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Want a Wintertime Tan? Safe and Not So Safe Solutions

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needing-a-tan-for-the-winter Hemera/Thinkstock

It’s mid-winter and you’re clawing at the walls. You need to get out and feel the sun on your face, the warmth on your skin. You have a full-blown case of Cabin Fever.

Maybe you should book a Caribbean cruise. You could be ready to leave in a week. Oh wow — finally — you have something to look forward to and kick you out of that gloomy winter mood.

You grab your favorite swimsuit, try it on, and step in front of the full-length mirror. What do you see? A pale, pasty, almost ashen entity staring back at you.

You barely recognize this person. But it’s you. Yes, the wintertime you. “THE HORROR!!”

Forget shopping for cruise wear, you need to figure out how to get a base-tan before you step on that ship and blind the other passengers with your snow-white complexion.

What can you do? What-Can-You-Do?

Solution 3 – Tanning Bed (UNSAFE). Going to a tanning salon seems like the quickest way to put some color back in your pale-winter skin, but unfortunately, tanning beds are not a safe alternative.

You may think if you only go once or twice, you’ll be okay, but ultraviolet (UV) rays will increase your risk of skin cancer as well as premature aging. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Is it worth the risk?

Solution 2 - Sunless tanning pills (UNSAFE). While you can buy vitamin supplements containing the color additive canthaxanthin, this, again, is not a safe option. When taken in large amounts, this chemical can turn your skin orange and also cause hives.

More dangerous risks of sunless tanning pills include liver damage and the formation of crystals in the retina of the eye, a condition called canthaxanthin retinopathy. Nobody wants that! Think again before adding this chemical to your body.

Solution 1 – Sunless Tanning Products (SAFE). Sunless tanning creams, gels, lotions, and sprays are the safest alternative to glowing up that wintery skin. You can have a natural-looking tan without exposing yourself to harmful UV rays or weird chemicals.

The staff at Mayo Clinic says, “The active ingredient in most sunless tanning products is dihydroxyacetone (DHA).

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.