According to the HSE, skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world with over 10,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) in Ireland each year.
Overexposure to ultraviolet light is the main cause of non-melanoma skin cancer so sunbathing and tanning beds, increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Of course, we here in Ireland know that a good tan can come from a bottle - but have you ever stopped to question what chemicals are in your fake tan?
Noelle O’Connor, the first Irishwoman entrepreneur to appear on UK’s Dragons Den, is the brains behind TanOrganic – a brand of vegan, ethically tested and eco-certified self-tanning products.
Last month, the company launched the Save Our Skin campaign to raise awareness of melanoma and are currently raising funds for the charity Look Good Feel Better, who offer cosmetics workshops to oncology patients.
We caught up with Noelle and brand ambassador Rosanna Davison to find out more about the campaign and get some top fake tan tips.
1. What is Save Our Skin about and why did you want to get involved?
Rosanna: I have been part of the TanOrganic family for a couple of years now and I love it for so many reasons. The fact that their products are eco-certified, cruelty-free, organic and vegan certified is very important to me as is their commitment to charity.
I am all for trying to reduce the amount of chemicals we put into and onto our bodies, so the fact that this brand is certified organic is a big plus for me. Now that more and more of us are shunning real tanning for the fake kind because we now fully understand the damaging effects of the sun and sun-beds, it’s a brand that offers a genuine alternative.
We launched the Save Our Skin campaign for Melanoma Awareness Month to raise awareness of the dangers of excessive sun exposure that can cause skin cancers and ageing. Since 50% of skin cancers are caused by sun damage to the skin before the age of 18, we want to advise teenagers and young people especially on how to protect their skin from harmful UV rays as a preventive measure against skin cancers.
Noelle: Like Rosanna, I am very passionate about naturals, organics, skin health, and educating people, especially young girls and boys, about the dangers of sun exposure. In 2011, when I created an organic self-tan, I was way ahead of my time but today people are much more aware of what they apply on their skin and the effect different products have on the environment.
We are delighted to be raising awareness of the dangers of suntanning while also being able to offer a safe and healthy alternative that means you can still have gorgeous golden skin.
2. What is the aim of Look Good Feel Better?
Noelle: It's global charity, they work with different hospitals to offer workshops and makeup classes to people who are undergoing cancer treatment. They rely on the kindness of volunteer hairdressers and makeup artists to run these workshops.
They aim to rebuild the self-esteem of these women using the power of cosmetics and makeup. Look Good Feel Better understand that cancer is an incredibly daunting experience for anyone to go through and the appearance side of chemo and other treatments is a huge part of that, so the charity attempts to bring some light and positivity into the lives of these people. We are delighted to be able to support them in this campaign.
3. How do you bring SPF into your beauty routine?
Rosanna: My Mum taught me the importance of being vigilant of the sun as a youngster and said to start wearing an SPF every day, rain, hail or shine whether in Ireland or abroad. I wear SPF 50 every day on my face and it is my must carry product even on holidays.
4. We love fake tan in Ireland but we’re not always on the mark when it comes to applying - any top tips?
Rosanna: Don’t forget to exfoliate! The key to a smooth, even and long-lasting tan is prepping it well by exfoliating in advance to ensure any dead skin cells have been sloughed off. This generally helps to boost brightness and encourages a more even texture. I also make sure to exfoliate my face 2-3 times a week for best results!
Once you have finished exfoliating, moisturise! This is key to achieving a flawless tan and perfect fade. Apply the mousturiser to areas like the knees, elbows, hands and feet as it will help to ensure that you never end up with disastrous application results, like tangoed hands and feet!
Noelle: I always say choose a tan to match your natural skin tone. Applying too dark a colour leads to very noticeable fade off when light fights dark and hence the "offensive dirty look tan" on feet, knees and hands.
If you really want that darker look but have fair skin, use a self-tan that is loaded with moisture rich ingredients, avoid products with SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulphates) that give you that dreaded dry flaking skin dandruff. Moisturise daily with skin penetrating plant oils rather than petroleum or mineral oils.
Tan Organics have extended the charity fundraising into the month of June. For more information on the company, click here.