Most people are aware of how damaging the suns rays can be to skin. Not only is potential skin cancer a concern, but indulging in outdoor tanning can also age the skin way before its time.
That is why using a Self-tanner lotion is the best way to look great as well as keeping your skin at its healthiest.
A major problem however, is in applying self tanner lotion properly. Quite often if applied wrong, it can lead to streaks, white spots or dark spots in areas such as elbows and knees.
If you would like your self tanner to look as natural as if you have been sitting in the sun for hours, here are some basics you need to know.
Getting Your Skin Ready
One of the most important things you need to ensure a nice even application is to apply your self tanning lotion onto clean, smooth skin. To accomplish this, the first thing you will need to do is shower or bathe before application.
Next shave or wax any areas where you will be using the lotion and thirdly (and probably most importantly) you will need to use a loofah or exfoliating scrub. This is to slough off any dead or excess skin before applying the lotion.
If you have ever used a self tanner before and have skipped the exfoliation portion, you might have noticed little white dots or streaks have appeared. This is because some of the “tanned” skin has shed off after the fact, showing the white skin underneath. Therefore this is a very important part of the process.
Pay extra special attention to exfoliating rough spots such as elbows, knees, wrists and the ankle area where skin folds exist.
Moisturize Any Area that Has Creases
After taking special care to loofah any body parts that have creases, it is important to moisturize those areas as well. This will help the tanning lotion from getting into those creases and leaving darker lines in them. Be sure to use regular moisturizer on the same places mentioned above; elbows, knees, wrists and ankles.
Wait until it is dry before applying self tanning lotion.
Be Sure That Your Body and the Room That You are in is Completely Dry
Make sure your body is completely dried before applying the lotion. It is also important that the room that you are in is dry as well. Do not attempt to put the lotion on if the bathroom is still steamy from the shower or if you are sweating due to the heat. This will just end up in an uneven application.
It is important to use gloves to avoid getting the lotion on the palms of your hands. The best types of gloves are the ones that hairdressers use when dying hair. They are thick enough to provide protection, yet thin enough that you can still feel what you are doing and can maneuver easily.
Start with your legs. Rub the tanning lotion in circular motions to ensure that there are no streaks and make sure you get every spot. Use the excess lotion from your legs when doing your feet and ankle area. These spots need less lotion so you want just a very light coating. The same applies for your knees — apply extremely lightly.
Try not to apply directly to the sides of your feet, your heels or your toes. If you decide you want a little color there, apply with an extremely light touch because lotion will end up looking darker here.
Move onto your torso, chest and neck area. To reach your back you can either ask a friend to help or you can purchase a sponge paintbrush. Make sure the sponge and the handle are both about 3 inches long. That should be long enough to reach your entire back. Use a mirror to make sure you are getting all spots.
Next are your arms, underarms and shoulders. Again, beware of elbow area. Use an extremely light touch (if any at all) if your skin is already darker there.
Finally, the last place to apply is the tops of your hands. Remove your gloves and apply lotion to the tops of your hands and fingers. Then use a wash cloth with soap on it to thoroughly clean your palms so they do not discolor from the tanner.
This is probably the toughest part of self tanning…the wait. You need to wait at least 20 minutes before putting on any type of clothing. It is vitally important that the lotion is completely dry. Even after the 20 minutes, you probably shouldn’t put on anything heavier than an old t-shirt that you wouldn’t be bothered about if it got a little stained. I have an old worn men’s T-shirt that I use just for this purpose.
It is best to wait at least a full hour before getting dressed in regular clothes. For convenience sake, using the self tanner an hour before bedtime is probably the best solution, so you do not need to worry about having to get dressed at all.
For the best coverage do your best not to get wet for at least 3 hours afterwards. This includes swimming or doing anything that will cause you to sweat.
When to Reapply
Each person is different as well as each lotion. Reapplication can range from every 3 days to 5 days depending on how quickly your skin peels or how efficient the lotion. Only you can decide how often or how dark you would prefer your tan to be.