How Do Self-Tanners Work And How To Apply The Lotion

Do you desire to get a sun-kissed look this holiday? You have probably heard of the dangers of overexposing your body to UV radiation. It not only increases wrinkling of the skin but can also lead to skin cancer, among many other damages to your skin.

There are several tanning methods which include:

  • Indoor tanning using a tanning bed.
  • Sun-based tanning, where you expose your skin to the sun’s natural UV radiation.
  • Sunless tanning using self-tanners as both indoor and sun-based tanning work by exposing your skin to the harmful ultraviolet radiation.

So, if you want to get a bronzed glow but do not want to expose your skin to UV rays, you can use sunless tanning techniques. How do self-tanners work?


How Fake Tan Works

Self-tanners can also be referred to as fake tan. They come in various forms; it could be a cream, lotion or spray that you apply on your skin for a deep dark tan or a light bronze glow. Most sunless tanning products compose of an active ingredient known as dihydroxyacetone, or DHA in short.

It is a color additive that reacts with the dead skin cells of the stratum corneum (SC) of the epidermis. The SC is the outer layer of the skin. As the DHA sugar interacts with the dead skin cells, your skin begins to change color. It stimulates a tan by temporarily darkening your skin.

If you have used a self-tanning product before, then, you know that; you need to reapply the component regularly for you to maintain the acquired color. It is so because the skin renews itself daily and dead skin cells wear away. Your tan will begin to fade as the dead skin cells are shed off through exfoliation.

Therefore, it is advisable to apply the self-tanner after every three days, so as to maintain that bronzed glow that you so desire. Have you heard of the tanning pills and accelerators? They are said to stimulate and increase the production of melanin.

However, no scientific data is there to prove this claims. As for the tanning pill, it contains canthaxanthin that is commonly used as a color additive in some foods. The Food Drug Administration has approved the use of canthaxanthin in food but not as a tanning agent.

When you utilize this component in large amounts, it will lead to your skin turning orange or brown. Tanning pills with this element have links to show that they can cause impaired vision, liver damage, hives, etc. It is used in large quantities when utilized in a tanning agent unlike as a food color additive.

Some people use makeup bronzers to tint their skin color. But you can only wear it until you wash it off with soap and water. They are easily washed off, and unless you have the time to spend ensuring your face doesn’t come in contact with water or soap, it is going to prove difficult to maintain this look.

How To Apply Self-Tanner

How To Apply Self-Tanner

First, before you purchase a particular sunless tanning product, you need to know your skin type and choose a self-tanner that suits it. If you have fair skin, you can use light or medium formula. For those with olive skin, go with a dark formula self-tanner.

It may take you two to four applications of regular cream, to get your desired skin tone, that is, if you choose it over the others. Since you need to apply the self-tanner to your whole body to achieve an even tone, you may need to buy a spray for those hard to reach places.

And, if you are flexible enough, you can just use a mouse. It is easy to rub in. You can also have your friend come over to help you rub in the tanning agent to your back. As this is the place that's hard to reach and apply the self-tanner correctly, all by yourself.

The following steps will help you to rub in the self-tanner in a proper manner:

Step 1: Exfoliate

Exfoliation is always the number one step in any of the tanning processes. It is not only useful for a healthy looking skin but also ensures that you end up with an even color. You don’t want to have dark patches of color as it looks gross.

You can use a body scrub, loofah, etc. Exfoliating will remove all the dead skin cells on your body and leave you with a smooth surface for an even color. Focus on the elbows, knees, ankles and heels, as you exfoliate.

Do not use oil-based exfoliators as they will leave behind residue that may result in streaking as the tanning agent color builds up. For exfoliating the face, you can use a cleanser with either salicylic or glycolic acid, together with a skin brush.

Use gentle circular motion to rub in the exfoliator to the skin. If you use force, it will lead to irritation of the skin. Remember also, to shave, get a manicure or tone up the color of your hair before applying the self-tanner.

Step 2: Moisturize

Just as exfoliating the skin is important, so is moisturizing. For the best results from the self-tanning, moisturize your skin with a lightweight lotion. Some prefer to apply the tanning agent straight out of the shower.

You need to towel off any water and dab a little moisturizer to the skin, once you are dry. Focus on the rough spots, elbows, around the nose or knees and apply the moisturizer, if you don’t want to end up with a darker color than other parts of your body.

Moisturizing helps to soften the skin.

Step 3: Apply The Self-Tanning Lotion

Once you finish moisturizing, you can then begin to use the tanning lotion / cream / spray. Use a mitt or gloves if you don’t want to end up with orange palms. Squish a small amount of the tanning lotion, approximately a teaspoonful size.

Rub it with your fingers and using gentle circular motion, apply the cream from your ankles, up to your shoulders. People use different techniques of application. Some start with the arms while others finish off with them. Choose a method that works best for you.

Wash the tanning lotion off your hands when you finish the self-tanning process. Leave the lotion to dry for a few minutes then brush some talc-free baby powder all over your body to keep the tanner from getting on your clothes.


Conclusion - How Do Self-Tanners Work

The tanning process is not over until color starts to show. For this, you will need to keep from showering or getting water on your skin for about 8 hours. Sweating will also dissolve the effect of the tanning agent.

If there are streaks or patches of dark color, do not freak out. You can read more on how to remove fake tan here. A dab of lemon juice will do the trick to remove the patch and then you can apply the desired amount of lotion back again.

To maintain the sun-kissed color from self-tanners, you will have to adjust your showering techniques. Invest in gentle cleansers and always remember to moisturize. You will need to reapply the lotion after 2-3 days as the skin sloughs off the dead and tanned skin cells.

Trista Lawless

I have a strong passion for skincare. Because of my sensitive skin, I spent many times to research carefully about the high-quality skincare products and tanning lotions. Then, I run a blog named: Find More Beauty to provide my readers with useful tips, best tanning practices as well as all my knowledge and experiences of skincare.

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