How To Tan Safely

Surfer Paradise BeachI like a tan. I always have. I live in Australia and we love our outdoors. Most of the population here lives near the coast. In fact I live in Queensland, which is known as the Sunshine State. Unfortunately Australia – and Queensland in particular – has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world, and this is largely due to our outdoor lifestyle.

I’m not suggesting for one moment that we should all hibernate indoors, as I believe that is unhealthy on a number of levels. Some sun regularly is good for the health, as is the fresh air, obviously, but too much can have consequences.

In some countries skin whitening is a big thing. In Western countries most of us are naturally pale and like to have at least a little bit of colour. How to tan safely has been a question on many people’s minds; not wanting to look pale, but also reluctant to enhance their risk of contracting any form of skin cancer.


Why We Like A Tan

Having some colour to the skin, just a hint of a bronzed look, tends to make us look healthier and slimmer. A tan gives the skin of the face (and the body as well) a bit of a glow. Pale skin is sometimes associated with being unhealthy. A tanned body also appears to look slimmer, even if the person’s body is exactly the same as when they were white. I performed a Google search to see if I could find an answer as to why it makes us look slimmer, but nothing came up. I’m assuming it has something to do with the way light reflects off brown skin as compared to white skin. Just like the colour black has always been heralded by those in fashion as being a slimming colour. In summer it’s almost expected to have a little tan, and golden brown skin looks really nice when wearing white clothing.


Sun Tanning

It’s the most natural way to tan, for sure, but in getting that lovely tan many of us seek we are often doing irreparable damage to our skin, even aside from the risks of skin cancer. As stated above, I’ve always been a big believer that some sun is good, but in moderation. It’s the most organic source of Vitamin D. The sun doesn’t actually feed us Vitamin D, but the skin generates this all-important vitamin when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Tanning is actually skin cells in trauma, reacting as a defence mechanism to protect us from the harsh light and heat of the sun. The darker the skin pigmentation the harder it is for ultraviolet light to penetrate. While some people are lucky and never develop any issues from over-exposure to sunlight, it does tend to age the skin by damaging those cells as well as dehydrating the skin. Two things that will definitely speed up the aging process.

 Solarium Tanning Bed


Are Tanning Beds Safe?

The short answer is NO.

If too much exposure to natural sunlight increases the risks of skin cancer, then the same goes for solariums. Tanning beds and stand up solariums emit ultraviolet light; and in concentrated amounts. It’s pretty rare that I could spend 10 minutes outside in the sun and get fried to the point of glowing red, but that can happen from a 10 minute stint in a stand up solarium. It is suggested that the lights used in solariums to create the ultraviolet light emit five times the amount of ultraviolet radiation than the midday sun.

I personally used to go to the solarium all the time. I could go when it was dark or when it was raining and walk out with a sun tan. I thought it was brilliant, not to mention quick. And it is, but the risks of contracting a skin cancer from a sunbed are far greater than that from the sun itself.

There is also the genuine risk of damage to the cornea of the eyes when being exposed to the concentrated UVA and UVB rays inside a solarium, that’s why you are given protective goggles to wear with very dark lenses.


Spray Tanning

Generally spray tanning is a great alternative. There are so many different spray tanning solutions and vendors on the market that it can really be a hit and miss affair whether they are of good quality or not. One thing I have learnt about spray tan solutions is that they take to some people’s skin much better than others for some reason. The quality of the gun and nozzle of the spray tanning equipment is also critical in being able to apply an even coverage of tan, as is the skill of the person doing the application.

Spray tans are quite safe and the solution doesn’t stain clothing at all. It washes right out. The downside is the tan can cost a few bucks, but doesn’t last very long. Models and bodybuilders are fans of the spray tan before an event, and I think that’s where a good quality spray tan comes into its own.


Self Tan Towelettes

These are quite new on the market and already proving to be great sellers. These are a quick, cheap alternative and work a bit like baby wipes. Generally you need to use at least two towelettes to get enough coverage for an all over, even tan. Basically they are a tanning lotion in the form of a moist towel for effortless and neat application. On Amazon you can buy a pack of 20 Glow 2 Go Self Tan Towelettes for around $15, enough to give you 10 instant tans! Click the image to the left and go check it out!



Home Tanning Lotions

Like the spray tan, sunless tanning products are extremely popular in the modern world, now that we’re all armed with the knowledge of the damage over-exposure to ultraviolet rays can do to our skin.

A product called Idol Tan has been featured heavily in the media in America in recent times. Idol Tan is manufactured in the USA to strict quality standards and has been heartily endorsed by celebrities and the stars of Hollywood. One of the things this product guarantees is to give you that bronzed, beach body look with no risk of developing that unsightly orange hue that some fake tanning lotions produce. It’s easy to apply straight from the bottle at home and is a cheaper and neater alternative overall to spray tans.

Idol Tan Benefits

The other advantage of tanning solutions such as Idol Tan, is they give you an even coverage. Even if you naturally have patchy, blotchy skin, once the lotion is applied your skin is left with an even tone and a beautiful glow.

If you would like to learn more about Idol Tan, click the image below for more information. Right now there is a FREE bottle on offer.

Idol Tan




  1. GinaGina
    November 5, 2015    

    Hmm I’ll have to check out this Idol Tan product.
    My boyfriend and I love being tan together but we rely on the tanning booth which we know isn’t good for you. Both of us have never been satisfied with a self tanner because our skin gets irritated and broken out easily. Would this be a problem with Idol Tan?

    • November 5, 2015    

      Hi Gina. I can’t guarantee that Idol Tan wouldn’t give you any irritation, as that kind of thing varies from person to person. Idol Tan is supposed to be made from all natural ingredients, so chances are your skin will be fine.

  2. SamDalSamDal
    March 8, 2016    

    Interesting product since tanning has historically always been associated with sprays, tanning beds, lotions, etc and their safety was always called into question as well as their rapid aging reputations.

    Have you had a chance to test out these towels? What has your overall experience with them been?

    I’m from Melbourne and although it can’t exactly be called the Sunshine State, it’s summers are brutally hot!

    • March 9, 2016    

      Hi Sam,

      I haven’t actually tried the towels out yet as they’ve only just come onto the market. My understanding is they work the same as the lotions, but can just be applied more conveniently with the towels. I’ve done everything else in this post though.

      I’ve spent some time in Melbourne in summer, and yes, it can get really really hot. Cheers.

  3. AlexandraAlexandra
    September 23, 2016    

    I have never tanned any other way than out in the sun, and to be honest, I mostly just burn.
    I always wonder about spray tans though. What kind of chemicals are they spraying all over your body? I wonder if it’s really any safer than plain old sunlight…
    Thanks for the well written breakdown though. Definitely gave me food for thought.

    • September 23, 2016    

      I’ve actually tried all these methods for tanning. Spray tans work pretty well and give you a really nice colour. They don’t last very long though. Manufacturers of spray tan liquids assure us they are safe, but I guess we never can really know for absolute certain.

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