Best dermatologist recommended self-tanner
- Posted on: Mar 23 2023
Warmer weather is coming our way soon – and for many, so will the desire for tan, sun-kissed skin. As you pack your winter gear away and get ready for shorts and swimsuits, the thought of baring your pale skin (courtesy of the latest Colorado winter) may be hard to handle.
We all know the dangers of increased sun exposure. Indoor tanning isn’t the answer either – even just one indoor tanning session can increase your melanoma risk. Your best bet? Self-tanner.
The skin care experts at Asarch Dermatology are sharing information about all things self-tanning, including what to look for in self-tanners, how to properly apply them, how often to use them, how to determine your skin type, and more.
The risks of sun exposure and indoor tanning
Not surprisingly, more than 90 percent of skin cancers are caused by overexposure to UV radiation – not only UV rays from the sun, but also from indoor tanning beds.
There’s a reason why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires warning labels on all indoor tanning equipment. People who use tanning beds increase their risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma (the two most common types of skin cancer) by 58% and 24% respectively.
You don’t even have to use tanning beds frequently for them to pose a threat to your health. Just one indoor tanning session before the age of 35 increases your risk of melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) by a whopping 75%.
The bottom line: there’s no such thing as a healthy tan when UV rays are involved. Whether you lay next to a pool or in a tanning bed, the damage your skin sustains can result in premature wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and of course, skin cancer. Therefore, self-tanners are the best and safest alternative.
What to look for in self-tanners
Self-tanners come in many forms, including sprays, lotions, foams, drops, and towelettes. Your Asarch dermatologist can help you choose the self-tanner that’s best for you and your skin. In the meantime, here are some guidelines to follow:
- For dry skin– Certain self-tanners (especially drops) can be added to your favorite moisturizing product, or use a self-tanner with hydrating ingredients like argan oil or coconut water.
- For oily skin – Steer clear of heavy lotions and oil-based self-tanners. Instead, use a lightweight self-tanner that contains aloe vera, vitamin E, and other nourishing ingredients.
- For rough skin– Using a 2-in-1 exfoliator and self-tanner can help smooth rough skin and apply the product more evenly.
- Mix and match– It’s fine to use different products on various parts of your body if needed.
Aside from consulting with your Asarch dermatologist, another way to ensure that you’ll be happy with your self-tanning results is to test the product in an inconspicuous area (such as your inner thigh). Be sure to choose an area that closely matches the skin on the rest of your body, and contact us right away if you experience any negative reactions.
How to properly apply self-tanner
Follow these steps to apply self-tanner properly:
- Exfoliate first – Unless you have a 2-in-1 exfoliator and self-tanner, use a washcloth to remove any dead skin cells prior to application, especially on areas where your skin is thickest (such as your elbows, knees, and ankles).
- Dry your skin – Drying your skin first helps the self-tanner go on more evenly.
- Apply in sections – Start with your face and arms and then work your way down, massaging the self-tanner into your skin in a circular motion.
- Stop to wash your hands – Avoid orange-colored palms by stopping to wash your hands with soap and water between each section.
- Be sure to blend – For a more natural look, lightly blend the self-tanner from your wrists to your hands and from your ankles to your feet.
- Dilute your joints – Your elbows, knees, and ankles tend to absorb more self-tanner than other parts of your skin. To dilute the area, lightly rub it with a damp towel or apply a thin layer of lotion on top.
- Let it dry fully – Wait at least 10 minutes before getting dressed, and wear loose clothing for the next three hours. Avoid sweating if possible.
What’s your skin type?
Sun exposure and indoor tanning are more dangerous for some people than others. The Fitzpatrick skin type system uses melanin levels to determine a person’s skin type and skin cancer risk. Your Asarch dermatologist can review this information and suggest the best dermatologist recommended self-tanners during your visit.
- Type 1 – Burns without tanning
Very pale white skin, often with green or blue eyes and fair or red hair
- Type 2 – Burns and does not tan easily
White skin, often with blue eyes
- Type 3 – Burns first, then tans
Fair skin with brown eyes and brown hair
- Type 4 – Burns a little and tans easily
Light brown skin, dark eyes, and dark hair
- Type 5 – Easily tans and rarely burns
Brown skin, dark eyes, and dark hair
- Type 6 – Tans darker and never burns
Dark brown or black skin, dark eyes, and dark hair
Do self-tanners age or harm your skin?
Unlike sun exposure and indoor tanning, self-tanners do not age your skin. Some people experience allergic reactions to the fragrances or preservatives added to self-tanners. Otherwise, they are not harmful.
How often should you use self-tanner?
Every self-tanner comes with its own set of instructions but usually takes 30-60 minutes to produce visible color on your skin. Generally, the product should be reapplied daily for 2-3 days until the desired shade is achieved. To maintain the shade, reapply 2-3 times per week.
Can self-tanner be used as a substitute for sunscreen?
No! Self-tanner does not provide any protection from the sun, and research shows that it only takes one blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence to nearly double a person’s risk of developing melanoma during their lifetime. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, especially during the spring and summer months.
Is your skin trying to tell you something? Contact us
If you notice any changes or suspicious marks on your skin, don’t ignore them. And never let your quest for bronzed skin put your health at risk! High-quality skin care products and treatments are just a click away. To learn more about the best dermatologist recommended self-tanners, schedule an appointment at Asarch Dermatology today.