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18 Facts That Will Change Your Perception On Tanning

Warning: We're gonna throw some shade here.

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3. Approximately 1 in 5 women believe a base tan gives you extra protection. It doesn't.

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A dark tan on pale skin offers a sun protection factor of between two and four, whereas you need to use at least SPF 15 along with shade and clothing to protect your skin from harm.

5. Further effects from long-term exposure include pigmentation, reduced skin elasticity, and a yellowing of the skin.

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This is known as "extrinsic aging". If you're looking for a magic anti-aging formula, then protecting your skin from the sun is one of the most powerful you can find.

6. (And yes, that goes for even a tiny little bit of tan.)

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Whether you're going for the full "bodybuilder orange" or something less head-turning, your skin doesn't differentiate between the two. Aspiring for a light tan isn't more admirable than chasing a rich mahogany; you're still putting yourself at risk of premature ageing. There isn't such a thing as a safe tan.

7. Tanning isn't just bad for your skin, it's bad for your eyes too.

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Overexposure to UV light can increase your chances of developing conjunctivitis or cataracts in later life, so it's always wise to invest in a good pair of sunglasses.

11. Sunburn is sunburn, whether it's painful or not.

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Pink skin doesn't signify a delayed tan, it means the DNA in your skin cells has been damaged. Did you know some 72% of people admitted getting sunburn in the past year?

13. You don’t need to sunbathe to make enough vitamin D.

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We all need some sun, but that isn't an excuse to spend ages soaking up the sun's rays. Most people will get the vitamin D they need from incidental time spent outdoors, and without burning.

14. When it comes to sunscreen, forget the idea of quality over quantity.

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Another common misconception is that a higher factor means you can apply less. When purchasing sunscreen, you should look for a good SPF (15 or higher) and star rating (at least 4).

15. In fact, no sunscreen can give you 100% protection (not even SPF 100).

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Sunscreen does not give you licence to spend more time in the sun. UV rays still get through. The only way to get 100%? Find some shade or head inside for a break.

16. Playing "chicken" with the sun isn't a good idea either.

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People generally fail to apply enough sunscreen as it is, so the situation's made worse by those who think they can leave it 'til as late as possible to do so, which just leads to your skin getting damaged that much quicker.

18. Ultimately, healthy skin and a natural tan are mutually exclusive.

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In 2014, the US surgeon general called for a major public awareness drive to "shatter the myth that tanned skin is a sign of health". Tanning is no longer a grey area, but you can enjoy the sun safely.

So #loveyourskin this summer and remember these three key tips:

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When the sun is strong:

Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm.

Cover up with a T-shirt, hat, and sunglasses.

Use a sunscreen with a protection level of at least SPF 15 and 4 stars. Use it generously and reapply regularly.

Find ways to #loveyourskin this summer on YouTube with Cancer Research UK.

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