HOW TO TAN LIKE A BRAZILIAN GIRL

What goes better with your swimsuit than a tan? But even the hottest swimsuits can not mask an awful burn!

And while we are bombarded with advertisements encouraging skin safety, it is difficult to shake the truth. Sun-kissed skin makes everything a little bit better. Let’s take the lead from our Brazilian friends and learn how to tan and soak up those rays responsibly.

We have journeyed far from the beehive hairdo days of a trifold aluminum held up against our face during the midday sun, outside on our grandmother’s lawn chair. But while mild sun safety is encouraged by the SPF 15 silver lining found nowadays in many daytime moisturizers, how can we indulge in drinking in the sunshine while still taking care of our important outer layer?

NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT SUNBLOCK

It does not matter if your flawless olive skin picks up a tan from your iPhone flashlight, never forgo sun protection in favor of that sun-kissed glow. You can still tan even if you are using sunblock. And while you may or may not be prone to sunburn, the sun’s strong rays can still put you at risk of premature aging and skin cancer. And as for how to tan with tanning oil? You can use oil, but only on top of your sunblock.

What type of sunblock should you use? A minimum of SPF 30 with both UVA & UVB protection is recommended. Apply generously and re-apply every two hours, or more often if emerged in water. The sun emits wildly dangerous UV rays that essentially cook your skin. So skipping that SPF should not even be an option. This may surprise you, but many Brazilians even use SPF 50+, they just stay out in the sun for longer periods of time! Expert tip: Do not just look for the “SPF” on your sunblock bottle, look for ‘broad spectrum’ or the UVA logo plus the word ‘high’.

WATCH THE CLOCK

Follow Brazilian cultural rules for how to tan: Arrive early at the beach…and I mean early like 7 or 8 am and tan until 10 am. Then enjoy the salt air from under the umbrella where you can sit, chit chat, eat [a lot], drink and talk about how marvelous the beach makes you feel. At 3 pm you can emerge for soaking in more rays. Sunbathing between 10-3pm is more dangerous as the sun is at its strongest. But do not forgo the sunblock just because you are underneath an umbrella. It is necessary to coat yourself as the sun can penetrate both your umbrella and swimsuit. For that extra protection, buy a suit that has UV protection built into the fabric!

UNDERSTAND YOUR TANNING TIME

Everyone’s skin reaches a tanning cut-off point where it actually can not physically produce any more melanin – the tanning pigment – thus clocking countless hours will not necessarily create a longer lasting tan, but will just subject your skin to the risk of UV damage.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

One of the most popular juices on a Brazilian beach during the summer months is a  fresh Carrot/Beet/Orange mix. Why? These fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in beta-carotene and are known to increase lycopene, the skin’s own SPF, that could help your skin tan without burning. While there is research that states beta carotene is high in antioxidants and fights free radicals limiting the damage caused by UV light, Brazilian culture also says that you tan from both the inside out and outside in. Beta-carotene can also be found by incorporating peppers, cantaloupe melon, carrots and leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach into your diet.

KEEP YOUR FACE TO YOURSELF

The one part of you that has seen daylight every day since you were born is your face!  And it knows how to tan better than any other part of your body. But why spend time speeding up your wrinkles by saturating your face with the sun? Layer on the sunblock, underneath your foundation, as part of your morning, ‘getting ready’ ritual. This will help build your glow slowly but surely. A hat used while sunbathing and a little bronzer will be a lot more economical, not to mention safer, in the long run. And do not forget your lips, they can also burn! Expert tip: Choose a moisturizing lip balm that also contains SPF.

HOW TO TAN LIKE BIG ANG

There ain’t no shame in the faux-glow! Your skin will thank you in the future, while you still rock that glow today. Spray tans have come a long way from the orange streaks that 90s bottle tans used to bring. To ensure a smooth application, exfoliate your skin the day before treatment and avoid heavy creams or oils on the day of applying as they can leave a barrier on the skin. The only thing is, you have to think ahead of time [ie 1-2 days before you travel] so the tan has a decent 8 hours to activate. Then you can rinse off in the shower and step out with that golden radiance. All this will allow the skin to be prepared to welcome the tanning ingredient DHA and allow it to activate evenly. And while you need to remember that fake tans offer no sun protection, it can help you stop burning by easing the first-day pale panic on vacation.

TANNING SALONS ARE ILLEGAL IN BRAZIL

Brazil was the first country to get how to tan safely. They banned the use of sunbeds in 2009, followed by Australia in 2015. Even the World Health Organization has issued warnings that the use of tanning beds is associated with the heightened risk of skin cancer, especially basal cell carcinoma, the most frequently occurring form of all cancers. Tanning beds are the wrong UV. They pump out huge amounts of UVA but hardly any UVB (which stimulates vitamin D). This can increase your risk of skin cancer by up to 75%.

KEEP THE LIQUIDS COMING

While a trip to the beach in Rio is often accompanied by an adult libation, there is no substitute for H20. Hydration from the inside out is essential for prolonging a tan as it keeps your skin supple. And dehydration can leave you feeling queasy and light headed. Bookend your day in the sun with a deep moisturizer that nourishes your thirsty skin, replenishes and prevents peeling. Choose one that contains soothing aloe and vitamin E while also giving your skin an extra boost of moisture.

It is easy to argue that spending a day in the sunshine feels good! It boosts levels of serotonin (nature’s own Valium, proven to alleviate anxiety). Additionally, it produces vitamin D which is great for bones, skin and teeth. Brazil has gained a well deserved reputation, based on the sunshine, but it has perfected the art of how to tan wisely. To avoid premature aging and skin cancer risks, just follow these basic steps for a safe, sun-kissed glow. And you will be tan without regret…well at least about the sun!

NOTE: This is not endorsed by any doctor.

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