No matter what kind of tanning lotion you’re using, there are a few things that you need to do the same every time. Keep in mind that properly applying tanning lotion goes beyond just applying the lotion but preparing your skin for it, too. You’ll get the best tanning results by maintaining your skin and keeping it ready for tanning. If you’re looking to get a spray tan, however, check out some guidelines on how to get the most out of your spray tan sessions.
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Keep Yourself Exfoliated
You’ve probably heard that the typical person sheds 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells every day. This amounts to pounds of skin every year! Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and it has the important role of protecting you from the outside world. To keep your skin healthy and to protect you, your body is constantly renewing your skin. In fact, about the top 20 layers of your skin are largely made up of just dead skin cells.
Those dead skin cells get in the way of you achieving the best tan possible. Keep yourself exfoliated! Some people even recommend exfoliating as little as a couple of hours before your tanning session. The best thing to do is to regularly exfoliate throughout the week leading up to your tanning session as well.
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Use an exfoliating glove or loofah in combination with an exfoliating cleanser to get the best results. An exfoliating brush or towel is also useful for reaching hard-to-get spots on your back. If you have any particularly dry or tough spots around your feet, elbows, or ankles, you’ll want a pumice stone to help really get those places smooth. Don’t ignore your hands either. Your hands are susceptible to getting dry, especially between your fingers.
Take it slow and steady. Don’t overdo the scrubbing and try to get it all at once. You’ll end up just irritating your skin in the process. Maintain your exfoliation regularly and a light exfoliation will be all you need when it comes time to tan.
One thing to note when you’re washing right before your tanning session is to avoid oil-based products or other lotions afterward. Oil-based washes and lotions will prevent your tanning lotion from thoroughly covering your skin. A few spots that are okay to use a little lotion or oil, however, are your knees and elbows. Your knees and elbows will naturally tan and get darker than other parts of your body, when you’re using tanning lotion, especially with bronzer. Another product to keep the tanning lotion off will help you maintain a natural look around troublesome parts like your knees and elbows.
Apply Evenly and Thoroughly
It goes without saying that you don’t want a streaky tan. Or a handprint on your shoulder because you didn’t rub in your tanning lotion right.
Use your product liberally. Getting too much is worse than missing a spot, which is what leaves you looking patchy or with streaks. You can always work in any extra lotion so go wild!
To make sure you’re spreading your lotion evenly, rub it in from many directions. The easiest way to do this is with circular motions in both directions. That way, you won’t miss lotion along any curves or bumps. This goes doubly for places you can’t reach or see as easily.
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For hard-to-reach places that you can’t get yourself, try using an applicator or wand designed just for this purpose. Use a mirror to make sure you’re not missing any spots.
Wipe Off Any Excess
There are a few spots on your body where less is actually better for a natural tan. Your elbows and knees are common culprits of getting too dark when people go tanning, especially if you’re using tanning lotion. Whether or not you applied another moisturizer beforehand to keep tanning lotion off your elbows and knees, it doesn’t hurt to give them a quick wipe.
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Be sure to also wipe off any excess tanning lotion from between your fingers or the palms of your hands from when you were applying the lotion. If you’re using a bronzer or another sunless tanning product, tanned palms are an easy giveaway for an unnatural tan.
This has covered everything you need to know from prep to tanning, but here are a few last words about what happens after you’re done applying your lotion. After all, you don’t want all that hard work to go to waste or leave you with suboptimal results.
Once you’ve gotten into the tanning bed, make sure that you reposition yourself often enough. If you’re laying down, the parts of your body that are pressed up against the bed won’t tan as well. Switching up how you’re laying will help prevent any uneven tanning. Make sure you also lift your arms to get full light exposure everywhere, including the underside of your arms and your armpits.
And once you’re done tanning, give yourself at least 2 hours for your tanning lotion to take full effect, especially if you’re using a bronzer. Continue to keep yourself moisturized to protect yourself from the effects of UVA rays, which can age your skin and cause wrinkles.
Always remember, most importantly, to keep your safety and health in mind. Happy tanning!