Liona

Ladies, today’s post is all about you. Specifically the “Millenials” as my boss likes to refer to us—those born in the 80’s and early 90’s. Summer is quickly approaching and I know that we are all looking forward to that glorious bronzed summer glow. We all know how a great tan can make you look; skinnier, healthier and more attractive overall.

We have all been told a million times that tanning causes skin cancer…blah, blah, blah. “I don’t go to the tanning salon, so why should I worry?” Most people like to focus on the present, not what could maybe happen in the future.

As a fellow lover of the sun, it’s hard for me to hear the facts but we all need to know them. We only have one set of skin and it’s going to have to last us for the rest of our life! Melanoma rates have skyrocketed over the past few decades—the incidence rate has more than doubled since 1973. The most affected group? Women in their 20’s. Melanoma is the second most common cancer in women between the ages of 20 and 35, and the leading cause of cancer death in women of that age group.  Many doctors and researchers have attributed this spike to increased tanning and excessive exposure to the sun.

But if I still don’t have your attention maybe this will help. Us girls need to start taking better care of our skin. And not just for the sake of preventing skin cancer—we all will inevitably start to age and sag, why speed up that process now?

Many women report starting to show signs of aging beginning in their late 20’s—fine lines, broken capillaries, looser skin, uneven splotchy patches on the face. While tanning during your youth can hide uneven skin and other imperfections, over time it does much more damage than it temporarily hides.

Just because you don't look like the "tanning mom" doesn't mean that you're not doing irreparable damage to your skin. Photo Credit: TODAY

Over the years, skin naturally loses its elasticity and lines eventually form. There is nothing that can reverse this process—only slow it down. Celebrities and the general public alike have jumped at Botox, fillers, dermabrasions and every product promising them a more youthful appearance. The international anti-aging industry is a $150 BILLION dollar industry for a very obvious reason.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I think that most of us girls spend a good amount of time and money on our appearance. We buy makeup to make ourselves prettier, shampoos to make our hair shiny and beautiful. We meticulously remove body hair and apply products to give us smooth, touchable skin like the smiling girls in the commercials. But despite spending all this time on a beauty regimen, I think we’re forgetting the most important part—a good base (our skin!). Like any good foundation, having that perfect base can make all the difference between looking exhausted and splotchy and having a fresh, glowing complexion.

Beauty editors that once praised and encouraged tanning are now recommending products that give you a sun-kissed summer glow while also protecting your fragile skin. Not just for the sake of preventing cancer, but to keep you looking your best. If we follow the other things they say, why not this one as well?

Love this one--quick, cheap and easy spray tan at home.

Realistically, I think that it will be difficult to do every single thing that I know should do to be sun safe—avoiding the sun between 10 and 4, using palm-full dollops of sunscreen, reapplying often, etc. But I do think that this summer I will at least TRY to make a change. There are so many small things that we already do every day that can be slightly changed to better protect ourselves from the sun.

My personal favorite moisturizer--already has SPF in it!

Things like making sure to spray on sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher while at the pool, switching to moisturizer and makeup with SPF protection  (so easy!!), finding some great sunhats and not baking in the sun excessively. Easy, simple changes. Most importantly, reminding myself that while my summer tan will fade, the damage done WILL DEFINITELY NOT.

Join me this summer and think twice before passing on the sunscreen and pursuing a damaging summer glow. Take the steps today to keep yourself beautiful through every age!

Readers: what are some of your favorite sun-safe products for this summer?

Editor’s Note: The products mentioned in this post are Liona’s suggestions and do not represent an endorsement or promotion by the Prevent Cancer Foundation.