Are spray tans the answer to skin cancer?

As we usher in the crisp air of fall, we say goodbye to many of the summer things we have become accustomed to. Warm summer nights, days at the pool and barbecues galore. But what is fading more than our long days is the nice tans everyone has been layering all summer long.

I am not one to get tan. Blame it on years of visiting the dermatologist, but I have it ingrained in my mind that sun equals evil. And there are a lot of studies to back me up. An excess of sun exposure has serious and cosmetic implications. On the vain side of things, sun exposure can lead to leathery skin (come on- you have all seen that walking piece of leather at the beach before. It is terrifying.), increase of wrinkles and decrease in skin’s elasticity, as well as sun spots and moles. Not cute.

On a more serious side, an excess of sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. In many cases skin cancer can be treated by cutting out the affected part of the skin. Yes- they have to cut out your skin. They do not mess around. Your tan skin will not look so cute when you have scars all over.

With the heavy rays of the sun gone for the season, Paris Hilton look a likes are hitting the tanning salons to keep that summer glow all winter long.

There are many misconceptions about indoor tanning. Many are lead to believe that tanning indoors does not contain the same harmful rays as the sun outside. But you will still have the damage from the sun. And in some cases even more because people rarely wear sunscreen in a tanning booth.

But that does not mean that those who want to maintain a glow during the winter are out of luck. There are healthy ways that do not increase your chances for skin cancer like tanning booths do. Enter spray tans.

While spray tans are often associated with Lindsay Lohan and other celebrities who look like they rolled in Doritos crumbs, technology has made this faux tan look natural without an Oompa Loompa glow.

Here are a few tips to make sure your spray tan is successful.

1. Exfoliate before you go. You can make your own sugar and oil scrub (I used cane sugar and coconut oil) to slough off the dead skin cells on your body. If you do not do this crucial step, you will risk having the dye attracting to the areas with extra skin.

2. Ask a lot of questions. The last thing you want to do is get in the spray booth and forget what you are doing. Make sure you ask the tanning technician plenty of questions until you feel comfortable on your own.

3. Enjoy your tan! You will be the only who knows that you had a fake tan, but you will know that you are not damaging your skin.

So for those who do not want to damage their skin and use their discount health insurance to pay for a visit to their dermatologist, go for the spray tan.