Fake It: My Guide to Self-Tanning

Ok everyone, everyday I read someones facebook status about them going tanning and I think “whyyyy do girls continue to put themselves at risk day after day just for tan?” Don’t get me wrong I loveee the feeling of the warm sun and the glow that your skin has after tanning but is it really worth the risk of cancer, premature aging, & even immune system changes? There’s a myth that going tanning in a bed is better than tanning outdoors because it is in a controlled environment… that’s very wrong. The UVA rays you get from a bed are 2 to 3 times more powerful(aka harmful) than the UVA rays you get from the sun. You are also only 5 inches or so away from the bulbs where as the sun is quite far away. Either of these options are harmful to your skin but if you must tan, stick to the sun. The best way to get a nice dark colour without the damages of the sun is to self-tan. I know, I know.. “self-tanning turns you orange.” In some cases, yes… but not always. If you know how to do it, you can do it right. I’m going to list the steps I follow which I have learned from trial and error and tips I have picked up as well.

Step 1. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! If you miss this step you may end up with a blotchy tan. This happens because we have dry patches of skin on our bodies that absorb all the moisture and colour from the tanner resulting in a darker patch of skin. You want to exfoiate to get rid of all the built of skin cells your body has accumulated so you have a nice smooth surface to work with. My favourite exfoliater is The Body Shop’s Spa Wisdom African Body Scrub.

Step 2. Make sure you are completely dry before you apply the tanner. You can either wear a pair of gloves for this step or just wash your hands really well after your done. I used to wear gloves but found it easier to just apply it with my hands. Apply the tanner all of your body making sure to rub in completely. If you leave any moisturizer not rubbed in you can bet you will have a streak of darker colour there.

Step 3. Wash your hands. Make sure you get the insides of your fingers as this is a spot that tends to build up and is usually missed when washing. You WILL notice if your forget to do this.

Step 4. If it’s possible try not to put any clothes on right away. You want to make sure the tanner soaks in before you put clothes on. It is a good idea to self-tan at night so that you can sleep without your clothes rubbing against your skin. If you have to get dressed right after…it won’t kill you.

Brands I love: Clairns- get the one in the tub. It’s a thick moisturizer that smells like coconut. It’s the best smelling self-tanner I’ve ever smelt and you don’t need to mix it with a lotion.

Marcelle: This is a gel tanner. To get the best results mix this with a lotion for easier application and longer use of the product.

I tend to stay away from the gradual lotions like Jergens or Olay because I have found that instead of just fading away like self-tanners do, they get spotty after a shower because parts of the lotion come off while other parts stay on your skin. I love polka dots… but not on my skin!

If you find that you do have some blotchy spots don’t worry. Take a cotton pad with some toner on it and rub it over and of the darker spots of tanner that you see. This won’t remove the colour completely but it will blend it in better with the rest of your skin.

I don’t want to lecture anyone about tanning. I’d be quite the hypocrite if I did as I used to tan all the time and I still enjoy sitting in the sun during the summer. Now I don’t use tanning beds, I wear sunscreen on my face and I moisturize all the time to keep my skin healthy. Even if I don’t develop skin cancer I don’t want to look like I’m 50 when I turn 30. At the very least wear sunscreen on your face… you can always match your makeup to the rest of your body and you know you will have a nice wrinkle free face when your older. :) Suncreen is the number 1 way to avoid wrinkles!

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