We know we feel good when we have some colour and we know we need to do it safely. So we use fake tan and sunscreens to help us to do that.
Recently a new word has come into my vocabulary, one which you may want to bear in mind when looking at which products to buy.
The word is ‘paraben’.
A paraben is a chemical that acts as a preservative in many cosmetics – including fake tans and sunscreen. And there is an increasing body of evidence that they may react with the skin – particularly when under ultra-violet (ie: sun) light – to cause the kind of damage that has previously been associated with long term over-exposure to the sun.
I don’t have enough knowledge to say that this is definitely a problem. But I’ve noticed that a number of my friends have complained about apparent sun damage on their legs (where people tend to use fake tan more often), when you’d expect it to be higher up on the body where we all most often got sun burned in younger days. This seems to me to support the suggestion that something else is at play.
The good news is that, since I’ve become aware of parabens, I’ve noticed an increasing number of products that say ‘no parabens’. They tend to be more expensive, but if the alternative is skin damage, it’s probably worthwhile.
Rodial – available at Space NK – and Origins – at among others Selfridges and John Lewis – both do both fake tan and sunscreens that are paraben free. Another interesting company that I’ve written about before – is Bare Minerals. They have sunscreen product that’s a powder which you apply with a brush. It’s SPF 30 and the minerals in the powder act as an efficient sunscreen.
In truth, we don’t really know what the effects of parabens are, so you’ll need to decide for yourself whether to look, as I now do, for paraben-free products. Here’s a link to some more information: