen’s Gradual Self Tanner (the lotion is amazing - especially the one designed for the face. However, I recently tried L’Oreal’s Tanning Mousse and have had no complaints (by myself or comments by any close friends or family)! Score!

Self-tanning is pretty much self-explanatory (read the instructions for each product you use-they definitely can cary). I’ve had a few self-tanning mishaps, so my main tips would be to:

  • Always exfoliate beforehand (preferably with a loofah). Exfoliating would also mean to shave ahead of time; however, I would recommend you do this 24 hours beforehand.
  • Apply an oil free lotion to minimally dry areas or areas that do not need much “tan”…remember, naturally, the sun hits you in different places, so your at-home tan does NOT need to be completely uniform.
  • On the drier areas (e.g., your knees, elbows, etc) apply a moisturizing lotion or even light oil (for example, I like to use baby oil on my finger nails, toe nails, and ankles to avoid that obvious streaky look (a dead give-a-way). I’m going to go ahead and assume you don’t want to look like Lohan!

If you are willing to spend a little extra, I recommend the following products:

  • St. Tropez Self Tanning Mousse (even the spray works wonders)
  • Tan Towels (I recommend using gloves because the damp cloths used are colorless and this really is just an extra precaution to avoid any blotchiness or discoloration)

Finally, after about 24 hours, you can start to moisturize your skin to keep that self-tan lasting as long as possible. Remember, OIL FREE. Oil tends to REMOVE self-tanner ingredients or cause discoloration.

If you aren’t craving that summer tan - good for you! However, remember to always apply an SPF of at least 30 - even on days you don’t plan on receiving a lot of sunlight. Just a few minutes walking to and from your car or outside doing a few household chores can result in minor sun burns (these add up)!

In regards to prevention, the Melanoma Research Foundation states there are two things one needs to be aware of:

  1. Reduce and limit UV (ultraviolet) exposure both from natural sunlight and artificial (e.g., tanning beds) sources
  2. Identify and diagnose melanoma as early as possible.

For more information, which includes your own self-screening guide to melanoma, visit:

As I always say, take care of yourself! Now that you have the tools to protect your precious skin, enjoy yourself, as well, this summer!

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