Sunless Tanning: Tips For A Safe, Gorgeous Tan

Tanning products, both sunless and sun, work on the epidermis, or the outside layer of your skin, and not the dermis or inner layer.

When you apply a tanner or tanning lotion, crème, spray, or towlette by gently rubbing the product into your outer skin layer, those that are most effective (the ones that list dihydroxyacetone or DHA as an active ingredient), begin to work within around 40 minutes to an hour.

DHA reacts with amino acids in the epidermis, producing a natural pigment called melanoidin that bonds with proteins in skin cells. The results are a change of color that can last up to about seven days.

Here are some tips to get the maximum benefit from your sunless tanning products.

Apply Your Self-Tanning Products At Night

Since most self-tanning lotions have no sunscreen for protection outdoors, the best time to use self-tanners is at night before going to bed.

If done earlier, allow a minimum of two hours and test for staining before putting back on your regular clothes. Use sprays or products that contain extra coloring formula earlier in the evening, or when you have more time to "dry" after applying.

Tanning How To's

1. Choose what you want to wear for tanning lines, whether it's a swimsuit or undergarments. Choose old clothing, especially without nylon, and not loose clothing.

2. Take a washcloth to exfoliate your skin, soap, moisturizer, your self-tanning lotion, disposable clear gloves, a nail brush, a ball cap, hair pins or accessories to keep hair from your face, a sponge roller brush or paintbrush if you apply product to your back, and access to a clock.

3. If you are not going to use disposable gloves, you should to wash your hands and scrub your nails about every minutes while applying the tanning product so that they don't stain orange.

4. Start with a shower or washing to remove dead, flaky and dry skin. Wash with your washcloth or exfoliation sponge, gently going in a circular motion. Dry yourself thoroughly and get hair up off your neck. Let steam out of the room.

5. Gently rub moisturizer into knees, ankles, elbows to prepare for the self-tanning solution. Some apply this to the face and neck areas, too.

6. Suit up and apply your tanning product. Beginners should practice on small areas first.

7. Begin by applying the tanning product to your legs. Work with one leg at a time, applying in a circular motion from top to bottom. Don't rub it in thin. You want a good even coating. For feet and ankles, go ahead and apply a little thinner coating.

8. Now start on your upper body. Continue applying product upwards in circular motion. Most prefer to cover the torso first, using the roller brush or paintbrush on the back, then continue with the arms.

9. Time to finish up with the neck, face, ears, nose, cheeks. "Go thin" is the motto for these areas.

10. Now it's time for drying. Wait at least 30 minutes before coming into contact with anything. Stand and read or sit on the edge of a chair and enjoy computer games, television, a friendly phone chat or something.

11. After the 30 minutes, you can wear loose clothing. Skip the jeans and other tight clothing to allow for around one to two hours. Check your specific product instructions for guidelines.

12. Keep in mind different products have different drying times, so don't get wet, even by sweating, for at least three hours.

13. Depending upon the tanning product and your skin, you may need to wash, exfoliate the dry, flaky, dead skin cells and re-apply product every few days or so. Check your product for guidelines and monitor your skin for any rashes or other irritations that could develop.

From start of application of the tanning product until complete drying time or about three hours, you can have a sunless tan that can last all week.

The chemical makeup of tanning products as well as how they interact with different parts of your body can affect tanning results. Some areas may show color variations and the tan may last longer.

Where Did My Tan Go?

Dead skin cells rub and wear off the epidermis, resulting in the fading or losing of the tan. Roughly once a month or a period between 35 to 45 days, the epidermis is regenerated.

In order to keep a tan going long-term, many companies recommend that you reapply their sunless and self-tanning products every three days.

For more tips on getting a gorgeous, long-lasting tan check out the Sunless Tanning Guide.

About the author: Priya Shah is the owner of a health portal on Natural Herbal Health Remedies

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