Friday, September 15, 2017

Switching from Tanning Beds to Sunless Spray Tans

A female technician holding a spray tan gun. There's another woman in a bikini in the background (she is getting the solution applied on her).
Photo credit: Shutterstock
By now, everyone knows that tanning beds are harmful. The American Academy of Dermatology has beaten us over the head time and time again about how prolonged UV exposure can cause skin cancer. This article is for those of you who want to make the switch from tanning beds to sunless spray tans, but aren’t sure what to expect.

Before I get started, I want to start out by dispelling a common myth about spray tans. Most people hear the words “spray tan” and automatically imagine someone with unnaturally orange skin. To be fair, when spray tans were first introduced, the pigment did have somewhat of an orange tint to it. However, technology has advanced quite a bit since then and the chances of this happening to you are slim to none.

With that being said, it is still possible for a person to end up with an orange hue or a shade that is way too dark for their natural skin tone. That’s why you should always go to a certified spray tan technician (yes, there are actual courses on this).

This brings me to my next point. There are two options when you get a spray tan: you can go into a private booth that applies the solution via machine, or you can get a custom spray tan applied by a technician. The custom spray tan is more expensive of course, but you do get what you pay for. The benefit of getting a spray tan applied by expert hand is that you will receive even coverage and the color itself will last longer.

Now, as far as upkeep goes, you will have to moisturize your skin daily to keep the color from fading. With that being said, be careful about the moisturizer that you use. In a recent article published in Elle, Victoria Dawson Hoff warns that oil-based lotions will deplete your tan in no time.

But perhaps even more important than what you do after your tan is what you do before your tan. In order to ensure the best application possible, you’ll want to exfoliate every inch of your skin before you head to your appointment. You should also wear dark loose-fitting clothes to prevent the solution from rubbing off.

As you can see, maintaining a spray tan is a lot more time-consuming than getting a UV tan. However, your skin will thank you for it in the long run.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Depression Is Nothing to Be Ashamed Of

Photo via Pixabay
An estimated 350 million people in the world, and almost 15 million in the U.S. alone, suffer from depression. Depression is different from being sad, although people often misuse the term “depressed” for “sad.”

There’s a big difference between being sad and having a depressive episode or suffering from depression. Most people have “felt depressed” as a normal reaction to grief, loss, or struggles such as losing a job or having relationship problems.

But when feelings of intense sadness, including feeling that you’re helpless, hopeless, or worthless, last for weeks and keep you from functioning normally, you may have depression.

According to the DSM-5, a manual used to diagnose mental health disorders, depression means that you have at least five of the following symptoms for at least two weeks:

  • A depressed mood during most of the day, particularly in the morning
  • Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
  • Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (being unable to sleep or sleeping too much)
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities that were once pleasurable (including hobbies or sex) nearly every day
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • A sense of restlessness or being slowed down
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain

What do you do if you have these symptoms? First of all, seek help. If you are suicidal, call 911. You can also call a mental health crisis line such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) or the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) hotline. You probably have local crisis lines, too, and you can look them up here.

It can be hard to reach out, especially when you’re in the throes of depression, but it’s critical that you do. Trained professionals at these crisis lines can assist you in getting the help you need.

You can also talk to your physician; he or she may be able to refer you for counseling or medication assistance.

And speaking of medication…needing to take psychiatric medications is nothing to be ashamed of. Psych meds help your brain to work better, in much the same way that insulin helps diabetics to stay alive and functional.

How is depression treated? The best treatment for major depression is a combination of therapy and medications. Therapy will help you process life events that could be contributing to your depression. You’ll also learn techniques to stop negative self-talk and other behaviors that contribute to your depression. Medications will regulate your brain chemistry to make you more resilient when stressful situations arise in your life.

For more information about depression and other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder (alternating periods of deep depression and elation/risky behavior), visit this WebMD guide or the National Alliance on Mental Illness website.

Don’t be ashamed if you’re suffering from depression. You’re not alone, and you deserve to live. Reach out for help; it’s there, and better is possible.