SolveYourProblem Article Series: Sunless Tanning
Enjoy a Healthy Looking Tan All Year Long
With A Sunless Tan


Sunless Tanning Tips

  • Avoid possible skin allergies by not using sunscreen products with PABA.
  • Apply lip sunscreen products approximately 45 to 60 minutes before you head outdoors.
  • Apply other sunscreen products anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours before being exposed to the sunís rays, unless directed differently on the package (check application instructions for each product).
  • For people with sensitive skin, choose a product with a chemical-free block ingredient like titanium dioxide.
  • For fussy children or even for those who just want to make their outdoor activities more fulfilling, check out the variety of sunscreens on the market that are formulated for children. Products come in scented varieties cherry, chocolate and watermelon, and in easy-to-use forms like in nifty spray bottles.
  • Avoid alcohol-based products for children, as they can irritate their young skin.

How To Apply Self-Tanning Products

Tanning products, both sunless and sun, go to work on the epidermis, or the outside layer of your skin, and not the dermis or inner layer. However, the layer of epidermis that is affected by sunless versus the layer affected by sun tanning products differs. Sun tanning lotions, sprays, gels and other assorted items, go to work on the stratum basale or deepest layer. And sunless tanning products go to work on the stratum corneum or outermost layer.

Applying Self-Tanning Products

WHEN : 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 your regular clothes back on. Note that if your lotion contains extra coloring formula or if youíre using a spray, staining could be a major issue; so use these types of products earlier in the evening or when you have more time to ďdryĒ after applying (at least a few hours).

WHAT : Gather your necessary items together. Choose what you want to wear (for tanning lines), whether itís a swimsuit, undergarments, etc. Use caution in your choices because the product may stain or run so choose older clothing, especially without nylon (permanently stains this fabric), and not loose clothing (to inhibit runny lotions). You will also need to be able to shower or wash beforehand. So round up a cotton washcloth or whatever you use to exfoliate your skin (sponge and other product, etc.), soap, any moisturizer you may want to use, your self-tanning product, 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 will apply product to your back, and access to a clock.

TIMING NOTE : if you are not going to use disposable gloves, you will need to wash your hands and scrub your nails every few minutes while applying the tanning product so that they donít stain orange. Hence the need for the timer mentioned above.

WHERE Ė Begin with a shower or bath to remove dead, flaky and dry skin. Wash with your washcloth or exfoliation sponge, gently going in a circular motion. Special areas of focus are your knees and lower legs, your ankles and feet, and your elbows. When finished, dry yourself, including your hair, thoroughly, and get hair up off your neck. Let steam out of the room, if youíll be continuing in there. (Remember: moisture like steam & sweat can cause the self-tanning product to run / wear off.)

MOISTURIZER STAGE : Gently rub moisturizer into the special areas of focus mentioned above (knees, ankles, etc) to prepare (prep) for the self-tanning solution. Some people apply this to the face and neck areas, too.

SELF-TANNER STAGE : Now itís time to suit up and apply your tanning product. Note: beginners should practice on small areas first.

FIVE MINUTE LEGS : 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. Donít rub it in thin. You want a good even coat. For feet and ankles, go ahead and apply a little thinner coat. You can skip sides of feet, toes and heels or go lighter here or mix in moisturizer a little for easier coverage (knees, too). (If you are not using gloves, work quickly and check the timer to wash up when finished with this stage).

FIVE MINUTE UPPER BODY : Continue applying the product upwards in circular motion. Most prefer to cover the torso first, using a roller brush or paintbrush on the back, then continue with the arms. If itís taking a while to cover all areas and youíre not using gloves, remember to check the clock and wash hands and nails thoroughly before continuing. (Treat elbows as you did knees).

FIVE MINUTE NECK-UP : Time to finish up with the neck, face, ears, nose, cheeks. ďGo thinĒ is the motto for these areas.

DRYING STAGE : Now itís 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. After 30 minutes, you can wear loose clothing. Skip the jeans scene, though, and other tighter clothing for around one to two hours. Check your specific product instructions for guidelines.

FOLLOW UP STAGE : Keep in mind different products have different drying times, so you donít want to get wet, even by sweating, for at least three hours. Depending upon the tanning product and your skin and genetics, you will want 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.

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