Summer vacation time is almost here again and we all want to have that great tan. However, we now know that moderation is the key when it comes to sun exposure…skin cancer, skin ageing, etc are some of the negative effects. So what’s the answer? Self-tanner!

Many people are afraid of using them because they think they’ll get a streaky orange look. Here are a few tips to get an impeccable tan and look as if you’ve just come back from a vacation in the sun.

1) Don’t apply a fake tan product if you’re in a hurry.

Take the time to apply the product evenly in large circular movements to avoid streaks.
If you’re always in a hurry, it’s better to use the gradual tanning moisturizers such as Jergens or Olay (these are my favourites, they’re very affordable and effective and come in two shades that match your own skin) or mix your self-tanner with your moisturizer. It’s easy to apply and as the result is gradual, you’ll avoid streaks and uneven patches.

2) Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate.

If your skin is well-exfoliated, you’ll have less roughness and dead skin so the self-tanning product will go on more uniformly. When you exfoliate, make sure you pay extra attention to areas which may be rougher such as ankles, heels, knees, elbows. Exfoliate before each application of self-tanner.

3) Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

For the same reasons as in point 2, your skin will be smoother and the result will be more even. Moisturize daily.

4) Understand how a self-tanner works.

To avoid unpleasant surprises, it’s better to know how a self-tanner works. The product will have a more intense effect on rough or thicker areas so go easy on these (again, knees, elbows, feet and ankles).
Self- tanners contain no sun protection so use an SPF 30 sunscreen if you go outside. Just because you’re tanned, it doesn’t mean that you’re immune to sunburn. This is the difference with a real suntan. Self-tanners don’t stimulate the protection of melanin (which is what the skin secretes to protect it and which gives you a tan); they colour the dead skin cells on the surface thanks to DHA, a chemical agent which causes the colour (non-toxic because it isn’t absorbed into the skin.). So it’s not your skin which is tan, it’s just the outer layer which reacts to the DHA by turning brown. Again, don’t forget your sunscreen!

5) Choose a shade which resembles your own skin colour.

If you buy a self-tanner that is rally dark and you have very pale skin, it’s possible that the result will be orange and you’ll have obvious dividing lines. There are many versions on the market so try to pick one that will give you a realistic result. It’s better to get a lighter one and apply it over a longer period to get the desired effect gradually.

6) Wash your hands immediately afterwards or use gloves.

Don’t forget to do this if you don’t want to have orange palms! Some products contain « bronzers » which colour the skin instantly. Usually, a self-tanning product takes a few hours to develop its full effect so the advantage of products containing “bronzers” is that you can head off to the beach immediately, already tanned. However, these types of product stain the hands easily and I would recommend using gloves.

7) Moisturizing formulas in lotion form are easier to apply and hydrate the skin at the same time.

So it’s easier to avoid streaks and also the dry areas are less obvious because the skin is well-moisturized.

8) Let it dry properly before wearing clean clothes.

If you don’t, you could get stains on your clothes which are difficult to remove. Wear colours rater than white. Forget about white sheets also, even if you’ve had a shower before going to bed. Your body could leave a yellow imprint where you slept.

9) If you don’t like the smell of self-tanning products, apply it in the evening, and then you won’t smell it all day long. Some have a stronger smell than others. You’ll have to do some tests.

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