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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at LIM chapter.

In undergrad, I was the queen of the tanning bed. I went to school in a small college town in rural New Hampshire, where there were 3 tanning salons within a 1-mile radius from campus. They made the packages so cheap, that it seemed like a steal. Everyone feels better when they’re tan and it’s especially easy to get hooked on that confidence. No one wants to be the pale girl at the party in the sea of bronzed goddesses.

My junior year, I went to Mexico for Spring Break with a group of my friends. We all started obsessively building up our tans about a month before our trip. I even upgraded to the highest level to get the darkest I could before we left. When we arrived, we looked like we had already spent a week there before we even hit the beach. Pictures to prove it.

All throughout college, I was tanning consistently, until one day I received a text from my mom that shocked me. Skin cancer runs in my family, especially on her side. She had gotten cancer cells taken off the top of her lip, a few years back, but I didn’t think it was anything too serious. When I opened up her text I saw she had sent me a horrific selfie. A large triangle shaped gash spread from her hairline down a few inches to her forehead. (I’ll spare you the gory image)

Her text read, “Just had to get more cancerous cells removed from my face…STOP TANNING!”. Later, I found out she had to get over 15 stitches to close it up. That’s when I quit cold turkey.

It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve been in a tanning bed, and I don’t plan on ever stepping foot in one again. Truth is, tanning is bad for you. According to skin specialists at Melanoma.org, using tanning beds before the age of 30 increases your risk of developing Melanoma by 75%. That is a terrifying statistic. There are many options to getting a beautiful tan, without literally cooking your body. The addictive cycle might be hard to break at first, but it is so much healthier in the long run.

If you start to see any changes in your skin, such as new moles, or darker pigments go to a dermatologist to have your skin screened. Better safe than sorry! Always, always ALWAYS wear SPF. This will help prevent further sun damage. Many moisturizers or foundations now include at least the minimum of SPF 15, so take advantage of those products. If you do want to tan, always use sunless. I’ve listed my favorite tanning options below for radiant color that won’t damage your skin.

Go Sunless at Your Local Salon

I’m an avid endorser of spray tans.They get a bad rep because most people are too scared that they will come out of the booth orange, or uneven (I personally blame Ross from Friends). I’ve used chains such as Tommy’s Tanning and Suntan City, and each location has the VersaSpa Systems. This machine will give you step by step voice directions on how and when to post. You can choose light, medium or dark in clear or added bronzer formula option. Clear will spray on without any color and the pigment will develop gradually throughout the day. Bronzer provides an instant effect, so you will see the end result right away. You can also get a professional to come to your home and give you a personalized tan (Plus side, they can  give you abs).

DIY at Home

Want to get your glow from home? Here are my favorite sunless products!

Lotion: For a gradual tan with natural looking results, Jergens Natural Glow Daily Firming Moisturizer, $9.99; Ulta. 

Spray: For instant color that develops darker within 3-5 hours, Body Drench Quick Tan Bronzing Spray, $10.47; ( my favorite for a quick, natural-looking tan)

Body Oil: For a daily light bronze shimmer that washes off, Kopari Coconut Body Glow, $42.00; Koparibeauty.com ( can also be used as a highlighter!)

Casey Miller is a graduate student studying Fashion Marketing at LIM College. While living New York City she has interned for two national magazines as well as womenswear designer Christian Siriano. She also runs her own blog and is a digital influencer for Cosmopolitan Magazine's Social Patrol. For all things fashion, beauty and lifestyle check out her blog www.frombeginningtotrend.com.