Melanie Sykes - Tanning

Melanie on Tanning

T’is the season to tan and boy do I love it. I’ve always been a sun worshipper I am a Leo in every sense. Though, the older I get, the more I want to do it safely. I was part of the baby oil brigade in my early 20s. I know, it sounds so shocking now! I was going for the Marie Helvin shot by David Bailey look. Literally frying my skin like a pig on a spit for the sake of that deep tan.

As I hit my 30s the baby oil was dropped in favour of more sensible oils like Hawian Tropic, which does have some protection. In my 40s, however, I am much more aware of the dangers of sun damage and always use high factors on my face, even in London.

A month ago, I needed to have a biopsy on a freckle on my face and the week waiting for the results was quite scary, and a shot across the bow to really look after my skin. Luckily, it was an all clear, but the dermatologist removed the freckles just to prevent them from causing me any problems in the future.

Historically, I’m guilty of sun bed use as well. Granted, I never hammered it to death, but I did make the occasional visit to top up an already existing tan or just get some colour, maybe for a photo shoot, a red carpet event or party. I haven’t used a sun bed for a couple years now and have adopted the fake tan option instead. I am actually allergic to most self tanning products and have had to learn the hard way. Brands like Fake Bake irritate my skin, swell my lips and cause very red itchy eyes, not a good look. Lately, I use a product called Tan Organic, which is the first of its kind. It’s oil based, which helps with product absorption and it gives an even colour that isn’t patchy orange hued as I have found with other products, and I’m really pleased with the results. In fact, I raved about it that much, that they asked me to front their recent campaign.

Though we need to be wary of the sun and its harmful rays, there are also huge benefits from basking in sunshine. Sunshine provides us with Vitamin D, which is essential for the absorption of calcium that helps towards warding off osteoporosis. The sun is great for healthy bones and teeth, but new studies have shown that too much sun can limit our body’s capability to produce a synthesis of vitamin D, so even on the grounds of Vitamin D benefits, it’s still wise to limit your exposure to the sun.

But, here’s the paradox, people who have the most sun exposure live longer and have lower instances of heart disease and other fatal illnesses. The sun also boosts your mental health and helps the promotion of serotonin. The sun can also ease skin conditions like psoriasis and help acne. Which is fantastic news and music to my ears, the key is to always wear sun protection. The recommendation is to wear factor 50, but remember this doesn’t actually block the sun, it filters it.

According to studies, if we are constantly exposed to sunshine, we are actually more resistant to the dangers. This is why we should be even more cautious with our skin when we go on holiday, after all, we are likely to see a huge amount more sunshine in those two weeks abroad, than we do at any other time of the year.

It is good to get some sun every day, not only does it help lift your mood and make you feel good because you’re outside, but also long-term regular exposure is better than the sporadic exposure one only gets when holidaying.

So go forth, tan safely and reap the benefits because, sun lovers, there are many!