By now, the risks of too much exposure to harmful UV rays are well known. From premature aging and wrinkles to melanoma and other forms of skin cancer, spending too much time in the sun (or in a tanning bed) can be bad for you. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to give up on a healthy, sun-kissed glow. If you love tanning but hate the side effects, sunless tanning is the way to go. But do they really work?
What You Need to Know About Sunless Tanning
If you’ve heard of or have a personal horror story about an attempt at applying sunless tanner gone horribly wrong, you’re probably not alone. In addition to choosing the right self-tanning product, there are also a few steps that will make the application much smoother — and successful — without unwanted copper streaks, spots or stains on your skin! By following a few helpful sunless tanning hacks, you can get the tan you want, without putting your skin and health at risk.
Choosing the Best Self Tanning Product for You
There are a number of options for every type of skin. Dermatologists recommend sampling a few products before committing and starting out lightly and subtly to avoid common rookie mistakes, like over applying or choosing a shade that is too dark. (Pro tip: you don’t have to use the same product from head to toe. Mix it up with different application types – spray vs. cream for example – and keep in mind that you may need a separate product for your face and hands than for the rest of your body.)
Sunless tanning products run the gamut from:
- Tinted moisturizer (great option to start slowly and keep your skin smooth and hydrated
- Pre-soaked tanning towelettes
- Self-tanning mousse/foam or gels
- Self-tanning sprays
Prepping Your Skin for a Sunless Tan
Once you’ve found the best products for your skin type and lifestyle, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to ensure that the product goes on as smoothly as evenly as possible for the best results.
How to prepare your body to apply self-tanner:
- Apply product within three minutes of finishing a bath or shower, when your skin is still moist and supple to avoid streaking
- Use a very small amount of product
- Use controlled circular motions
- Start at your feet and slowly work your way up
- Wash your hands
- Let it dry
- Apply moisturizer to complete the application