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Tanning is one of the most important issues of any summer.  You’ve already made the great decision to go with a sexy Brazilian bikini, and now you want to know how to get a great tan in one, right?  Well you came to the right spot!  There are quite a few tanning options out there, and we’re going to go through them here so you can go about getting that luscious tan in a completely safe manner.


Sunless Tanning

Sunless tanning has come a long way in the last decade.  It used to be that you could see a sunless tanner coming from a mile away with their orange glow and uneven coverage, but these days it’s hard to tell someone’s sun kissed skin from a sunless tan.  Sunless tanning products come in a variety of forms ranging from lotions to sprays, so let’s look some of the more popular methods a bit more closely.

The first option is to apply a sunless tanning product at home.  Sunless tanning products have made a lot of strides and usually no longer leave the tell-tale orange streaks of days gone by.  They generally come in sprays, lotions and creams containing dihydroxyacetone (DHA) which reacts to oxygen creating the desired change in color.  The important thing with self-tanners is selecting a reputable product so you can be sure to get a soft, even tan.  There is endless product information available on the internet, but be careful because some of that information is directly from the actual manufacturers.  Of course they’re not going to tell you if it applies unevenly or fades too quickly.  They want to sell you their product!  To avoid these traps, make sure you take into consideration product reviews from people who have actually used that particular product, or ask friends and family which ones they’ve had luck with if they use self-tanning products.  When you’re finally ready to apply the self-tanner, make sure you do it evenly and immediately remove any excess from your skin (don’t forget your hands!).

The second option is to go to a salon or spa that offers either spray tanning or airbrush tanning.  Some people prefer the airbrush look over spray tans, but again that is a matter of preference.  With either product, it’s a good idea to make the appointment late in the afternoon and always wear loose clothing.  For the first 24 hours or so, some of the product will rub off, so make sure you plan accordingly.  You may also want to use old sheets and towels, and even wear old pajamas and socks when sleeping that first night.  Don’t let that scare you away from using this sunless tanning option, though!  This is a great way to get that healthy summer glow without having to deal with messy lotions at home.

When using either the at home or salon methods, remember to always start with fresh, clean skin.  Prior to application or your appointment, be sure to use an exfoliating scrub, paying special attention to those spots prone to dry skin such as elbows, knees and ankles.  Apply your own moisturizing lotion after scrubbing, and allow plenty of time for it to soak in.  This will help avoid uneven coverage which usually results from areas of excess dead skin.  It’s also best to go with a sunless tan that is only a few shades darker than your own skin tone.  If you have a naturally fair complexion, you don’t want to try to go to a deep bronze tan on your first application no matter how tempting it is!

The last sunless tanning method is the use of tanning beds or booths.  This method is hotly debated because of its potentially harmful UV rays.  If you decide a tanning bed is the way to go, make sure you limit your sessions to 10 – 15 minutes at the absolute most.  If you have a fair complexion, the tanning salon may even require you to start with shorter sessions.  Since the source of the UV exposure is so much closer to you than the sun would be, it’s important to take extra care when using a tanning bed.  Always protect delicate areas not normally exposed to the sun, make use of the protective eyewear and use a tanning lotion to avoid skin damage, as well.


Natural Tanning

If sunless tanning just won’t cut it and you need natural sun to give your skin a warm glow, it’s very important to take proper care of your skin.  As a rule, it’s best to avoid the sun during peak hours which are generally between 11am and 4pm.  During this time, the sun is at its maximum intensity so UV light is the strongest.  When spending time outside in the natural sun, it’s advisable to always wear sunscreen even if you are already tanned, have a naturally dark complexion or it looks like an overcast day outside.  When selecting sunscreen, it’s important that it block both UVA and UVB rays.  Here are some other general guidelines to help you pick the one that’s best for your skin type.

  • Fair:  Usually burns quickly with very little to no tanning afterwards.  SPF 20 to 30 or higher is recommended.
  • Light:  May burn moderately but eventually tans with gradual exposure.  SPF 8 to 12 or higher is recommended.
  • Medium:  Only burns minimally and tanning happens most often.  SPF 4 to 8 or higher is recommended.
  • Dark:  Rarely burns, almost always turning a dark brown shade.  SPF 2 to 4 or higher is recommended.

As you can see, sunscreen is recommended for everyone no matter what your complexion.   Make sure that all exposed skin is covered with sunscreen, paying special attention to your face and even your lips.  There are products containing sunscreen that are made specifically for these more delicate areas, so make sure you’re stocked up before heading out outdoors.  Don’t forget to also reapply your sunscreen products for every 20 – 30 minutes of sun exposure.  If you’re going to be in and out of the water, buying a waterproof formula is an absolute must, too.  UV rays can reach skin even under water, and when you first step out of the pool it is intensified even more by the moisture remaining on your skin.  You’ll also want to have a great after sun lotion to help minimize some of the negative effects of the sun.  A good lotion made specifically for after sun care, especially one containing aloe, will help cut down on redness and soothe the skin immediately following exposure.

With a little preparation and planning, you can have a safe and healthy glow all year round!