Summer is approaching and all of a sudden the desire to expose arms and legs is upon us. Problem is: those limbs might not have seen the sun in months. The desire to “lay a base” for beach season or bronze-up pale body parts is strong now. However, try and resist the urge to “fake bake” or indulge in a tanning bed session. According to a piece on Mayo Clinic’s site all exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays is damaging to the skin.
Alternatives: I know some people get a little disconcerted by sunless tanning products - they streak, they turn you orange, they are messy - and for some in my wellness community they seem chock full of chemicals and are unnatural. Well good news, sunless tanning products have come a long way.
For all around ease, portability and convenience, Estee Lauder Sunless Tanning Towelettes are the best. You can keep in gym bag for a little bronzing post work-out and are perfect for travel with all the bottle and liquid restrictions on the airlines.
For the best drugstore brand, I think it’s a toss-up between Neutrogena MicroMist Tanning Sunless Spray and L’Oreal’s Sublime Bronze ProPerfect Airbrush Self-Tanning Mist. Both of these products give you professional airbrushed results for pennies in comparison to how celebrities self tan. They dry quickly, but you might want to enlist the help of a friend (a good one) to help you get an even application.
I know people are leery about putting products on the face, but Clarins and Shiseido make some of the best sunless tanning products that go on natural, non-greasy and smooth: Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel and Shiseido “Brilliant Bronze” Quick Self Tanning Gel are leaders in this category.
For those who chose to self tan but want an SPF included Neutrogena has an excellent lotion with an SPF of 20. Remember though, SPF, be it with self tanning agents or not, needs constant application, so you’ll need to tote non-tanning sun protection with you.
Even though self tanners might seem the farthest thing from natural, the active agent in self tanners, Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is actually derived from a natural vegetable source such as sugar cane or sugar beets. DHA reacts with the amino acids in your outermost layer of skin, where it turns the protein in the dead cells brown and creates the illusion of a tan. But even with the inclusion of DHA, for those seeking an organic line, Lavera has a wonderful product chock full of calendula, rosewater and aloe.
And remember, before self tanning exfoliate first, for an even tone and once your glow has taken always use a SPF. Happy and safe sunning.