I have always been a fan of a golden tan that makes you glow with health and feel on top of the world. No matter all the bad press on over exposure to sunshine, I have long held a strong, instinctive belief that sun is good for us.

Fortunately I was trained in beauty therapy 40 years ago, when the use of ultra violet light for beauty treatments was explained and governed by the laws that hospitals used to ensure there was no risk of overexposure.

The beauty therapy business has changed a lot in the last 40 years – it is now BIG business, and not everyone in it is trained. There have been many advances in sunbeds, but unfortunately they are not always in the hands of the ‘trained’ therapist and sadly the client is often the one in contol of their treatment time – frightening!

The quest for the ‘golden glow’ never abates. In fact the demand grows and grows. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this as long as it is achieved safely.

There are three main methods for tanning. They are all safe if used sensibly and with caution. They are:

  • natural sunlight – the advantages are that it helps improve mood and the condition SAD which is where an individual suffers from the lack of exposure to natural sunlight. It also stimulates the production of vitamin D in the skin. The potential disadvantage of overexposure to natural sunlight is skin burning and possibly skin cancer. To gain the advantages and minimise the potential for the disadvantages it is essential to protect the skin from the more dangerous ultra violet rays by applying a maximum factor skin protection preparation and re-applying regularly. Also avoiding long periods in the sun, especially at the hottest times of the day 11.00 – 3.00 will greatly reduce the risks. A good tan can be easily achieved even sitting in the safety of shade, wearing protective sun cream and suitable protective clothing (hat, tee shirt).
  • sunbeds – although these can be a very safe method of stimulating a tan, they are only safe when admisnistered by the qualified and suitably trained. Ultra violet rays are not hot, and it is so very easy for the user to be tempted to stay on a sunbed longer than is appropriate because you do not feel anything. Over-exposure to ultra violet light will not make you feel ill immediately. Usually you will begin to feel unwelll about 8 hours later, suffering headaches and often vomitting. In the worst cases there can also be blistering and skin burns that will result in charred skin peeling away. I have seen the results of these mistakes too often not to want to warn as many people as possible of the dangerous consequences of the misuse of this type of equipment.
  • fake tan products – the safest way to achieve the ‘golden glow’. Only two potential disadvantages. As with any product containing chemicals you may suffer skin sensitivity or an allergic reation. The other problem often experienced is the actual result achieved, which on many occasions is anything but ‘natural’ looking. We have all experienced the ‘tangoed’ individual that draws gasps of shock and often laughter. There are good products on the market, but agan I would advise caution of use – ‘less is most definitely more’ in the case of fake tan.

Personally my choice lies in the controlled, gentle pleasure of basking in the sun which can be topped up where necessary (legs particularly) in the winter months with a simple spray tan. My favourite is the spray from Sun Laboratories – just love it!