A Sunbed Summer
I’VE just about had it with people giving me their opinions about a topic they just simply haven’t a clue about. I don’t go around telling lads who should have been man of the match last week or why Cesc Fabregas should switch to Man U, because quite frankly, I’d just be basing my knowledge on the tit-bits I’ve obtained from radio stations and being amongst soccer (or if you prefer, football) fans.
As a nation, I think it’s safe to say that we tend to talk bull about a huge amount topics and ‘let on’ that we know a lot when really we don’t. This idea that we think we know everything about everything, is exactly the inspiration for this very piece you are reading.
I take part in an activity that’s shocking to some, idiotic to others and time-wasting to most and because of my life choices, I have received some very heavy and well-structured opinions as to why I will live a short and wrinkly life. Luckily enough, I am not addicted nor do I have what some people would deem as ‘a problem’, I am just a social user that seeks to gain that feel-good high for my money’s worth. So here it is:
Hi, I’m Amy. I’m 20 and I am a sunbed user. *Cue the judgement*
Hopefully most of you readers will find the idea of using the sunbeds as mundane and banal as watching The Late Late on a Friday night. But for those of you who find it inane, senseless and conceited then I am going to try my level best to give you a rundown of what actually happens when using a sunbed, and what precautions can be taken in order to keep your skin safe and healthy.
So as Captain Obvious would say: First things first. It truly is this simple:
If you are fair, you easily burn and DO NOT tan in the sun…then DO NOT use the sunbeds, because aside from damaging your poor little skin cells, you’re just wasting your precious time and money.
If you are lucky enough to have a sallow pigment to your skin and you tan quite naturally or, of course if you are blessed with the bán skin and freckles that God has bestowed upon us Irish but also pick up a colour on the farm or abroad, then you can use the sunbeds to colour up that white torso.
Another point I must stress is that if you have any moles on your body then you shouldn’t put your skin at risk and should avoid the sunbeds. A good colour isn’t worth the damage that it could cause, not only now but into your mid-life when those wrinkles and brown spots start appearing. Sexy, right?
I decided to use the beds this summer because I knew through a lack of funds that unfortunately I wouldn’t be travelling to Marbella, Ibiza or any of the hot spots this year. So in order to beat the blues and look just as good as my holidayed friends, I decided to make use of the Eastern-European run Solarium in my local town. I had heard nothing but good things about the strength of the bulbs and the quickness of getting a colour from their beds so I decided to invest my money there.
The bulbs in the beds are a major factor in getting a colour for your money. I once did 100 minutes (not altogether of course) in a sunbed in my local leisure complex and I was just as white after as I had been before. ‘Twas such a waste of money. So if you do want to use the sunbeds, make sure to go somewhere with a good reputation. I find that these places tend to be the outlets that concentrate solely on tanning.
If it’s your first time using the beds, or your first time in more than six months, then I recommend you begin on a low time and as the sessions go on, increase your time by one minute every two sessions. All solariums charge different amounts per minute. My local one charge 90c but I’ve come across others that only charge 60c and 70c. You should ALWAYS leave at least two days in between sessions in order for your colour to set and to give your skin a break. Therefore, you would be looking at roughly €9.00 a week starting off. It may seem a lot but from my experience, if you want that permanent colour, you’ll pay it.
Before you slip yourself into the bed, make sure that you’re undressed as much as you would like to be and that you have any moles covered with sun block or a plaster. I also use an SPF balm on my lips that keeps them supple under the bulbs. There are creams available in most solariums that you can buy either in a sachet form for one use or a bottle form for regular use, that allows you to tan quicker and safer whilst maintaining the natural moisture in your skin. I wouldn’t use the beds without these little fellas as they help your tan to progress along much faster.
If you want to use the beds but are claustrophobic then don’t fret because although you might think it, you’re not locked in to a coffin-like box. It’s more like a sandwich maker…but less hot, obviously. You can choose to leave the side slightly open to reassure yourself that you won’t get trapped like the girls, *cough, air heads, cough* in Final Destination did.
Also, unlike some bizarre ideas that I’ve heard, it doesn’t feel like an oven or an incinerator. With a good sunbed you will barely even feel the heat as they are installed with fans that keep you cool, whilst you are tanning. You might even come across a new fangled one that has in-bed music which you can flick through. If anything, lying on the sunbed is a time to relax and not a time to spend a good eight minutes worrying about melanoma.
As far as I’m concerned, lying out under the glistening sun for the last two weeks in our recent heat wave has done more damage to your skin than four sessions on the beds would have.
I have been using the beds for roughly two months now, using them twice a week and I really am pleased with the colour I have. I’m not so brown that I look like an oompa loompa but I am brown enough that you would notice I have a slight tan – I think ‘sun-kissed’ would be the appropriate term. I feel more confident and even look healthier. Plus it saves so much time when you don’t have to apply tan before slipping into your dress for a night on the town.
Would I recommend the sunbeds? Well, it’s a personal choice based on your own opinions but yes I would. Although only to those for which it is suitable. This does not mean that I am not ignorant or oblivious to the increased risks of the beds or the fact that skin ageing will occur much quicker than usual, but just as with outdoor tanning, taking precautionary measures is key to staying skin safe.
ALWAYS cover your sensitive patches or moles, use the goggles provided to protect your eyes and always leave enough time in between sessions for your skin to rebuild.
People can and do judge, and I’m certain that they always will but at the end of day, not only are you the one being responsible about staying skin safe, but you’ll have the gorgeous tan to go along with your open-mindedness.
Photo credit to irishhealth.com