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You there! Protect your Skin!

The sun is coming out, the birds are chirping, the snow is finally (!!) melting… It seems like summer is on its way.

Tanning is the primary activity most women (and men) do during the hot season to have a healthy glow. Before, fashion pretty much stated ‘darker the better’. However, the fashion industry has been taking a new perspective on the trend, going towards a whole new look. Fair skin is the new healthy look. You heard right ladies; you might want to replace your sunscreen SPF15 with some SPF35.

What is great about their outlook is that it is not for short-term aesthetic goals, like when women thought it was ‘sexy’ to have no eyebrows. With Vogue encouraging us to have alabaster skin, the effects are positive for our long-term health. This prevents unrepairable damage to your skin that could cause skin cancer such as Melanoma. Not to mention, you will look twice your age at 40 years old if you practice careless tanning.

Okay, sure, we’ve heard so much about those diseases that we are desensitized. Well, you should fear them because YOLO will not cure you if you do end up being part of the 2% who will be affected. It may not sound like a lot, but what if I tell you we are about 40 000 students attending the University of Ottawa? This means 800 uOttawa students will be diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime. Scary? Very, and you could be part of that group. We are all at risks, no matter what our skin type is.

By promoting such a healthy lifestyle, the fashion industry is taking a step forward by using their influence to help our society. They praise those who support the cause, such as Cosmopolitan, and disapprove of those who promote unhealthy lifestyles, such as H&M.

Since 2006, Cosmopolitan has been promoting the PSS (Practice Safe Sun) campaign. Their goal is to make women aware of the effects of UV rays on their skin so they can make healthy and wise decisions. On their website, they offer a multitude of articles on unhealthy habits, such as indoor-tanning, and offer alternatives to still get the tanned look without damaging our fragile skin. They also have a ‘Hall of Shame’ that shows pictures of very badly tanned people to deter women from taking the risks. I have to admit, orange skin is not very attractive.

Now, we are all aware that tanning has very bad consequences on our body in the long-term. We can develop skin cancer and our skin can age prematurely, but careless tanning can also cause many negative effects that show immediately. Sun can trigger rashes and skin inflammation, and do not get me started on sunburns. An important fact to point out is that the medication you are taking can accelerate those unwanted burns. It doesn’t matter if you are in a booth or on a beach, read your pill’s labels carefully and adapt your UV exposure accordingly.

Indoor tanning and spray tanning are two common methods women use to get more color, mostly during winter, but also during summer. Even though many consider spray tanning as a safer method, it still is not “better”. In fact, the fumes (DHA) you inhale during the process are very toxic and can also get into your blood stream. This could promote the development of cancer. Of course, this is worsened when you are often exposed to the chemicals for a long period of time. So, if you are adamant on getting a spray tan nonetheless, it is highly recommended getting a handheld airbrush tan instead of going into an enclosed box like Mystic Booth. Also, make sure their ventilation is good because we can never be too cautious.

Tanning beds are, let’s be honest, a great way to get a natural looking tan without actually having to go to Cuba for spring break. Many regular users have explained to me that using tanning booths will reduce acne as well as prevent depression, which is a common health issue during our long Canadian winters. However, we need to consider that the concentrated UV exposure could actually be a lot more damaging than the sun. Tanning booths send a higher concentration of UVA rays instead of UVB rays. The latter causes sunburns and they are associated with skin cancer, whereas UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, getting it to turn brown. However, it is those rays that cause skin aging, brown spots and fine lines. So, even though you will not suffer the side effects right away, you can trust the damage will be apparent in the future.

After all this research and weighing on the pros and cons, the conclusion is clear: Protect your skin! Do not use these artificial methods to get tanned and most importantly, wear sunscreen when you are out in the sun. Sure, being tanned makes you feel slightly better, but when you will be 45 years old and you will look 10 years older, you will regret not listening to us (and so will your husband).

Sunscreen is an important ingredient to our daily lives during our summer days. So here are little reminders;

1. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure
2. Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater.
3. Avoid buying sunscreen with oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate.
4. Apply sunscreen before getting dressed so you do not miss any spots.
5. Reapply sunscreen every hour, especially if you are outside between 10 am and 3pm.
6. Make sure your sunscreen and your sunglasses protect you from UVB and UVA rays.
7. Makeup with SPF is not a substitute for sunscreen.

This summer, make cautious decisions because you are the only one who can protect yourself. This could also be a perfect excuse to buy some new accessories. Is anybody in need of a glamorous hat?

If you would like to know more about Cosmo’s PSS campaign, follow the link below:













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