How to skip tanning and still look radiant


No matter your skin tone, being exposed to the harmful UV rays of the summer sun can (and will) cause skin damage.

The FDA notes that when skin is exposed to UV radiation, it increases the production of melanin (the pigment that gives colour to hair, eyes and skin). This is an attempt by the skin to protect itself. Over exposure leads to skin cancer, pre-mature ageing, dark spots and various skin diseases (yes, perhaps this sounds like a broken record, but it can happen to YOU).

Sure, you like the sun, but laying on the beach for hours on end, turning every half and hour like a damn rotisserie chicken to get that even, all-over tan, is just plain idiotic. No matter your age.

You don't want to end up like Tan Mom, now do you?

Image: Giphy

We didn't think so.

Here are 10 great ways to protect your skin from skin damage this season:

Tinted moisturisers:

!QMS Medicosmetics Sport Active Cream, R750.00.

I have really come to love tinted moisturisers. They feel fresh, hydrating and (bonus!) they cover up imperfections. A product like Sports Active Cream works on all skin tones and will give you a lovely, glowing complexion once applied. - Marisa Crous

Bioderma Photoderm M Tinted Protective Cream (price on request)

The SPF 50 tinted moisturiser gave me protection from the sun and worked really well to cover old marks and blemishes on my skin – something some tinted moisturisers don't do. I loved that it lasted the entire day and blends really well with foundation. It smells clean and fresh, and is thick and gooey. Make sure you have a few minutes to blend it in properly – it can look streaky if you don’t work it in. It has a smooth finish and doesn’t leave behind a crumby mess. - Samantha Smith

Tip: For even, blended application, use the wonder sponge, the Original Beauty Blender - R398. It is an insane investment!

Spray-on tans:

Screw sunbeds (seriously now) and opt for a spray-on tan instead. (Don't worry, you won't have a Ross moment, as spray tans are normally applied manually).

Image: Giphy

Caribbean Tan

I am a very fair-skinned, freckled ginger who can only cope with about 20 minutes in the sun, MAXIMUM, before I burst into flames. And I have blue eyes, to boot, which puts me in the highest risk percentile for skin cancer. So I fear a golden tan has never been on the cards for me. (As a quick aside: Skin cancer is becoming more and more prevalent – for all races – and that is why consciously baking yourself in the sun is just stupid. Besides, nothing ages you faster than sun damage.)

And yet, after a few disastrous (but hilarious) experiences with self-tan, I have never tried the spray-on one. With my orange hair, I was too scared I’d come out orange and look like a cross between bad Lindsay Lohan and a Primi Piatti waiter. Enter Caribbean Tan.

The pros:

•    It takes all of 10 minutes to spray on (someone does it for you) and looks great instantly but takes a while to set (see negative points).
•    It doesn’t smell bad.
•    It’s perfectly safe.
•    It’s natural looking. I looked like I came back from a holiday in the… wait for it: Caribbean.
•    It’s completely even and doesn’t streak.
•    After the first shower it looks even more natural.

The cons:

•    You have to wait at least 8 hours before you shower – so it will leave your clothes and linen brown (but don’t worry, it washes out).
•    If you have dry spots or eczema it will accentuate that, which is why you should exfoliate beforehand.
•    It only lasts about 6 to 10 days, so needs constant top ups.  
•    It’s a bit pricey (R190 – R250 a pop)  - Lili Radloff

Vita Liberata spray tan

When I first heard about this organic, non-toxic range of sunless products I was very intrigued. Thing is, self-tanning products smell awful. That is definitely the main reason why I (and most pale humans) avoid them like the plague. They streak and smell like a combination of sweat and coconut. Eeew!

But Vita Liberata changed my mind completely. With ingredients like aloe vera, lychee, melon and raspberry, it's almost completely odourless. It is sprayed on as a gentle mist, distributed evenly over your entire body.

Like all spray-tans you are required to keep the product on for 8 hours before showering, which is a bit annoying (still better than sun damage!), but luckily you don't have to live with that dire smell.

After surviving the entire day feeling a bit dirty, I showered the next morning and voila! my tan was natural, no streaks in sight, zero dark blotches, and I basically forgot I had a spray-tan from there on out. The tan washes off after about a week to 10 days (secret confession: I kind of want another one...)

