Nine tips and tricks for self-tanning

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Summer brings more than vacations, barbeques, long balmy nights and lavishly applied sunscreen to acquire that fancy tanned look. It also means sweaty skin and sunburn. Heat and humidity don’t always affect our skin for the better. Having a tan no doubt makes one feel thinner, sexier and healthier, but basking in the sun is becoming increasingly unpopular.

“The sun’s ultra-violet (UV) rays age women’s skin faster than anything else,” says dermatologist Noha Khodeir. They also increase the chances of developing the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma, she adds.

photo: wewereraisedbywolves

If you’re ready to skip laying out on the beach, but don’t want to give up glowing skin, then self-tanners are a great bet. They can darken the skin for up to a week, says Khodeir. Instead of going to luxurious spas, follow these self-tan steps:

Exfoliate (scrub the skin) a few days before application: scrub the whole body, making sure you spend time on the areas that tend to be drier, such as the knees and elbows.

Moisturise every day of the week or at least a few days before you tan, even by using self-moisturising tan lotion. Apply body lotion liberally immediately after you shower to get an even application. Areas like knees and ankles are drier, so they soak up the self-tanner and blotchy colouring could appear. Keeping your skin plumped up with moisture will help.

Don’t apply the self-tanner in the bathroom, since it’s better to wait for the body to cool. Heat and moisture can cause you to sweat, and the self-tanner can drip, causing streaks.

Self-tanning lotions take longer to dry than foam, so take your time. Start with one area of the body and work around. By moving slowly and paying attention to the area you’re working on, you’ll get much better results.

photo: tropicaltanjoplin

Dilute by half on areas prone to dark spots. Knees, ankles and elbows are usually first to show if you don’t apply the self-tanner correctly. To get a more natural look, mix half self-tanner and half moisturiser.

Wash your hands many times during the application or use latex gloves. To apply to the back of your hands and top of your feet, use a damp make-up sponge to keep the self-tanner off your palms and onto where you want it to go.

Wait 15 minutes and then get dressed. Otherwise, you may stain your clothes.

Expert’s tricks:

If you are going to apply self tanner to your feet, be sure to exfoliate every bit of dead skin or you will notice streaks that are darker than others.

If you do manage to find yourself with a streak or two, a quick once over with a wedge of lemon will pick up much of the excess colour. No lemon handy? Use a cotton ball and a little toner. That works too.