It’s May! Sunshine facts and tips for summer

Take a long, deep breath. Feel that? It’s MAY! We made it through the winter! Before summer hits us full-on, let’s talk a little bit about sun exposure.

There are some real dangers associated with too much time in the sun. Sunburn is the most common problem we face. It’s not just a minor annoyance, sun burn is actually the result of deep cellular damage to your skin cells. Sure, that burn might go away in a week or so, but over time, this cellular damage becomes noticeable in other ways. It can give the skin a “leathery” look. It’s more wrinkly, flaky, and discolored that healthy skin. It is also weakened and will bruise more easily, even though it appears to be thicker.

There are bigger worries than unattractive skin, however. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer found today, and many doctors believe that limiting over-exposure to the sun can help prevent it. Certain skin cancers, such as melanoma, can also spread to other areas of the body if not treated in time. This can be life-threatening. So please take sun exposure seriously if you have shrugged it off in the past.

Staying out of direct sunlight is the best way to protect yourself, but chances are, you aren’t completely nocturnal, so you’re going to have to go outdoors! When you do, these tips will help minimize the damage:

  • Wear sunscreen! Always. Every day. Even in winter. Be sure to look at the SPF number on your sunscreen. The larger the SPF number, the greater the amount of protection. Everyone should use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. If you have had  skin cancer or precancer, you should use a sunscreen with an even higher SPF. Many of the new sunscreens have SPFs of 30, 45, or even higher.
  • Wear sunglasses that filter UV light. Many brands make stylish shades that also offer this protection. UV Rays can damage your eyes as well.
  • Wear protective clothing to help shield your skin. Invest in a good hat! The top of your head is usually a tough spot to lather on the sunscreen, but your hair doesn’t cover your scalp the way a hat does.
  • Avoid the mid-day sun. The UV rays that damage your skin are most powerful between 10am to 3pm.

Sunshine isn’t evil, though! In fact, if you don’t get enough sunshine in your life, you can potentially get what is known as SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.  When exposed to less-than-usual sunlight (like during the winter months when sunlight is more scarce) your body produces more melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.  Your brain also begins producing lower levels of serotonin — the neurotransmitter that affects mood, appetite, sleep, and sexual desire. Simply put, SAD can make you feel sad. Catching a few rays can lift your spirits. Your body also absorbs vitamin D from the sun. The sun isn’t the only place you can get vitamin D, many foods are manufactured to be fortified with Vitamin D, but a little natural vitamin D outside is free and fun!

The sun makes you feel good. And then of course, there’s the way the sun makes you look. Indeed, a tan can make you look younger, healthier, and reduce the appearance of cellulite and age spots. But is vanity worth the risk of skin cancer? No, it certainly isn’t! Many women lay out in direct sunlight for hours to get that perfect tan, but even with sunscreen on, UV rays can penetrate your skin and cause damage. Tanning beds, even though they aren’t real sunlight, carry the same risks because they use the same dangerous rays.

There’s good news, though – there are SAFE tanning products that you can use to bronze your skin without actually using the sun or tanning beds!

Airbrush tanning uses an all natural compound called DHA. DHA isn’t a dye, paint, or stain. It’s actually a non-toxic, organic compound that creates a chemical reaction with the amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin.  This reaction does not involve the underlying skin pigmentation, nor does it require exposure to ultraviolet light to initiate the change in color. DHA is approved by the FDA, and does not carry the serious risks that tanning outdoors or using a tanning bed does. It is a vegan, organic, and safe alternative. It’s also much cheaper and quicker than you might think. Don’t be shy, give it a try this summer!

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What IS a tan, anyway?

It’s one of those things you probably wonder about for a minute and then never bother to think about again…  What IS a tan? How does your body change color like that?

