We all know that prolonged sun exposure can be harmful and can even lead to skin cancer, although getting some sunshine can also be good for us. Spending some time under the sun can help us get the Vitamin D that we need for our body. However, there are several factors to consider like time, skin color, and location.

But how can you get that sun-kissed glow without overexposing your skin to the sun? Luckily, there are ways to get that tanned skin you’d always wanted the safe way. How? With the help of self-tanners!

What is a Self Tanner?

Self-tanners are also known as sunless tanning products. They can give your skin a sun-kissed look without having to sunbathe. Self-tanners may come in different forms such as creams, sprays, and lotions. Many celebrities and models use professional spray-on self-tanners to achieve an instant tan for their photoshoots.

A self tanner usually lasts for a couple of days or even weeks if you know how to take care of it. Most sunless tanning products have DHA or dihydroxyacetone as their active ingredient. It works by reacting with dead cells to create a tan color on the skin.

Sunless tanning is generally safe when used properly. FDA has approved DHA to be safe when applied topically. However, it should be used with care and shouldn’t be applied in the areas around the nose, eyes, and lips. It shouldn’t be also inhaled as it may be harmful, although risks are still unknown.

How to Apply a Self Tanner

Most self-tanners have instructions included in the package on how to properly apply them. However, there are ways you can do to help get the best results from a sunless tanning product whether you are using a spray, lotion, or cream. Here are some tips on how to properly apply them.

Wax or Shave

Before applying a self tanner, it’s recommended to get rid of unwanted hair in areas where you will apply it. This will not only make it easier to apply but can also make its effect last longer than waxing or shaving after application.

Clean and Exfoliate Your Body

Before you go ahead and apply your chosen self tanner, be sure to wash and clean your skin first. Remember to exfoliate to get rid of any dead skin cells.

You can use your preferred scrub and concentrate on areas where the skin is thicker like your elbows, knees, and ankles. Once done, dry your skin completely and don’t apply any lotions or moisturisers.

Apply on Skin

Apply just the right amount on your skin in a circular motion. Massage the product onto your skin until it is completely absorbed. Apply it in sections to ensure that all body parts are covered evenly. Focus on your arms, legs, and torso, and don’t forget to apply it on your wrists, hands, ankles, and feet.

Wash Hands After Each Section

To avoid staining your palms with your self tanner, always wash your hands after applying in each section. Use soap to ensure the product is completely gone from your palms.

Reduce Tanning Effects on Joint Areas

Some parts of our body have thicker skin like elbows, knees, and ankles. These parts can absorb more of the self tanner product compared to other parts of our body. To reduce the tanning effects on these areas, you can apply lotion or get a damp washcloth to gently remove some of the product.

Wait for It to Dry

Let it dry completely before wearing clothes to avoid staining them. Ideally, avoid humid areas or physical activities to prevent sweating.

How to Keep Sunless Tanning Products Longer

Self-tanners are not permanent and their effects can wear off after a few days. But there are ways to keep them from fading easily. If you want to keep its effect longer, here are some helpful tips.

1. Don’t Shower Right Away

If you shower right after your application, it can fade easily. So, wait at least 8 hours after application before you shower again. It is also advisable not to work out or sweat too much after application as it can also fade your tan faster.

When showering, use warm or cool water and keep them short. Hot showers can dry out the skin and will reduce its effect easily.

2. Avoid Swimming or Saunas

It is also recommended to avoid saunas, swimming whether in a pool or beach after application. Wait for at least 1 week before doing such activities to prolong its effect.

3. Don’t Forget to Keep Yourself Hydrated

It is important to keep your skin moisturised after applying a self tanner, as this helps extend its tanning effect. To make sure you are hydrated and moisturised, drink lots of water every day and apply moisturisers or dry oil. Use soap or body wash that has a high level of moisturiser.

4. Stay Away from Harsh Products

If you are using strong or harsh products for your face or body, stop that for the meantime and choose mild skincare products for the time being. Avoid anything that has alcohol as well.

5. Reapply When Needed

Some parts of the body may fade faster than others, so check them from time to time. If you see a spot that has faded, exfoliate it lightly and reapply a thin layer of your self tanner. Remember to keep it light as you don’t want it to look darker than the other parts of your body.

Now that you know how self-tanners work and how to use them, make sure to choose the right one for you. There are numerous sunless tanning products out there and it may be difficult to choose the perfect one. It’s best to check out self tanner reviews first to give you an idea of which brands are the best out there.

Sunless tanning products are generally safe but if you choose the wrong one, you may not get the results that you want to achieve. So, always make sure you read the label, read the reviews, follow the instructions carefully, and keep your skin hydrated at all times. Also, if you have a skin condition, always check with your dermatologist first if it is safe for you to use a self tanner.

Latest posts by Nicola Brennan (see all)

Nicola is always on the lookout for the best beauty tools and skincare products. She believes in "prevention is better than cure" so she is always trying to perfect her beauty routine to avoid premature aging. Fun fact about Nicola: She owns a lot of sunscreens as she carries a mini sunscreen in each of her handbags and backpacks.