A glowing, bronzed body is the sign of a good summer, but tanning isn’t always good for your health, nor the health of the planet. On a mission to chase the sun and catch a tan, many of us are unnecessarily polluting the Earth, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’re planning a summer holiday and want to reduce your impact on the environment, you might book an eco-friendly break or stay at home. Below, we’ve put together a few ways to get a tan without harming the environment - read our top tips below, and you’ll be sun-kissed in no time!
Head to the beach
One of the best ways to get a tan this summer is to spend more time outdoors, so why not go to your local beach and spend time with family and friends? The UK is blessed with some of the most stunning beaches on the planet, from Whitstable in Kent (boasting a gorgeous pebble beach with traditional stripy beach huts) through to Pentle Bay's white sand and blue sea, where at the height of the summer, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in the Caribbean. Explore what’s around you and make sure you’re wearing a good suncream.
Whilst you’re there, consider plogging - the art of picking up litter whilst you’re on a jog or a walk. The Scandinavians came up with the lifestyle trend a few years ago, and ever since, it has really taken off. Our oceans are being polluted with more bottles, bags, and packaging than ever, and you’ll probably find a surprisingly large amount of litter on your trip. Turn it into a competitive game with friends, and you’ll naturally tan without sitting in the baking sun.
Switch to vegan suncream
Although beauty products can no longer be tested on animals in Europe, most sun creams include a whole host of animal-derived ingredients, such as beeswax, chitin (which comes from crustaceans, insects, and arachnids) and collagen, which is found in connective tissue from pigs, cows, and fish. Elastin is also commonly found in sun cream, as is lanolin (animal fat that comes from sheep wool) and stearin, which is from cow fat. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a vegan or not - choosing sun creams without animal ingredients is better for your skin and for the planet, so shop around and switch to vegan alternatives where possible.
Brands like Green People, Lush, Pure Chemistry, and Arbonne offer a range of creams and SPF moisturisers from SPF15 to SPF40, so there’s no excuse not to make the switch. Sure, they’re a little more expensive than the creams you’ll find in the supermarket, but your skin will thank you for it - and you’ll likely find that natural ingredients help you tan more evenly.
Avoid the sunbeds
It’s a common myth that hitting the sunbeds before you go on holiday will ‘kick start’ the process of tanning, and whilst it’s been debunked, that doesn’t stop more than 10 percent of Europeans from using them on a regular basis. Research shows that sunbeds increase your risk of skin cancer, causing damage to your DNA and encouraging rapid cell growth needed for a tumour to develop. What’s more, sunbeds are bad for the environment, unnecessarily wasting energy. According to Businesses for Sale, a 40 tube 200-watt sunbed will use 9.6 kilowatts of energy per hour, so would cost around £1.20 to run for an hour at today’s prices, so steer clear and tan naturally - it might take longer, but it will keep you safe from harm.
Cut back on air travel
The aviation industry is one of the world’s greatest polluters, and environmentalists are increasingly encouraging consumers to travel less. In fact, the Netherlands has invented a word for it: vliegschaamte, which means ‘fly shame’. Travelling to new countries is great fun, as it allows us to explore, meet new people and immerse ourselves into new cultures, and we can pay extra to offset emissions by investing in wind farms or other renewable energy projects, but we’re still polluting the earth unnecessarily. In Sweden, two friends have persuaded more than 15,000 people to commit to going air-free in 2019 with an incentive called Flygfritt 2019. They want to get 100,000 people to pledge not to fly this year; why not join them and explore what’s on offer at home in the summer months? You’ll still catch a tan!
Switch to fake fan
Finally, consider protecting your skin and the environment by switching to fake tan. If you’re trying to fly less or you have fair skin, then faking it is a great way to get a sun-kissed look without the risks of skin cancer. There are a growing number of eco-friendly fake tan brands, including Eco Tan, set up by Sonya who wanted to get a tan without the risk of harmful UV rays. She experimented with regular spray tans but soon realised that the ingredients were bad for her skin and the environment, so set up the company to provide organic, toxin-free, cruelty-free and vegan-friendly tanning lotions. The best part? The bottles are recyclable!
Other companies offering eco-friendly tanning lotions include TanOrganic, La Mav, and Sukin, whilst Lush offers tanning tint bars that allow you to ‘paint on’ a fake tan if you want to look good for a night out. Shop around and see which company works best for your needs.
However, remember that there’s nothing wrong with tanning outdoors naturally - especially if you let it happen organically when you’re out walking or gardening. Spending a couple of hours per day in the sun is healthy for you, lifting your mood and producing Vitamin D, too.
The key to a good tan is to be sensible - don’t overdo it in the sun, and don’t use products that could damage your skin or the planet. Whatever you’ve got planned for the summer, enjoy, and check back to Ultra Tee every month for more tips on living a sustainable life.