Do we Practice what we Preach?

We are all well aware of the rise in melanoma in this country and therapists are responsible for educating and advising clients about sun protection. Everyone is at risk of skin cancer and premature ageing regardless of genetic factors. It is important that therapists not only advise every client appropriately but actually practice what they preach.

I can understand the attraction of sun beds; it is much more appealing to feel the warmth of U.V rays on your skin rather than religiously apply a product which invariably stains your underwear and leaves streaks of colour on your feet (no matter how hard you try!). It is also much quicker and cheaper for a sun bed session as apposed to a fake tan application. Many people are drawn to sun bed use and sunbathing as U.V rays have such a positive psychological effect and boost our mood. Everyone knows the associated dangers of U.V exposure but some choose to ignore the facts and carry on regardless. Attitudes towards tanning need to change and health has to come before vanity.

Fake tanning is a fantastic and safe alternative, but how many people actually completely fake it? Although hugely popular fake tan is quite often used to simply deepen an existing sun bed tan, which actually defeats the object doesn't it? While thousands of anti-ageing products continue to flood the market promising to reverse the effects of ageing, we need to realize that no amount of creams and potions will reverse the damage. It is certainly true that prevention is better than cure.

It is important to advocate a daily sunscreen or moisturizer with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher. Stock a product range which contains sun protection in products formulated for day-time use. Advise clients to avoid the sun at midday when it is at its most intense. If clients simply cannot bear to live without a tan, at least encourage them to limit their sun exposure, protect the face, neck and decollete and use fake tanning products whenever possible. Monitor your clients; regularly check for the presence of moles and changes to existing moles. Most important of all do not offer sun bed sessions in beauty salons; a beauty therapist's role is to improve the condition of the skin and general well-being.

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