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What Are the Best Tips for Self Tanning?

Christina Edwards
Christina Edwards

Self tanning products are often considered to be a safe alternative to getting a tan from the sun, and there are several self tanning products to choose from. Before using a self tanner, you should exfoliate your skin. While applying tanning products, most experts recommend wearing dark clothing that won't stain. It is also important to protect your hands and apply the product evenly.

Several tanning products are available on the market today. Self tanning lotions and mousses are usually easy to use for first time self tanning product users. Self tanning spray is also available, but most salon experts agree that these are often a bit more difficult to use.

A lightly tanned woman.
A lightly tanned woman.

Many people have difficulty deciding which self tanning cream to use. Generally, most tanning products contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is responsible for slightly darkening the top layers of skin. People with fair complexions are typically advised to choose tanning products that contain low amounts of this compound, since high amounts can cause an unnatural-looking tan or orange skin. Usually, products that claim to create a deep or dark tan will contain higher amounts of this ingredient.

Self tanning lotion.
Self tanning lotion.

To get a natural looking fake tan, most experts also recommend exfoliating. This will help slough away dry and dead skin, which has a tendency to absorb more tanning lotion. Special attention should be paid to areas that are prone to dry flaky skin, like feet and elbows. Exfoliating every day for several days before applying tanning products will help create a fake tan without streaks or dark spots.

The ingredient in tanning lotions that causes the skin to darken can also stain most fabrics. It is typically recommended to wear dark undergarments or bikinis when applying self tanning products. If any of the product gets on these garments, stains will usually not be noticeable. For an all-over tan with no tan lines, some individuals choose to apply these products without any clothes on.

The palms of the hands do not typically tan. To prevent this unnatural look, one should clean the hands every few minutes when applying a self tanner. This can be done by washing the hands, or by wiping them with baby wipes or a washcloth. Gloves can also be worn.

Self tanning products should also be applied evenly all over the body. Tinted tanning products make it much easier for some people to see if they have missed a spot. To apply the product to the back, a trusted assistant or a long-handled sponge roller may be helpful.

Applying self tanning products to the face can be a bit tricky. Most experts recommend using a tanning product that is specially formulated for the face. If this is not an option, a moisturizer should be applied to the face several minutes before a sunless tanning product is applied.

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    • A lightly tanned woman.
      By: studiovespa
      A lightly tanned woman.
    • Self tanning lotion.
      By: caimacanul
      Self tanning lotion.