Get a good tan in a perfect and uniform way is the dream of every self-respecting Italian vacationer, in summer on the beaches or in winter on the ski slopes. The dark and golden color of the skin is an aesthetic whim across the social level, but also a timeless status of prestige. Being tanned still today is synonymous with health and well-being from a physical and economic point of view.
How tan well and quickly, why are we fascinated by the color of the skin and what precautions must be taken when sunbathing? The sun’s rays offer benefits but risks that should not be underestimated and to maintain healthy skin under the scorching sun you must always expose yourself on the beach protected by sunscreen. Let’s start from the beginning trying to understand what a tan is.
Tanning as a fashion
Get a tan today it is synonymous with vacation, in itself a form of social status. Wealthy industrialists, VIPs and famous celebrities are always ready to show off a perfect tan, neither too light nor too dark. If being able to afford a holiday by the sea or in the mountains is not for everyone, there are those who, to become dark and look healthier, make do on the balcony of the city. But that wasn’t always the case.
The meaning of tanning it has changed in every age. In ancient Rome, aristocratic women protected themselves with umbrellas by showing off their very white skin. This habit continued over the centuries throughout the Middle Ages until the 1900s. Keeping white skin was a luxury that only the rich could afford, not having to work in the scorching sun like the peasants.
At least until the nineteenth century the wealthy and the more affluent social classes carefully avoided expose yourself to the sun. It was only after 1903, with the discovery of phototherapy, that the benefits of being in the sun were discovered. Indeed, the sun’s rays produce vitamin D, which is useful for treating infectious diseases, lupus and rickets. Still the aesthetic fashion of getting a tan as we intend it had nothing to do with it.
In the 1920s it was the designer Coco Chanel who launched the trend of tanned skin in Costa Smeralda. Color television of the 1960s turned tanning into a fashion trend. Getting tanned was free and democratic and made everyone agree, economic boom and youth revolution. Hollywood actors and stars were the ideal testimonials for commercials that imposed a new mass status symbol that everyone could afford, even without going on vacation.
What is tanning?
In a few decades we have gone from covering the skin with an umbrella in the summer to tanning as a fashion and even as an addiction. Compulsive tanning has been as much a problem in American healthcare as cigarettes and junk food. Sunbed craze has recently involved some 30 million Americans who put their health at risk with ultraviolet rays for a sense of contentment from the sun.
If today we think of a healthy and tanned body and to the dark complexion as a synonym of beauty or health, in reality there is no evolutionary advantage that drives us to sunbathe, in fact the exact opposite is true. When we expose the skin to the sun, the body adopts natural defenses to protect itself from the harmful ultraviolet rays. Only 5% of the rays are reflected by the superficial layer of the epidermis, while the others penetrate the cells that produce melatonin whose primary purpose is to absorb energy.
There melatonin produces a colored pigment that prevents UVB radiation from damaging the cells: the more the skin is threatened, the more it forms a protective colored shield. This phenomenon is different in the various areas of the planet. Those with fair skin and blond or red hair have a less effective protective pigment and burn more easily than those with naturally darker skin. Below we will see how everyone must still take precautions to avoid damaging the skin even seriously.
Tanning without risk
THE sunrays they improve mood, regulate hormonal rhythms and promote the production of the precious vitamin D. Exposure to the sun has many benefits: it produces serotonin and endorphins involved in the mechanisms of mood and pleasure, promotes sleep by stimulating the production of melatonin, it can solve skin diseases, be good for the heart by reducing pressure and help the immune system.
But thetanning at all costs it can also be a real enemy of health. Incorrect exposure to UVA and UVB rays can cause problems such as sunburn, photoallergic reactions and even more serious alterations such as tumors. Without considering that prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause dehydration of the skin and the production of free radicals causes it to age prematurely with the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots at any age.
There is also a handbook written by the Italian Ministry of Health on how to behave to prevent the most serious diseases. The advice of dermatologists is always the same:natural tan under the sun it must be avoided in the hottest hours (from 12-16); you must not be exposed for more than 30 consecutive minutes and you must always use protective creams.
Since 2009 the tanning lamps are considered carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Since 2011, minors, pregnant women and those who easily burn themselves are prohibited in Italy. They are used to prepare for summer, however they are still used by 25% of women under 40 and by 10% of men from 10% who love a dark complexion. In reality, as explained by the Istituto Superiore della Sanità, to darken even in winter it is better to abandon the beds and use only self-tanning sprays and creams.