Well, wonder no longer! There are a few different ways your body can tan naturally. The most obvious is, of course, from the sun! Light from the sun reaches earth in three forms: visible light, ultraviolet light, and infrared. That second type, ultraviolet light, is classified into three categories:

1. UVC, which doesn’t affect us because it’s filtered out by the atmosphere before it can get to our skin.

2. UVB, which typically causes damage in the form of sunburn.

3.  UVA or black light, which causes tanning.

The problems we associate with sun exposure, such as skin cancer, wrinkles, etc. are mostly caused by harmful UVB rays. Research suggests UVA might have an increasing hand in these things as well, however. Most of the sun’s UV radiation at sea level is of the UVA variety.
UVA can be reflected off of snow or water. Snow actually reflects roughly 90% of UV light, which is why you can get severe sun burns while skiing. Sand reflects up to 20% of UVB too, so at the beach, you’re getting more UV exposure than you would sitting in your backyard. It’s hitting you from above and below! There are certain surfaces that can absorb UV radiation rather than reflect it, such as certain types of glass.

Ultraviolet light in the sun stimulates the production of melanin in our skin. This pigment absorbs UV light, protecting cells from damage. Imagine you put a sponge on top of a piece of paper and slowly dropped beads of water onto it. The sponge would soak the water up before it can ruin the paper. That’s sort of what your melanin does to UV rays. Over time, this protective pigment makes your skin look darker, hence: a tan! Caucasians typically have the least amount of melanin in their skin on a day-to-day basis, but in many other races, there is a continuous melanin production, which causes the skin to remain pigmented and also offers more protection against UV rays on a daily basis.

It’s important to note that all UV rays are potentially dangerous. If you keep dropping water onto that sponge, eventually, it will soak through and damage the paper. That’s fine when we’re talking about metaphorical paper, but not so great when we’re talking about your skin! UV rays can cause deep damage to your cells, which results in painful sunburn at best and fatal skin cancer at worst. It’s important to protect yourself from skin damage by wearing sunscreen when you’re outside. Avoiding direct sunlight is the best way to protect yourself. This really ruins your chance at a tan, though.

There’s one more way that you can get naturally darker skin, however. That’s through DHA.  DHA is a non-toxic, organic compound that creates a chemical reaction within the amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin. This reaction does not involve the underlying skin pigmentation, nor does it require exposure to ultraviolet light to initiate the change in color. It is similar to the maillard reaction which occurs in food. It’s a natural, temporary color that looks just like a tan that occurs from melanin. The active ingredient in airbrush tanning is DHA. The color produced in an airbrush tan typically lasts 7-10 days, but it is much safer than roasting yourself in the sun or using a tanning bed.

Imperfections? What Imperfections?

No body’s perfect. Everyone has something they’re self-conscious of or wishes they could hide. You’re beautiful and you should embrace your body, with or without your imperfections… but if there were a quick, safe, pain-free way to look healthier, slimmer, and younger for under $50, would you be interested? You might be surprised to learn that an airbrush tan does all this!

These aren’t your mother’s spray tans. Back in the day, people used stains and dyes to color the skin a “tan” color, but it often ended up looking orange and streaky. Today, we use a safe, organic compound called DHA in our airbrush tans instead of artificial colors and dyes. DHA works on the very top layer of your skin and doesn’t penetrate or damage deeper skin cells the way that tanning beds can. It creates a tan in a natural way and is approved by the FDA. Our products are vegan and cruelty-free so you can feel as good as you look.

Our technicians are specially trained and know which formulas will look best with your unique skin tone. We will apply it evenly over your body so that it won’t look blotchy or unnatural in any areas. We can even contour the application to make you look thinner, have bigger cleavage, and even have more toned muscles. We can even out your skin tone and do wonders to hide varicose veins, age spots, cellulite, scars and stretch marks. It’s incredible what some well-placed color can do.

Pale skin washes you out and can leave you looking frail and sunken-in. A little color livens you up and leaves you looking younger and healthier in minutes.

Time to see what an amazing make-over it can be – Make an appointment today!

