Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean your skin needs to celebrate a white Christmas! Why not let it glow, let it glow, let it glow! We know that tanning beds are terribly harmful for your skin, but how else can we achieve that perfect warm glow for the holidays? First let's talk about how to prep your skin for artificial tanning, whether it be a spray tan or a spray mousse.
First, you should exfoliate. Get in the shower and scrub away at your dead skin cells that can obstruct an even tan. Avoid any oil-based exfoliators, as they act as a barrier to the tan adhering to your skin.
>> Read more: 15 Products to Help You Exfoliate
Moisturize. Don't forget about the dry areas on your body like your elbows, knees, ankles, wrists and hands! Dabbing a little moisturizer will allow for the tan to stick around longer. If you're going to be tanning your face, make sure to moisturize your hairline.
Shave the day before you apply the self tanner. That way, your skin won't be too sensitive or reactive to the tanner. That also means you won't have to shave immediately after tanning, which would exfoliate all your hard work away.
Apply the tanner to the large areas of you body first, like your limbs, stomach, chest and back. After you've finished applying to those areas, focus on the smaller parts like your feet, ankles, knees and neck. If the color is dark, simply grab an old towel and buff the color down to a lighter shade. It also helps to use a self-tanner applicator to ensure an even, bronze glow.
Now for the different types of artificial tanning:
DHA-Based Products: DHA stands for Dihydroxyacetone, aka glycerone. It's not a dye, stain or paint, but it causes a chemical reaction with the amino acids in your skin to change the skin tone. These fake tanners can last for up to 10 days and can be a cream, mousse, gel or lotion that you apply at home, or you can get a professional spray tan in a salon. The good thing about the DHA-based products is that you can avoid harmful UV ray exposure. However, you must wear sunscreen for 24 hours after applying any DHA-based product, because your skin will be especially susceptible to UV rays and therefore free radical production, which damages your skin. Check out these sunscreens to wear all year long.
Carotenoids: Carotenoids are antioxidants found in fruits and veggies like carrots or tomatoes that can change your skin color when ingested in high amounts. Carotenoids are long-lasting, and there are a few different kinds. Lycopene has a strong color, is non-toxic and is a common food colorer. Another carotenoid is beta-carotene, which is found in tanning pills, and when consumed in chronic doses can change your skin color.
Tyrosine-Based Products: Tyrosine-based products are tanning accelerators and consist of lotions or pills. Tyrosine is an amino acid that stimulates and increases your melanin production, therefore darkening your skin tone. These types of fake tanners are used in conjunction with UV exposure.
Temporary Bronzers: Temporary bronzers like powders, sprays, mousses, gels, lotions and moisturizers create a tan that is easily removable with soap and water, much like makeup. These are great for short-term tans!