Getting that perfect tan is the dream of many people. No matter how dimly sun is shining, the slightest excuse is enough to get many people working on their tans.
Many times, people settle for a fake tan, usually because they can’t get the time to go by the beach, read a good book and let the sun work its magic. Of course, I say sun and some people think strap marks, sunburn, and peeling limbs. It is true that excessive exposure to the sun can have very damaging effects on your skin. Effects which make many people question if it’s worth trying to get a tan.
The skin darkens under the sun because its melanocyte cells produce melanin in response to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. This, in effect, is a tan.
There are risks to tanning, or, more specifically, to excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Firstly, excessive exposure ages the skin. Damage to the DNA leads to sagging skin, sunspots, and wrinkles. It can also lead to hyper-pigmentation.
To avoid these risks, the first thing you want to do is to prepare your skin. This will result in a more even colour and prevent flaking and peeling off of the skin. So a week before your tanning expedition, get a good scrub. You should try and moisturize every evening.
You should never forget to apply sunscreen, specifically, a good SPF. How good a sunscreen is depends a lot on its factor. You also want sunscreen with UVA & UVB protection. If your skin is easily susceptible to burns, try a sunscreen with a factor of 30 or 50.
It’s even better for your skin if your sunscreen has antioxidants. Antioxidants give the skin an added layer of protection and prevent the formation of wrinkles.
Before sitting in the sun, you need to figure out what skin type you have. Some skin types are better for tanning than others and similarly, some skin types get damaged much more easily than others.
Light skin, or types 1 and 2, may not tan, burning instead. Olive skin, or types 3 and 4, tan very quickly. It’s really a function of the amount of melanin in your skin. Whatever skin type you have, wear SPF!
SPF isn’t permanent. You need to reapply it during your tanning to protect your skin. Reapplication is extremely important.
A good rule of thumb is that you should reapply an SPF every two hours. This sounds excessive, especially if you’re wearing makeup but what many people don’t realize is that many makeups have some degree of sun protection. If you happen to go swimming or sweat, you will also need to reapply your SPF.
When you’re done, apply aftercare to prevent post-tan peeling. The best forms of aftercare are moisturizer or after sun. Spending time on the beach or in a pool, dehydrates your skin. Combined with exposure to the sun, this can have damaging effects on your skin, leaving it dry and taught.
When you have rinsed, preferably in cool or warm water, pat your skin and apply after sun to enhance your tan.
If you can’t squeeze in the time to go to the beach and tan, then perhaps you should try Solarium Tanning, which will give you a natural looking tan without you having to go to the beach to get it.