This is a subject that is controversial, as I feel like most women my age have conformed to the no-sun ever, wear SPF all day every day, sunglasses, and a hat with a big brim idea. This is fabulous and I support you. I also wear the hat and big sunnies; however…this blog post is for the hippie sunschasers, who are ALSO smart and safe about sunshine.
I grew up with natural, grow-your-own-food idealistic parents. I mean, my dad grew his own wheat which, at the age of 8, I learned to grind and then make into big loaves of bread. We also raised our own chickens, turkeys, and cows so we had organic meat…fed by the grain, alfalfa and straw off our own land. You can bet the milk, eggs, and the vegetables were from our farm (or a neighbouring farm) too. Okay, so now I’ve painted a picture of my beginnings.
With this knowledge, you can imagine that a chemical sunscreen didn’t fit in the picture. My parents didn’t believe in it. They thought we were just putting chemicals on our skin, and told us, “there’s nothing unhealthy about a tan, just as long as you don’t burn”.
They weren’t stringent about it though, if it was the first day of blazing sunshine, Mom would recommend we put a little sunscreen on, or wear a hat. Burning was not encouraged.
Nevertheless, I craved more sun and I would overdo it. Naturally, I burnt. My nose, shoulders, forehead, chest, neck were roasted…like a rotisserie chicken someone forgot to turn. My summers at the farm were me burning for the first couple weeks, and then settling to a reddish looking tan the rest of the season.
In college, I tried tanning beds. There’s something unnatural it does to you that the sun doesn’t. I know people say they’re the same rays of light as the sun, but I don’t believe a word of it. After doing tanning beds for a season, I started getting melatonin blotches and moles all over my back and shoulders…hyperpigmentation that I NEVER got in the sun. So bye to that. Plus, those beds are “bad chachi” for all the reasons everyone knows by now.
Then I tried self-tanning and LET ME SAY I don’t know how those YouTube beauty gurus do it so flawlessly, but I gave it a fair chance MULTIPLE TIMES and I’m over it. Anyways, I feel like it’s cheating. It’s also because I’m too lazy to try it again. Also, because it’s cheating.
Anyway, whether or not sunscreen is bad for you or if the UV rays of sunshine are worse, this is my how-to guide to tanning as safely as possible while achieving that bronzed summer glow, because I am a stickler for OVERDOING sunshine…it needs to be just that perfect amount you know?
My Dutchman taught me the best way to suntan. He is dark year-long and yes, his skin type tans fast, but this is the kicker…HE TANS IN THE SHADE! I used to laugh at him until I tried it. Now you’re like, okay…this girl and her man are crazy…yes, yes, that is true, but listen up if you want that perfect, burn-less tan.
Sunchasers, here’s the details…
Firstly, make sure your skin is ultra moisturized. It’s easier for your skin to burn when it’s dry. I usually put on an all natural body lotion beforehand. We like Vanilla Pacífica (mmm, smells like summer).
Find a spot that has an umbrella. But it can’t be one of those palm tree umbrellas that literally lets no sunshine in. We like the fabric ones or cabana tents. We literally went and bought our own umbrellas that we always keep in the car trunk, so we’ll never be stuck without filtered sunlight.
See, THE REAL SECRET IS USING THE UMBRELLA AS YOUR SUNSCREEN. You’re still getting sun (without feeling like you are) while enjoying yourself in “the shade”.
If you think I’m crazy, then check the sun (under the umbrella) with your hand. Your hand should cast a little shadow. The sun is coming through, it’s just filtered…literally coming through a “screen” before it hits your skin. It’s just the Victorian way of getting a tan…only you stay outside more than 10 minutes, the umbrella isn’t white lace, and you’re not wearing a corset and floor length gown.
When we’re at the beach, we go in and out of the water, walk in the direct sunshine “unprotected”, but they’re just little “shots of sunshine” (as my man calls it) before we head back under the umbrella.
Before bed, I usually put lotion on again to keep the skin moist.
I have never been so deeply (and evenly) tanned in my entire life and I haven’t burned in months, and ironically, I spend very little time in direct sunlight.
Note: If I’m expecting more sun than umbrella time I will put a little sunscreen with 15-30 SPF (a natural one preferably) on the top of my forehead, nose, and chest where the sun likes to kiss me the most intensely. I will reapply when I’ve gone swimming and washed it off.
As for the health benefits of sunshine, we all need it. Maybe in another post I’lll share why I believe the sun is vital for health and well being, but in the meantime, catch your rays safely!
Hope you enjoyed this post!
Are you a sunchaser?
Subscribe below for blog updates & my newsletter!
Thanks so much for your post and for addressing this controversial topic. I enjoyed hearing your take on it and would love to try your suntanning method, which sounds pretty foolproof for you. The proof is in the pudding and well, your tan looks pretty incredible! I too love the sunshine and being in it and as wonderful as fall as, I am not looking forward to getting pale again. Bring on the sunshine, though I must say southern Alberta is blessed to get lots of sun even in the winter.
The sunshine is so healing and like all good things, moderation is everything. <3
Wow!! I love this. Thank you. I burn soo easy, I’m definitely trying this. Thank you ?
Greta, it definitely changed my world when I just wanted to take advantage of the sun…I ALWAYS overcooked. Slow, safe, and steady works so well for me…it just takes more patience than I’m used to lol!