This time of year, I am still startled when I see someone with a golden tan. The first thing I think is, "Wow that person is so lucky - they got to beat the March doldrums somewhere sunny and warm!" The second thing I think is, "I wonder if they know how the sun damages their skin."
Sun damage is the number one cause of wrinkles. TANNING IS A SIGN OF SKIN DAMAGE. It's evidence that the sun has penetrated and damaged the skin's support structure. The ultraviolet rays of the sun damage fibers in the skin called elastin. The weakened elastin causes the skin to lose its elasticity. When the skin is stretched it loses its ability to rebound. The result of this is a wrinkling effect in areas of the face which are most usually stretched, like the eyes, mouth, and nose. This applies to damage your skin received naturally under the sun, or on a tanning bed. If you think tanning beds are safer than tanning under the sun, they aren't. In fact, most tanning beds emit mainly UVA rays — which may increase the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
I don't want to appear vain, but people often mention that I look younger than my 56 years. I have used a sunblock for as long as they've been selling them: my skin moisturizer has an SPF of 15, and if I'm going to be out in the sun for more than 30 minutes, I apply a sunblock with at least 30 SPF.
Now and then I'll use one of those self-tanning creams. The newer ones are good and moisturize your skin at the same time. Here are some reviews. I've tried the Jergen's, and at least for my skin, it looks good.
So think twice before laying out in the sun or on a tanning bed. Do you really want the wrinkles that are inevitable, and maybe even flirt with skin cancer? The wrinkles will last a lifetime, whereas a tan only lasts a few days.