The sun can hurt – we can help!

Us humans look great with a tan. A little color helps us look healthier, younger, and even slimmer! Unfortunately, that color can come at a cost. I don’t mean money, I mean your health!

Sunburn is the most common health problem associated with too much sun exposure. I know what you’re thinking: “Sunburn isn’t fun, but we’ve all had it to varying degrees and we’re fine”… but it’s not just annoying and uncomfortable, sun burn is actually the result of deep cellular damage to your skin cells.  Over time, this damage becomes noticeable in other ways. It can give the skin that “leathery” look. It’s more wrinkly, flakey, and discolored that healthy skin. It is also weakened and will bruise more easily, even if it appears to be thicker.

Still not concerned about health effects from the sun? You might be surprised to learn that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer found today, and many doctors believe that limiting over-exposure to the sun can help prevent it. Too much exposure to direct sunlight can increase your chances of developing skin cancer, and certain skin cancers, such as melanoma, can also spread to other areas of the body if not treated in time, so it’s nothing to scoff at.

Staying out of direct sunlight is the best way to protect yourself, but there’s no way to completely avoid the sun! When you go outdoors, these tips will help minimize the damage:

Wear sunscreen! Be sure to look at the SPF number on your sunscreen. The larger the SPF number, the greater the amount of protection. Everyone should use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. If you have had skin cancer or pre-cancer, you should use a sunscreen with an even higher SPF. Many of the new sunscreens have SPFs of 30, 45, or even higher.

Wear sunglasses that filter UV light. Many brands make stylish shades that also offer this protection. UV Rays can damage your eyes as well as your skin.

Wear protective clothing to help shield your skin. Invest in a good hat! The top of your head is usually a tough spot to lather on the sunscreen, but your hair doesn’t cover your scalp the way a hat does.

Avoid the mid-day sun. The UV rays that damage your skin are most powerful between 10am to 3pm.

But what about getting a tan?

Many people lay out in direct sunlight for hours to get that perfect tan, but even with sunscreen on, UV rays can penetrate your skin and cause damage. Tanning beds, even though they aren’t real sunlight, carry the same risks because they use the same dangerous rays.

There’s good news, though – there are SAFE tanning products that you can use to bronze your skin without actually using the sun or tanning beds!

Airbrush tanning uses an all natural compound called DHA. DHA isn’t a dye, paint, or stain. It’s actually a non-toxic, organic compound that creates a chemical reaction with the amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin.  This reaction does not involve the underlying skin pigmentation, nor does it require exposure to ultraviolet light to initiate the change in color. DHA is approved by the FDA, and does not carry the serious risks that tanning outdoors or using a tanning bed does. It is a vegan, organic, and safe alternative. These tans last 7-10 days and are the safest option for those who desire tan skin but don’t want to risk the permanent damage that UV radiation can cause.

The Safety of Spray Tans

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the research showing how dangerous sun exposure can be. We’ve learned that the UV rays in the sun that damage our skin are also found in tanning beds. This might lead you to wondering about the safety of airbrush tanning as well.

Let’s start with the basics – What is an airbrush tan? How does it work?

When you get an airbrush tan, a technician uses as specialized tool to evenly spray a solution on your skin. This solution soaks into your skin and leaves you with a natural tan for approximately 7-10 days.  The solution we’re referring to contains Dihydroxyacetone or “DHA” – I know it sounds kind of scary, but DHA isn’t some sort of toxic chemical! In fact, it’s a completely NON-toxic, organic compound and it creates a reaction with the amino acids in the stratum corneum, which is the very outermost layer of your skin. This reaction is completely natural, it’s similar to the one that makes an apple turn brown when you cut into it. When you tan outdoors or in a tanning bed, the color change happens in the deepest layer of your skin, called the basal layer. UV Rays from the sun or the bed penetrate deeply into your body to initiate the color change, but it can also cause serious skin damage and even cancer. Your sun tan might be temporary, but the sun has broken down the DNA in your skin cells permanently. With DHA, nothing penetrates that deeply. The DHA stays on the surface of the skin and the reaction doesn’t affect anything below that first outer layer of skin. We are always shedding and re-growing skin. When that top skin flakes off, the color from your airbrush tan leaves with it. Nothing is permanent with an airbrush tan.

