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Why you should embrace a fake tan

It has never been easier to get a natural looking fake tan without passing off as Lindsay Lohan’s doppelgänger, and with the alarming rates of skin cancer incidence in Australia, you’ll be lessening your risk without losing your bronzed-in glow

If you’re partial to a little summer (or winter) bronzing, there has never been a better time to embrace a faux tan. With a range of products now available including tan in shower lotions, gradual tinted body creams, green base fake tan sprays and more, it has never been easier to get a natural looking fake tan without passing off as Lindsay Lohan’s doppelgänger. Know that carrot orange and streaky are no longer the inevitable results of applying a sunless tanning product on your skin. Sun tanning exposes your skin to UV rays, which in turn also speeds up wrinkle production, so take pleasure in the knowledge that you’ll also be better retaining youthful skin by staying out of the sun or away from the solarium.

And if you are indeed partial to a tan but would still prefer the real thing, consider this: Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer incidence in the world. Over 750,000 Australians are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers each year, with almost double the incidence in men over women. And over 12,000 Australians are diagnosed with melanoma each year – the most dangerous form of skin cancer. No other nation in the world reports as many cases of melanoma per capita as ours. In fact, from 2009 – 2013, Queensland’s incidence rate of 71 cases per 100,000 vastly exceeded rates in all other jurisdictions nationally and internationally.

The good news is that there are a range of strategies you can employ very easily to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. And there are also some very basic steps you can take to ensure you’re checking yourself regularly for it – the sooner skin cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat.

Checking yourself is easy

Every so often, before or after you get in or out of the shower, check your skin, looking in a mirror to see visually inaccessible areas like your back or neck. Become familiar with the look of your skin and any moles or freckles on it, so you can notice any changes that could potentially be a skin cancer. The Cancer Council suggests checking your skin and looking for:

  • Any crusty, non-healing sores
  • Small lumps that are red, pale or pearly in colour
  • New spots, freckles or any moles changing in colour, thickness or shape over a period of weeks to months (especially those dark brown to black, red or blue-black in colour)

Don’t freak out if you notice anything unusual; go see your GP and they will be able to refer you to a skin specialist. It could be anything, but if it is a skin cancer, take comfort in the knowledge that if you are checking your skin regularly, you will have detected it as early as possible, making it much easier to treat than if it were detected later.

Protect your skin

Other ways to protect your skin from the sun, or mitigate its effects are easy and include:

  • Avoiding the sun in the middle of the day and seeking shade
  • Download SunSmart, an app that lets you know which hours of the day sunscreen is required in your location.
  • Using high sun protection factor (SPF30+), broad spectrum and water resistant sunscreen every day. Apply it in the morning 20 minutes before you leave home and then reapply every two hours. Remember that even if you’re just heading to work, you can still be exposed to the sun while walking on the street
  • Wearing a hat
  • Using faux tanning lotions or sprays to supplement or completely replace sun tanning

So jump on the sunless tanning ship to keep your skin healthy, youthful but still bronzed or use some of the strategies above to lessen the harmful effects of sun exposure.

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