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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sunless Tanning with a Cream

In mid-winter or even in summertime, some of us like to have that golden brown look of a suntan minus the sun. Obviously in winter your body isn’t exposed so there is no chance of tanning. And in the warmer months many of us simply don’t want to incur sun damage in order to be a bronzed beauty. There are, however, many ways to look like you have a tan all year-round.

One route to artificial color is a tan received in a tanning bed. Can I just say: Don’t do it! Another kind of artificial sun, which is perfectly safe, is achieved through the use of self-tanning creams. These are very prevalent on the market, so there are many products to choose from. They are a much better alternative than tanning beds or even natural sun exposure. Sunless tanning is a safe way to look like you have a tan without incurring any of the damage of a real suntan or from a tanning bed. When using self-tanning products, you’ll want to follow a few simple instructions.
  1. Exfoliate all areas of your face and body where you will be applying the product for the best results. Most self-tanners employ an ingredient called dihydroxyacetone, which is essentially a skin dye. You want to get rid of any dead skin buildup so your tanning product will have a better chance of going on smoothly and staying on longer.
  2. Shave your legs, ladies, before applying self-tanner. Otherwise some of the dyed skin may come off if you shave shortly afterwards.
  3. Apply your self-tanning cream evenly as best you can. This can be a challenge because you really won’t know if you have spread it evenly until much later. It goes on as a clear or white cream (or oil) and once it is absorbed into the skin, it disappears like a moisturizer. It’s not until several hours later that the color begins to appear. Spread it onto small areas so you can keep track of where you’ve applied it and where you haven’t.
  4. Wash your hands thoroughly and immediately after application. If you ever forget this one step, I guarantee you won’t forget it a second time! It’s pretty embarrassing to be walking around with the palms of your hands and the skin around your nails stained brown. It’s very hard to get this discoloration off your hands.
  5. In order to avoid dying your hands you can wear disposable gloves. However, unless they fit your hands really well (and are tight) the gloves could cause you to apply the self-tanning cream unevenly. I prefer using my hands and, therefore, getting a smooth application. I’m just careful to thoroughly wash my hands immediately afterwards. 
  6. Let the tanning cream dry on your skin before getting dressed. Otherwise there is no telling what your tan will look like, to say nothing about what could happen to your clothes. Remember, these creams are basically dyes.
Sunless tanning usually lasts two to three days. After that, you’ll need to reapply. Some people experience streaking or blotchiness. This can be the result of a poor-quality product, or the product might have been applied improperly. You may have even applied it too often over several consecutive days.

You may come across a self-tanning cream that just smells bad—like burned skin. This is unfortunate, but it does happen with some products. Obviously, don’t use that particular brand again, and perhaps get a product referral from a friend who uses sunless tanning products.

There are many self-tanning products available, so you’ll have a lot of options. There are sunless tanning creams, oils, and even self-tanners in a spray bottle. Whichever method you choose, don’t forget to follow the steps listed above, and you can enjoy year-round color without receiving any of the sun damage of a real tan. 

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