Which sun creams to use
Regardless of the color of the skin and the fact of being on a beach, we have all experienced the pleasure of being exposed to the sun, which even out of season has an immediate positive effect on mood. However, its rays can be very harmful, cause dark spots and age the skin. Tanning therefore means using basic protective creams to protect the skin from the sun.
The sun creams they should be spread 15 minutes before exposure, repeating the application every two hours. It is good to choose quality products avoiding chemical filters with dyes, perfumes, synthetic preservatives, PEGs and parabens. How to choose a good sunscreen? Everyone has a different skin type but there are some rules that apply to everyone starting with the sun protection factor.
The SPF (Solar Protection Factor) is a standard inserted by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) that indicates how many times a cream reduces the possibility of the skin being damaged by the sun. The best sun creams they protect against UVA and UVB rays and must have a sun protection factor of at least between 30 and 60 depending on the complexion to which the phototype corresponds divided on a scale of 5 from the most intolerant to the sun (I) to very dark (V) .
To have guaranteed sun protection it is necessary to apply on the skin a minimum quantity of cream all over the body, established in 2 mg / cm2, about 40 grams which is equivalent to 6 teaspoons. If a cream is water resistant it allows you to swim and exercise on the beach, although it is still recommended to repeat the application after each bath and every two hours.
Some studies have observed that after 4 hours there is 40% less protection which rises to 50% in 8 hours. After sunbathing in the evening, it is necessary to moisturize the skin with a refreshing and anti-inflammatory after-sun cream in order to avoid the phenomenon of flaking. The best ones contain only natural ingredients such as aloe, argan oil, shea butter.
Food to preserve the skin
A few weeks before sun exposure, but also in the hours or days before, a targeted action of protection and preparation of the skin is needed, to be activated with food to remove the damage of free radicals. Before leaving for a beach holiday or a ski holiday, it is good to drink centrifuged, detox smoothies and drink lots of water to purify and revitalize the entire body.
To make the skin healthy, green light for seasonal fruit and vegetables; variety and mix of colors are the best indicators to establish the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Do not forget blue fish, oil seeds and a good extra virgin olive oil and other foods such as carrots. Best source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that transforms into vitamin A and protects the skin from age damage and the harmful effects of solar radiation.
Eat raw or better still just blanched, carrots seasoned with a good extra virgin olive oil or with oil seeds favor the absorption of beta-carotene. It is possible to prepare a juice with 1 orange and 3 carrots to be accompanied with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. To be taken daily in the 3-4 weeks before sun exposure. The variant is with 3 carrots, 6 apricots and the juice of one lemon
Spirulina platensis Green-blue microalgae known as spirulina is a valid food supplement rich in beta-carotene, B vitamins, proteins, mineral salts and trace elements. It is a perfect ally to provide the body with protection against free radicals, maintain the hydrosaline balance and promote the synthesis of melanin, the pigment responsible for the dark color of the skin and its protection from sun damage. Buy Spirulina in tablet form at a pharmacy or herbalist’s shop and start taking it one month before exposure.
Avocado Contains valuable antioxidant substances such as vitamin E and beta-carotene. One of the best ways to enjoy avocado is in the form of guacamole, a very tasty Mexican sauce while it can be a valid help for those who want to prepare a highly effective moisturizing mask.
Aloe vera The juice has a natural protective factor that corresponds to the number 4 and in general proves to be a valid help for the protective function of the cells against damage from solar radiation, even in cases of sunburn. Applied one day before exposure, it also prevents erythema on its own. Choose pure Aloe vera juice without chemical additions in the pharmacy.
Scrub to tan better
Scrubs are energetic massages that help the skin regenerate itself by freeing it of dead cells in order to promote a more complete tan. They are easy to prepare and are to be used once a week, starting at least one month before getting a tan. In general, you can adopt targeted natural DIY cosmetics recipes to cleanse, soothe, strengthen and cleanse the skin.
For prepare a scrub 2 tablespoons of sugar, the grated rind of a lemon and a tablespoon of oil are enough to have an effective solution ready to be applied to the previously moistened body, a more or less vigorous massage in the different parts of the body ensures a luminous and silky skin. Bran and wholemeal flours in general can be used instead of sugar, which combined with oil have an emulsifying and exfoliating action on the skin of the whole body.
Pre sun mask To be applied a few hours before exposure, it reveals a panacea for the skin of the face, making it stronger and ready to welcome the sun’s rays in the most suitable hours. Mash half an avocado, 1 tablespoon of aloe juice, 1 teaspoon of pulverized spirulina algae and 1 teaspoon of oil with a fork.
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