The safest way to get a healthy golden glow this summer is to avoid the UV rays and resort to a bottle of quality tanning lotion. But, we’ve all witnessed the horrors of bad self-tanning jobs – uneven streaks of color, dark creases and orange skin. The best way to avoid disaster is to properly prepare the skin and carefully apply a quality product.
Follow these steps to achieve the even, golden glow you desire:
- Make sure you select a product that contains dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the active ingredient. Select a band name that has withstood the test of time, not a generic or store brand. Foam, gel, lotion and spray will produce similar results so select the method that is easiest for you to apply.
- For best results, set aside a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Bathe and shave or exfoliate using a loofa to remove all the dead skin and ensure the area is smooth. This is a crucial step. The chemicals (DHA) in self-tanners react with amino acids in the upper layers of your skin. By removing the uppermost layer you ensure the tan develops in a fresh layer that's going to be around longer. Exfoliate thoroughly and evenly because the rough spots will tan differently than the smooth areas.
- Dry off. Make sure skin is completely dry and avoid humid locations or sweating if possible.
- Apply lotion in a circular pattern evenly to all areas of the skin; use sparingly on the elbows, knees, ankles and hair line. Around your feet, lightly spread the tanner from your legs down onto your ankles and the tops of your feet. Don't apply any to your toes, heels, or the sides of your feet. Apply the tanner sparingly on your face and neck because that skin will darken easily. Don't forget behind your ears and the back of your neck, especially if you have short hair. While most people don't have tanned underarms, avoiding that area can be difficult, so it's better to apply self-tanner there and lightly wipe with a damp washcloth about five minutes later.
- Wash hands immediately with soap and water after application to avoid staining of hands and palms.
- Avoid contact with clothing for 15 minutes. Don't get dressed until the skin is not tacky to the touch. If that's not convenient, put on a loose article of clothing.
- Wait six hours before exercising, bathing or showering.
- Wait 24 hours before swimming or using spa services.
Full color will develop within 24 hours and can last for up to six days.
Enjoy your sunless tan but remember, even though you look bronzed, you still need protection from UVA/UVB rays. Slather on the sunscreen before you head outside!