With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start building that tan. Tanning, as anyone who has tried before knows, is a process and it does require time and effort. Tanning is not about visiting a sunbed one or twice and then strutting around like a bronzed God. Your skin is the largest and most visible organ we have, so looking after it is crucial – especially when subjecting it to harsh chemicals and UV rays. The last thing you want is to end up looking like a leather handbag your Mom has hidden away in her basement.
These top pro-tips will help you build a healthy summer base tan that will reduce your total amount of hours in the sun and help keep that golden glow in check.
As a basic guide to building a base tan:
- Increase your UV expose slowly and regularly to build a deeper tan
- Visit a tanning salon daily, or every other day, to kick-start the tanning process
- Once tanned, reduce the exposure and frequency to 1-2 visits per week for maintenance
The whole purpose of building a base tan is to accelerate your tanning in a healthy way, and to build up a resistance to the suns damaging qualities. You can ask the staff at your local tanning salon for advice on your skin type and should be offered a skin care consultation before your first tanning experience. It might sound disappointing, but the lighter your skin, the longer and less chance of a deep bronze tan becomes. A healthy glow that suits your unique skin type will stop you looking like a “Guido” and help you look fit, attractive, and even trimmer, so work with what you have.
It might sound ridiculous to wear sunscreen when you want to tan, but keeping your skin in tip-top condition is the fastest way to actually getting and keeping a tan. Sun protection products help to block out the damaging UV rays and only let ones that tan in (the super-secret purpose of SPF’s). You should crank up the repeat applications if you are tanning in high-power and professional tanning beds, or tanning by water (such as at the beach or by the pool) or where sweat can wash it off.
Have you ever stood out in the sun, turned beet-red and then felt like you have washed any tan later on that day in the shower? That’s because you have (as well as increased your risk of skin cancer and tumor growths!). Your tan is the pigmentation of the top layers of skin, keep these healthy, and protected, and the color will stick around for much longer without costing you cancer. L-Tyrosine (found in some quality sunscreens) also helps stimulate the production of melanin, the bodies tan producer, and works well with SPF protection.
Tip 2: Use a Bronzer or Specialized Tanning Cream
Did you know some sunscreens have natural bronzers and tanners in them? This means you can look and feel more tan while waiting to build up your base. No one said you had to get out there and start from scratch. You can also find “tingle” or “hot action” creams that stimulate the skin and help produce rapid results when used consistently and are geared toward building base tans. Tingle creams tend to turn the skin flush or red after use for a short time (due to the rushing of the blood to stimulate the skin cells), so always read the packaging and understand when your body wants you to turn down the tan.
Adriana Lima (Victoria Secret Model) credits her tropical glow to bronzers!
Warning: Sun protection and accelerated tanning products should not be confused as being the same thing and you should always wear at least SPF 15 when tanning especially if you are using a tanning accelerator that pulls the UV rays to you and into action (go even higher if you are pale skinned and if you are prone to tanning, think 35, 50 or even 85 SPF). You can still tan with super high SPF’s but you won’t be damaging your skin and running the risk of losing you tan overnight.
Tanning is more than just laying out in front of the sun; you have to feed your skin the nutrients it needs to build the tan steadily and evenly. Up your recommended water intake, and always apply moisturizer before and after tanning. Many sun protectors have added moisturizers in them for this reason, so be sure to check the labels before buying. Keep some Aloe on hand if you overdo things, this dollar store bargain has a cooling lotion will help soothe and possibly save an angry tan. If you overdo it, step down a notch and add a few days of recovery and re-introduction back into the game plan. Your skin will thank you!
If all else fails, invest in a high-quality fake-tanner or spray tanner and consider the health benefits of an almost instant base tan. Spray tans have come a long way, and you can always go to a salon that offers male tanning as a way to reduce the risk of streaks or looking like an orangutan. The same rules apply in that you must build up your color slowly, so be sure to book a few appointments and let your tanning technician turn up the tan on a weekly basis. This method may take longer time wise, but is safer and will not age your skin.
Have fun tanning safely this summer; if you happen to find Adriana out on the beaches perfecting her bronzing, send her this way when you’re done!