But is DHA safe?

The FDA has done extensive research and deemed DHA safe to use. You should not ingest the solution and you should not get it into your eyes, nose, or mouth. So, when you get an airbrush tan, keep your eyes and mouth closed, and don’t inhale the solution. Some people prefer to use nose clips as well, just to be safe. There are some people who have been known to have an allergic reaction to spray tans, but that’s usually due to other ingredients in the solutions used. If you’re sensitive and have many skin allergies, you might want to test a small area to see how it reacts before you do your whole body. Airbrush tanning does NOT carry the risk of skin cancer or photo-aging that the sun or tanning beds do.

There have been issues reported with other tanning products that are sometimes called tan enhancers, accelerators, promoters, or amplifiers. Many of these products interact with the sun to create an even deeper color, so they are actually accentuating the damage done to the skin by the sun itself. There are also oral pills, which are banned commercially in the U.S. and for good reason. They contain the carotenoid chemical (the same pigment found in carrots), and have been associated with a variety or disorders including hepatitis and hives.  Airbrush tanning contains NONE of these risks either. It won’t protect you from the dangers of the sun, though. So when you leave the house, you’re always encouraged to wear sunscreen with an appropriate SPF number to minimize your risk of damage from the sun.

So airbrush tanning is basically the safest way we’ve found to get a tan! It’s also the fastest. You can get a full body tan in about 15 minutes as opposed to laying in the sun for hours!  I bet you’ll be surprised to learn that it’s also quite affordable. Some salons, like Shine in Denver, even offer an option to do a mobile tanning session, where they bring the equipment to your house for you and tan you in the comfort of your own home! Give it a try and see for yourself. It’s fast, cheap, and SAFE! Why not?

Science of Tanning

1221There are several ways you can get a natural tan. The most obvious is from the sun. Light from the sun reaches the earth in three different forms: visible light, infrared light, and ultraviolet light. The last type, ultraviolet light, is classified into three separate categories:
* UVA or black light, which causes tanning.
* UVB, which typically causes damage in the form of sunburn.
* UVC, which doesn’t affect us because it’s filtered out by the atmosphere before it can get to our skin.
The problems we associate with sun exposure, such as premature aging, skin cancer, sun spots, etc. are primarily caused by harmful UVB rays. Research suggests UVA might have a hand in these things as well. Most of the sun’s UV radiation at sea level is UVA rays.
UVA can be reflected, as well. Snow actually reflects roughly 90% of UV light, which is why you can get severe sun burns while skiing or snow boarding. Sand reflects up to 20% of UVB too, so at the beach, you’re getting more UV exposure than you would be getting if you were sitting in your backyard. Water also reflects UV light, although it doesn’t prevent it from penetrating the surface of the water. You can still get burned while swimming. Some surfaces can absorb these rays rather than reflect them. Certain types of glass do this, and our own melanin in our skin absorbs UV light to some degree.

Ultraviolet light in the sun stimulates the production of melanin. This pigment protects cells from damage by absorbing as much UV radiation as it can. Imagine you put a sponge on top of a piece of paper and slowly dropped beads of water onto it. The sponge would soak the water up before it can ruin the paper. That’s sort of what your melanin does to UV rays. It can become saturated, though. Eventually if you keep dropping water on it, the paper will be ruined.

It’s this protective melanin in your skin which gets darker and creates what we call a tan. Caucasians typically have the least amount of melanin in their skin on a day-to-day basis, but in many other races, there is a continuous melanin production, which causes the skin to remain pigmented and also offers more protection against UV rays.

