Summer is just around the corner and people are already talking about achieving that bronze glow. After all, being “pasty” is not considered attractive by mainstream media outlets. But before one decides to drive over to the nearest tanning salon, there are a lot of things you need to consider.

The sun is actually essential to human health and can help with the absorption of vitamin D in the skin, and research has shown that UV light may reduce the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis in sufferers of those skin illnesses. Also, the use of UV light therapy has been known to help people in the winter months to not suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder as much.

However, that’s not to say that tanning doesn’t have its risks. People who use tanning beds are at risk of developing skin and eye cancer from the exposure. Also, tanning causes the premature aging of the skin, which makes you look like you have wrinkles. Lastly, some salons have spread infections to tanners because of poor sanitization between customers.

If you do decide to use tanning beds, however, then there are some things you need to know.

Always have protective eyewear. In fact, most tanning salons won’t even let you tan without proving you have your own (that you can usually purchase through them), or by using ones they provide.

Always ask about how long you can stay in certain beds. Some tanning beds have a higher intensity. To prevent burning, talk about your concerns with the staff.

Ask about rates for alternative methods of tanning, such as spray tanning. For me, it was a healthier option to get that summer glow. I don’t like being in enclosed spaces, but I didn’t mind being in a stand-up spray booth. I put my hands up and when the voice in the machine told me to turn there were footprints on the floor to direct me where to stand so I wouldn’t have one side darker than the other. A professional at the salon will also be able to assist you in picking the right spray tan color to look natural and not an icky orange.

No matter what, always put your health and safety first, and always ask before sitting in any tanning bed.

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