Plunging necklines, cute two-piece packages that bare stomachs, and off-the-shoulder or strapless prom dresses are all daring styles that are popular among this year’s prom dress trends. A great tan would complement each of them, but more and more teens are aware of the long-term consequences of exposure to harmful UV light. If you weren’t born with even, golden skin, is there a safe alternative to tanning for prom?
The American Academy of Pediatrics is pretty firm on this subject – exposure to extra UVR radiation, either from the sun or via a tanning bed is not considered safe for teenagers by pediatricians.
While according to the pediatricians’ site, 24% of non-Hispanic, Caucasian teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19 have used a tanning bed at least once, the machines likely increase the chance of developing skin cancer. They emit UVR rays at a rate higher than 10-15 times the rays of the midday sun. Education about protecting ones skin is widespread, yet the rates of skin cancer, especially potentially deadly melanoma, are on the rise.
Teens are warned to completely avoid the use of tanning beds, and always use sunscreen and other precautions when outdoors.
Sunless or Spray Tanners
What about tan-in-a-bottle products, either applied professionally or at home? Products that temporarily darken skin contain the chemical “Dihydroxyacetone (DHA),” according to the AAoP. DHA has been studied in a lab, as well as tested on live animals, which is a controversial subject itself, however it has not been found as of this time to be carcinogenic (cause cancer). Thus, one might consider spray or sunless tanners to be safer than exposure to radiation. You are still applying a chemical to your skin that is known to break down DNA strands, so you must weight your desire to have darker skin for prom with that in mind.
The AAoP cautions that using sunless tanners can lead to a false sense of comfort in the sun, but that the skin darkening that occurs when you use a sunless tanner does not improve your protection against UVR rays at all. You must still wear sunscreen, even if you achieve darker skin through sunless tanners.
“Love the Skin Your In”
The Academy ultimately recommends that teens embrace the skin they were given, no matter how dark, light, even or unique it might be. More and more teens are demonstrating their awareness that skin that has been cared for and protected from harmful rays is the real prize-winning look, no matter how dark or light that might naturally be. All skin can be beautiful and deserves the treatment necessary for it to be healthy over the long term, and no single event – not even prom – is worth sacrificing your health over.
Instead of attempting to change your overall skin tone, choose a dress wisely that looks incredible against your natural skin complexion and hair color. You’ll enjoy a great look and a brighter future when you choose the perfect prom dress for you.