Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The truth about your pre-vacation tan

Your legs have been hiding beneath layers of tights and cozy knee-high boots for months. Your stomach hasn't seen the sun since Labor Day. And now you're headed to Cabo in two weeks for spring break. It seems like common sense: The best way to protect yourself from a sunburn is to get a "base tan" from an indoor tanning salon before your trip.

Unfortunately, the benefits of getting a pre-vacation tan are a myth. Here's why: Getting a tan in the sun will only bump your skin's natural SPF up to about a 3 or a 4. Tanning indoors provides even less protection. Since dermatologists recommend a minimum of SPF 15 (or higher for us pale folks), the protection you get from a base tan is inadequate. Plus, researchers have found that people who use tanning beds before going on vacation have a false sense of security that their skin is protected, which ultimately results in more severe sunburns.

If you're worried about looking like a ghost when you get off the plane, get a spray tan before your trip. Treat yourself to a bottle of your favorite SPF 30 and re-apply diligently (especially after the pool). No sunscreen blocks 100% of UV rays, so even when using SPF 30, you'll still develop a little color if you're spending a lot of time on the beach. Don't let a nasty sunburn ruin your vacation. Eventually your tan will fade, but the sun damage won't.


  1. Let's hope people are listening Katie!

  2. Getting a tan, especially before springtime and bare legs, always seems so enticing, then I come back here. Thanks Katie!

  3. I am passionate about travelling, and in this way I usually get tan skin every time, but as you told about SPF 30, I am rather using tanorganic that is also protecting my skin from hives and sunburns, because it seriously unbearable to take off with a scary face.

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