At about R400 a pop, I think it's great for a special occasion. Use their range of fantastic products at home the rest of the time to save.

Stockist: Selected Salons & Spas. Online:  
Head Office: 021 465 8569

Vita Liberata is stocked at selected salons and spas throughout South Africa and even have mobile salon services that offer their spray tanning products.

- Marisa Crous

Get the correct sunscreen for your skin type:

Placecol Sun Protection Spray, R275.00.

Although the minimal design and subdued colouring of the packaging is great, it didn’t catch my eye as a sun cream but rather a regular moisturising cream. Depending on how and where it is placed in a store, the cream might be mistaken for a daily moisturiser. One negative would be the lid. Perhaps a flip lid would have been more appropriate since sun cream doesn’t stay in the house but travels with the user, which means the lid has the propensity to get misplaced. The smell and texture is the best part of the product. The smell is almost nondescript and something you can barely pick up on your skin. Unlike most sun creams, the smell is extremely subtle and smells of natural ingredients. The texture is super light and non sticky, something we all look for in a sun cream. My skin absorbed it quickly while still having a moisturising effect. It does protect but since it is only 15, one does need to top up quite regularly. I would recommend a higher factor for fairer skin like mine. - Ceili McGeever

Eucerin Sun Gel-Creme Oil Control Dry Touch SPF 50, R189.99.

This product is ideal for those with oily and acne prone skin. Often people avoid using sunscreen on their face especially as this leads to breakouts. This product by Eucerin is just an incredibly innovative product for people with these specific skin concerns. It is truly a lovely, non-greasy formula that lasts without having to re-apply constantly. - Marisa Crous

Eau Thermale Avène SPF 50+ Mineral cream for intolerant skins, R249.95.

Sensitive skin? Prone to skin irritation? This is the perfect product for you.

Bioderma MAX Aquafluide SPF 50+, (price on request).

Bioderma’s products have always felt like a very natural fit for my reactive, pale skin. So I was not disappointed when I got my hands on the Aquafluide Very High Protection Fluid (with SPF 50+).

The usual concern with a sunscreen lotion is how oily it makes your face look. This product promises an anti-shine texture and no white traces. As a tough customer who has “tried ‘em all”, I was pleasantly surprised. The lotion was smooth and slick on the skin. It provided a subtle healthy glow under make-up. If you prefer, the product also comes in a light or golden tint for added summer sparkles.

The thin nozzle allows for measured doses, handy for those balancing a cocktail or book on the beach. As a product for sensitive skin, it goes without saying that it is both fragrance and paraben free. Definitely the closest I have come yet to a dependable, beauty friendly sunscreen. - Jenna Verster

Elizabeth Arden Intensive Lip Repair Balm, (price on request).

Damaged lips? Look no further. Anything from the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour range is, basically, a wonder potion in my mind. From Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant to its Miracle Oil (launching in January 2016), these products will combat sunburn and chapped lips, leaving them soothed and hydrated. - Marisa Crous

Environ RAD SPF 15, R195.00.

Having fair skin, blonde hair and blue eyes puts me smack dab in the middle of the danger zone when daring to expose myself to the sun.
This means I use sunscreen – a lot. This doesn’t make me an authority on all things sunscreen, but it does make me quite picky.
So when I’m handed a SPF 15-cream, I always think that I need at least 15 SPF’s more. This sunscreen, in its pretty modern and earthy packaging, had a lot to prove.

Obviously I would use a higher SPF-sunscreen to apply to my body when going outdoors for an extended period of time, even when reapplying every two hours. But as a daily sunscreen, used underneath my makeup, neck and arms it did quite a good job. Having a normal skin it wasn’t too greasy or heavy. It also doesn’t sport that strong lingering Caribbean coconut-scent, which makes it perfect for daily wear to the office.

The product boasts about its natural antioxidant vitamins to assist in fighting free-radicals and after wearing it for about a week, my skin did feel happy and healthy. I wouldn’t recommend it when going to the beach, but for a bit of daily extra protection, you won’t be disappointed. - Celinda Marais

Read more:

10 unusual things you can do to treat sunburn

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