I lie, I love the sun. I like getting a “real” tan. I really can’t stand tanning beds and I feel more attractive when I’m darker. So there, I said it.

I can also admit that I don’t really, (prepare yourself), 100%, buy into everything the cosmetic and health industries try to sell you about sun block. I know, I know… I can hear people yelling already. I’m not saying that sunblock is useless. I’m just saying that a.) most people don’t even begin to understand it and therefore aren’t even using it correctly, which means they aren’t really getting the “protection” they they think or have been led to believe they need.

We humans, by and large, seem to be extremists. We have discovered that over exposure to the sun can have harmful side effects. Obviously making a life-long habit of roasting directly under the sun’s rays is going to make you a target for sun-related health risks, but there are other variables that might make you a victim of real sun damage. However, the sun is not the Devil himself, I think that in most cases the sun’s gotten a bad wrap because of people who’ve abused it, and yet, we decide that a lot of sun is bad therefore what is best is as little sun as possible, and I disagree. We need some sun, what’s more is we need to be in the sun doing things. I’m not talking laying out on the beach, I’m talking going for walks, hikes, having picnicks, boating, kayaking, playing sports, general physical activity outside.

Moving on to sunblock. It’s perfectly fine to wear a sunblock while you’re outside doing your thing, but you need to know how it works in order to get the most out of it.

Let’s start with the numbers. Contrary to popular belief, the number on the bottle of sunblock is NOT representative of the level of protection you’re getting, but the time you’re being protected. Here’s how it breaks down: the average person’s skin begins to burn after 10 minutes of sun exposure, you multiply that times the number on the bottle, and your result is how long you can safely stay in the sun. So if you have SPF 15  it would be 10 x 15 = 150 minutes of safe sun time. After that 2 and a half hours of protection, you can’t simply pop inside and reapply your SPF 15, because you’ve maxed out that filter, so you have to either a.) stay in, or b.) apply a filter that was meant for a longer period in the sun, so if you plan on being out another 2 and a half hours, you need to apply an SPF 30.

Other important things to know about sunscreens:

  • The FDA doesn’t approve SPF over a 30, so while you may find up to a 70, they are not regulated by the FDA.
  • 90% of the sunscreen you pick up only filters UVB rays, which are the burning rays and not the cancer causing rays. If you want both filtered you have to pick up a UVA/UVB or “broad spectrum” SPF
  • A moisturizer with SPF 15 and a makeup with SPF 20 do not an SPF 35 make. Your filters are not buildable.  No matter how many different types of sun screen you put on, your protection is only as good as the highest number.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest I’ll get on to what I meant to be talking about in the beginning of this post. If you want a tan, and you don’t want to risk being in the sun, there are always sunless tanners. Sunless tanners, which are notorious for their orange hue, but that are getting more and more sophisticated all the time. I know quite a few people who will go shamelessly Umpa Lumpa, rather than have to be pale in the summer.

For those of you who might be curious about some of the top selling sunless tanners, I’ve made myself a test patch, for your viewing pleasure.

From top to bottom:

– The new Kardashian tanning gel

– Bliss A Tan For All Seasons

– Too Faced Tanning Bed In A Tube

– The new Philosophy The Skinny

– Fusion Beauty’s Tan Fusion

– Clarins Delectable Tanning Mousse

These are all developed over 12 hours, most took 3 hours to even show up. Judge for yourself who is orange and who is not! =)