What Is Self-Tanning?

Self-Tan

Since the creation of the bikini women have been striving to achieve the perfect Midas look and there are many different methods of tanning available to the general public ranging from direct sun bathing, sun beds, sun capsules, sunless tanning lotions and the newest of all methods, spray tanning. The good news is it has now become more fashionable to have a more natural looking tan so don’t spend all your efforts trying to look like you’ve just been lying in the sun for six weeks!

We started to learn about skin cancer (melanoma) caused by ultra violet rays from the sun in the 1960’s and the beauty industry started looking for alternative tanning methods. There is now no need to expose yourself directly to sun damage in order to avoid the long term effects. Here we are going to take a look at some of the options available to maintain a bronzed body and the associated risks and benefits of each.

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Lotions/Gels/Moisturisers

There are many different options available for ‘self’ tanning and these can be a very affordable option these days!

There are gels, mousses, wipes and lotions so our advice is to try a few of the products out there but the gels and lotions are usually the easiest to apply.

There are products that develop to a particular shade of colour or you can buy products that build up your tan gradually. Depending on whether you want an instant tan for an unexpected occasion or a tan you can build and maintain at your discretion.

It is important to apply the product to clean, un-moisturised skin and shave your legs before you apply. Make sure you take extra care around your knees, elbows and feet and if you would like to apply the product to your face do so using minimal product. Always wash your hands after applying and make sure you wear loose fitting clothing. Avoid getting your skin wet for 1 to 6 hours after application as the product absorbs.

Bronzing Powders

This is very much a quick fix and ideal for impromptu nights out. It can be applied as light or as dark as you desire and such products often contain luminous spheres to give you a light shimmer, creating a fresh faced look or gorgeous silky smooth legs.

It is great concentrated on certain areas such as shoulders, collarbones and just under your cheek bones and can enhance cleavage!

There are two types of spray tanning methods. You may either have it applied by a spray tanning specialist or beauty therapist using an airbrushing gun or opt for the more DIY approach in an automated spray tan booth. If you have it applied by the tanning specialist it is more expensive but the result is a much more even tan. Spray tanning is perfect for a weekend away or a special occasion and gives you an instant full body tan.

A DHA based product (dihydroxyacetone is the active ingredient) is used and it is not a dye but a chemical reaction between the product and the amino acids in your first layer of skin. It is widely considered to be nontoxic and non-carcinogenic. It is recommended that you apply a small amount of spray to your skin as a test patch for 48 hours to ensure that you do not react to the product. It is not recommended if you suffer from eczema or dermatitis.

There is more than one shade of tanning product so you have the freedom to choose a light, medium or dark solution depending on your skin tone. A darker tan is ideal for that wonderful winter escape holiday in the sun!

Before you obtain a spray tan it is recommended to exfoliate well, shave your legs and have clean, un-moisturised skin. Make sure you wear loose fitting clothing as this will enable your tan to dry more evenly. You do NOT want to wear good or light coloured clothing.

The most important after care task is to make sure you wipe the palms of your hands, between your fingers and also the soles of your feet and between your toes free of the product (as these places are not naturally tanned) and also moisturize these areas. The product will take 1 to 6 hours to fully absorb and it is recommended to avoid getting water on your skin until the next morning (sleep on old sheets!). It’s also very important to moisturise daily to maintain the tan to ensure it remains even.

A spray tan will usually last 3-10 days depending on your activities i.e. swimming will reduce the life expectancy of your spray tan.

The Sun

This is simply exposing your skin to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun that leads to darkening of the melanin (skin pigmentation) in your skin.

We do not recommend exposing yourself to UV rays for long periods of time as there is a risk of burning of the skin, increased signs of aging in the skin and skin cancer. If you are going to sun bathe, please do so wisely and always apply a broad spectrum sunblock which protects your skin against both UVA and UVB rays.

Sun Beds/Sun Booths

A sun bed (lying down) or a sun booth (standing up) emits UV rays. The radiation levels can be greater than direct exposure to the sun. The safety of sunbeds has been a point of concern for some time, as it is thought that regular use is linked to an increased risk of skin cancer and therefore it is recommended to use other, much safer methods of self-tanning that have been developed.

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