Achieving a Beautiful (Yet Healthy) Glow with Self-Tanners

Woman tanning on the beach Achieving a Beautiful (Yet Healthy) Glow with Self-Tanners

When it comes to skin cancer prevention, staying out of the sun is one of the best steps you can take. However, you don’t have to give up your summer glow. Self-tanners are a safe and effective alternative to outdoor and artificial tanning. Here’s what you should know when making the switch.

What to Know About Self-Tanners

Why Choose Self-Tanners?

Basking in the sun may be a classic summer pastime. However, prolonged sun exposure is among the top skin cancer causes. A tan is your body’s reaction to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. When your skin is exposed to these rays, whether outside or in a tanning booth, it produces more melanin to prevent cell damage. This cellular damage occurs with every tan or burn, which can lead to premature aging and skin cancer.

Sunless tanning products are a safe alternative to outdoor and indoor tanning. You can give your skin a natural glow without the UV radiation. These products typically stay on your skin for up to a week. However, keep in mind that most self-tanners don’t contain SPF or offer additional sun protection. So, it’s important to wear sunscreen and stay out of the sun while using self-tanner.

How Can You Find The Right Self-Tanner?

The active ingredient in most self-tanners is called dihydroxyacetone (DHA). Most of today’s products have a lower DHA concentration, meaning you’ll look more glowy than orange. When buying a self-tanner, it’s important to choose a topical cream, lotion, or spray. Self-tanning pills aren’t safe and can have dangerous side effects.

Lotions and creams are easy to control while you spread them across the skin, while sprays are best for hard-to-reach areas like your back. Lightweight mousse and gels dry more quickly and can be harder to work with. Remember that it may take trial and error to find your preferred self-tanner.

If you have a specific skin concern, such as psoriasis or eczema, talk to your dermatologist before choosing a topical product. They can recommend brands with safe ingredients.

How Should You Apply Self-Tanner?

While specific instructions will vary, there are a few steps you can take to get the best results from your self-tanner.

  • Clean And Exfoliate: Be sure to start with clean and smooth skin. Use a washcloth in the shower or apply an exfoliating scrub to the skin to remove dead skin cells. This will allow the self-tanner to soak into the skin properly.
  • Start at The Bottom: To prevent any streaks or blotches from bending over, start applying the tanner at your feet and work your way up. Apply the tanner using circular motions, adding a small amount at a time.
  • Buff As Needed: Dry areas like the elbows and knees may absorb more tanning product than the rest of your body. So, you’ll need to take extra care to create an even appearance. Use a damp cloth to buff these areas and remove a small amount of the self-tanner.
  • Wait to Dry: Apply the tanning product to your face, arms, and hands last, then wait for the product to dry. You’ll likely need to wait at least ten minutes. Once the product is dry, you should avoid showering or sweating for six to eight hours.

Again, most tanning products last several days to a week. You’ll likely need to reapply the product throughout the season. Be sure to exfoliate thoroughly before applying more product to keep your skin looking even. Then you can enjoy a natural-looking glow without the sun exposure.

Here at Pacific Dermatology Specialists, skin cancer prevention is a top priority. Our expert dermatologists are available to discuss your skin cancer risk factors and perform routine screenings. We also offer cosmetic treatments to reduce the appearance of sun damage. From Torrance to Seal Beach, CA, we have offices all over the greater Los Angeles area. Contact us today to book an appointment.

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