The Skin Cancer Foundation warns that prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation is a major risk factor for skin cancer. Damage from UV rays is cumulative, meaning skin cancer risk increases each time the skin is exposed to the damaging rays of the sun.
Self-tanning lotions and creams, as well as cosmetic bronzing powders, are the safest ways to achieve a sun-kissed glow. Many products are available, and the key to getting even coverage and natural-looking results comes down to a few steps.
• Tackle other beauty regimens prior to self-tanning. Various treatments like shaving legs, getting a manicure or even touching up hair color can require the use of products that can remove self-tanner.
• Recognize that self-tanner will come out darker in areas where the skin is thickest. Exfoliate the skin with a warm washcloth prior to applying self-tanners. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests using an exfoliating product that contains glycolic or salicylic acid as well, and spending more time exfoliating on the elbows, knees, heels, and ankles, where skin is the thickest. Moisturize these areas as well.
• Wait until you are completely dry after showering and avoid using any products that are oil-based. Oil-based products can leave residue behind that causes streaks, advises Allure magazine.
• Work in sections (such as the legs, torso, then arms and hands). Massage the product into the skin in a circular motion. This technique separates a professional-looking glow from a bad faux tan because it prevents weird creasing or marks from bending over with product on. Wash your hands after each section with soap and water to avoid orange palms.
• Use product sparingly in certain areas. Don't go heavy with product on wrists and ankles, lightly extending the tanner from wrists to hands and from ankles to feet, suggests the AAD.
• Dab off any excess product. Moe Kittaneh, an entrepreneur, e-commerce strategist and founder of SVELTA Tan, a skincare line featuring self-tanners, says to brush a slightly damp paper towel over knees, wrists, elbows, feet, and ankles to pick up excess color and eliminate unevenness.
• Use product sparingly on the face. Dab a dime-sized amount of product on areas that would tan naturally, such as the cheeks, the bridge of the nose and chin, then blend outward.
• Allow product to dry and set according to the directions. Avoid making contact with water or getting dressed too soon. Avoid water for four to eight hours after applying product.