Don’t hurt yourself out there
Welcome to the Philippines: The Pearl of the Orient, the land of makeshift basketball courts and the country foreigners flock to for white-sand beaches and the chance to perfect their tans. But like a warning on a box of cigarettes, tanning can also turn ugly if you don’t know wtf you’re doing. So start taking notes because this is how to get a proper tan.
First: Use protection
There’s a lot of debate about this, but—let’s be honest—most of us just buy sunblock and apply once when we hit the beach. If you’re thorough, you apply sunscreen on your face every morning regardless of where you’re going. But if you’re looking to actually tan under the Philippine sun, save yourself some sun (and skin) damage and look for two words: broad spectrum.
Broad spectrum sunblock protects against both UVB and UVA rays. Sunblock needs to be reapplied every two hours and even more often if you’re dipping yourself in the water. SPF level tends to depend on your skin tone because this helps determine your level of melanin, but keep in mind that SPF15 blocks about 93 percent of UVB rays while SPF30 and SPF50 block 97 percent and 98 percent, respectively.
In the same conversation of protection, it’s also important to remember to accessorize. The skin around our eyes, on our noses, foreheads and scalps are more sensitive to UV rays than the rest of our bodies. So put on those sunnies, a three-inch brim hat and some lip balm on; you’ll look great at the beach and get an even tan from your head all the way to your toes (swimsuit-covered parts not included, of course).
Third: Space it out
If you have the luxury of time, space out your tanning. Yes, laying out the entire day can give you that glow you want but it’s also coming around with a harsh slap of sunburn and a secondary hit of itchy peeling.
Thirty minutes to one hour is ideal (and yes, definitely not within the hours of 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon).
When you’re in the process of tanning, remember to gently exfoliate—everywhere. Otherwise, you might be left with an uneven tan as dead skin can block the rays of the sun. Worst thing is, you won’t even know how uneven until the dead skin is removed more naturally.
And fifth: Go au naturel
Because living in (and being in) the Philippines means you don’t need a tanning bed or spray-on tans. Take advantage of the tropics! Besides, it was confirmed by the University of North Carolina on 2015 that more than a quarter of a million cases of skin cancer were attributed to tanning bed use.
Got it? Good! We’ll see you at the beach.
Art Alexandra Lara