It’s important to note that all UV rays are potentially dangerous. They can cause deep damage to your cells, which results in painful sunburn at best and fatal skin cancer at worst. It’s important to protect yourself from skin damage by wearing sunscreen when you’re outside. Avoiding direct sunlight is the best way to protect yourself. This really ruins your chance at a tan, though.

There is one more way that you can get naturally darker skin, however. That’s through DHA.  DHA is an organic compound naturally found in your own body that creates a chemical reaction within the amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin when applied directly to the exterior of your body. This reaction does not involve the underlying skin pigmentation, nor does it require exposure to ultraviolet light to initiate the change in color.  It is similar to the maillard reaction which occurs in food. It’s a natural, temporary color that looks just like a tan that occurs from melanin. The active ingredient in airbrush tanning is DHA. The color produced in an airbrush tan typically lasts 7-10 days, but it is much safer than roasting yourself in the sun or using a tanning bed.

Healthy Tanning. Ban the bed!

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I had a friend who was committed to living a healthy lifestyle. She only ate organic vegan food, she worked out, she was sure to get a yearly check ups and did monthly self-breast exams, she tried to use holistic medicines when she was sick as much as possible, but then I found out that she was still using tanning beds! I couldn’t believe it. It turns out she had no idea how harmful they can be. She knew that laying in the sun could cause skin damage, including cancer, but she assumed that tanning beds were different, that they were safer…  the truth is, tanning beds use UV Rays, and those are what cause skin damage!

There are two types of UV rays – UVA and UVB. Most tanning beds emit mainly UVA rays, although some “high pressure” tanning beds emit a more concentrated mixture of the two. UV Radiation has harmful side effects such as  skin cancer, cataracts, premature skin aging, and suppression of the immune system. UVA rays in particular have been shown to increase the chance of getting melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer! As great as getting a perfect tan can be, it’s not worth dying for.

The FDA has banned the use of tanning booths by minors and strongly discourages people from using tanning beds for cosmetic purposes. There are too many risks involved. Besides skin cancer, you risk getting a sunburn and without using goggles, you put yourself at risk of getting a condition called arc eye, or snow blindness, which is basically like a sunburn on your eyes! Many tanning booths limit your exposure to 20 minutes, but 20 minutes can be enough time to cause damage, especially when you go often.

Why spend time and money for something so dangerous? There’s a safer alternative….

Spray Tanning!!!

Airbrush tanning doesn’t create color using a dye or stain, it uses a compound called Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, which sounds like a crazy chemical name, but it’s actually an all-natural, organic, simple carbohydrate with formula C3H6O3. This skin browning effect is non-toxic and similar to the Maillard reaction. Different amino acids react to DHA in different ways, producing different tones of coloration from yellow to brown. The resulting pigments are similar in coloration to melanin, the natural substance which browns or “tans” from exposure to UV rays. But all of this takes place in the outermost layer of the skin, not deep in the lower layers like a sun tan. It’s a natural, organic reaction, not one caused by radiation. The result is a natural looking tan without the harmful side effects.

We no longer have to stand in a booth that sprays you and turn around hoping to get every inch of skin evenly either! Airbrush tans are applied by trained professionals using a special spraying device that will make sure there aren’t any missed spots or uneven tone. Airbrush tanning technicians can even apply the formula in such a way that you can add slimming contours and cover problem areas specifically.

When properly cared for, an airbrush tan can last up to 10 days. It’s a natural, organic, safe option for getting some color all year long. And best of all? It’s quick! Instead of lying around all day getting a tan, you can be in and out in 15 minutes with a full body tan, and technicians can even come to your home with a mobile station and do it for you there!

My friend is now a regular at Shine Salon where she can get a safe, beautiful tan without any risks of UV damage. Shine uses organic, vegan, cruelty-free formulas that you can feel good about and fit with your own healthy lifestyle.