Everything Looks Better With A Tan
I’m standing in the makeup trailer, stark naked except for my g-string, trying not to inhale as Donna, the makeup artist, sprays me tan. [This photo is not me, by the way; it's just for visual effect.] I started the shoot very resistant to the sunless tan, scared that it would turn me orange and leek horrible toxins into my body. But after two weeks of sticky body makeup that stains my clothes I decide to give it a try. I start with my legs and then add my arms and pretty soon the other actresses convince me to go for the full body.
Donna finishes and I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I am thrilled- I LOVE my tan. You have to understand that I am of English/Belgian descent. I have never had a tan. I spent my childhood applying solarcaine to my peeling sunburn.
This is fantastic. I am a new woman. I wear shorts, white sleeveless shirts and tiny sundresses. Everything looks better with a tan- let’s face it. My leg dimples (ok, cellulite) are barely noticeable and my arms and abs look toned (post baby and well into my forties that’s something to get excited about). The ultimate compliment comes from my husband when I return home from location. I am stepping out of the shower and he says, “your tan makes your breasts look perkier,” those were his exact words. Did I say, this is fantastic?
Sadly without Donna to maintain my color, reality soon sets in and I start fading. The clock strikes midnight and I’m back to my Casper The Friendly Ghost self.
I resist the temptation to run to the drugstore and stock up on Banana Boat Self Tanner deciding instead to do a little research on bronzers. After all, it would be too ironic to die of the toxic chemicals in sunless tanners having spent the last 20 years under a wide brimmed hat slathered in sun block, trying to avoid the cancer causing, wrinkle inducing rays of the sun.
What I find is that dihydroxyacetone (DHA), is the active ingredient found in most sunless tanning products. It is a colorless sugar that reacts with the dead cells located in the upper layer of the skin. As the sugar interacts with the dead skin cells, a color change occurs. The effect is temporary, because as the dead cells naturally slough off, the color fades, disappearing within a week unless the lotion has been reapplied. It is approved by the FDA and using it is also recommended by the Skin Cancer Organization, American Academy of Dermatology, The American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association. The risks, if any, of inhaling or ingesting DHA are unknown so it’s recommended that you close your eyes and hold your breath, if applying the tanner by spray.
One recent study does mention that skin treated with DHA produces 180 percent more free radicals when it is exposed to UV light than untreated skin does. Free radicals cause damage to vital skin components like collagen and elastin and the result is skin-aging inflammation. The trick is to avoid sun exposure after you apply self-tanner. The only other warning I find is about how to avoid a splotchy tan.
I suppose the safest route is to stick with an organic tanner or to make it yourself. Ultimately, remaining perpetually bronzed is too high maintenance for me but I keep my stash of sunless tanners handy for that special occasion or just in case my breasts need some perking up.
photo credit: www.spraytan.info/ ladyspraytanning.jpg
published originally on Ecoperks.com