Self tanning, also known as sunless tanning, refers to applying chemical-based creams, lotions, and sprays to attain an effect similar to that resulting from a natural suntan. It arose in response to the relation of prolonged exposure to sun with skin cancer and wrinkles. Self tanners contain a compound called dihydroxyacetone (DHA). This reacts with the amino groups and proteins present in the top layer of the skin, and causes the skin to tan as it would under the sun.
Sunless Tanning Tips
- Before applying any tanning cream or lotion, one must exfoliate the skin. This removes any dead skin cells and excess body oils that may hinder proper absorption of the product. Try using a mild soap, as this will maintain the pH of the skin.
- Follow exfoliation by moisturizing the body with a good water-based moisturizer. Any oil-based moisturizer should be avoided, as the oil will interfere with the absorption of the self tanner into the skin.
- One should remember that perspiration will cause uneven tanning. Hence, at any point, hot and stuffy rooms must be avoided.
- It is very important to buy the right shade of lotion according to one's natural complexion and skin type.
- Before using the product, the bottle must be shaken well. This is to allow the ingredients to mix evenly within the whole solution, so that the solution in the higher levels in the bottle produces the same effect as that at the bottom.
- Use a pair of gloves while applying to avoid the palms getting bronzed. If you do not wish to wear gloves, wash your hands frequently.
- Whether one is using a gel, lotion or spray, the best technique for application is to rub it on the skin in a circular motion. Avoid rubbing it in up and down strokes.
- Always apply the lotion or the spray in the amount specified on the instructions of the product. Applying more of it may cause the skin to darken more than you want, while using insufficient amounts may not bring about the desired tan.
- It is very important not to apply it directly on the elbows and the knees. Instead, one must apply the solution in nearby areas and then with a moist tissue, the tanner should be spread from these areas over to the knees and elbows.
- Always be careful about the face and neck. These areas get tanned very easily. So it is best to use the tanner sparingly in these areas. Extra care has to be taken of the hairline. The tanning should be done so that the color of the forehead seems to blend into the hair along the hairline.
- What you wear determines how much area of your body gets tanned. Cover the area you do not want to tan. It is always advisable to wear tight-fitting clothes, so that the lotion does not seep under the dress you are wearing. Wear a shower cap to keep it out of your hair.
- After having applied the lotion, wait for 15 minutes. Do not do any work, and give some time for it to dry.
- For the tan to last longer, avoid water for another 4 - 6 hours. This also includes perspiration. The tan will darken within a period of 24 hours, giving you a nice golden-bronze complexion. Using a moisturizer will also help the tan to last longer.
Keeping these points in mind, go get that perfect tan that you've always wanted.