Saturday, September 22, 2012

Glow On! : How To Sunless Tan.

Summer. Glowing skin, radiant complexions, healthy tones...all of these things come with the season. As we transition out of the Summer and into the Fall our skin cell turnover changes speed and the lack of exposure to the outdoors we loose that lustre. There is no need to lose that healthy glow that you acquired this summer with the help of sunless tanners and gradual tanners. Here is a guide on what they are and how to use them.

Have you ever asked yourself, how does a sunless tanner work? Sunless tanning products contain dihydroxyacetone..but let's just call it DHA. DHA is a colorless sugar that interacts with the dead skin cells located above the top layer of skin cells and creates a protein chemical reaction that changes the color of the dead skin cells. On the market, you have a choice of how tan you would like to be ranging from just a sheer glow to a dark tan. That is all based upon how much DHA is in the product. DHA is also the ingredient that gives sunless tanners the oh so lovely stench that they are famous for. Recently cosmetic chemists have found a way to encapsulate the DHA in a fragrance molecule, lessening the scent of the DHA and making it more pleasant. Also, most sunless tanners no longer turn the skin orange as they have also put a color correcting pigment in their formulations, leading to a perfect bronze.  At any given time, each person has up to 40 layers of dead skin cells on their epidermis. As the top layer of dead skin cells exfoliate and slough off, so does the look of the sunless tanner.

So now that you know how a sunless tanner works, let's talk about the options to apply and what is best for you and how to use them.

Gradual Tan: This is great if you just want to maintain a healthy glow and a great option for those that do not want to sport a tan in the fall but want to have a little lustre to their skin. You would apply gradual tanner as your daily moisturizer. Gradual tanner has the lowest amount of DHA in it so it is more flexible.

Spray Tan: A personal Favorite of mine..because I want faster results and am pretty lazy about it. For a successful spray tan, simply shower and exfoliate. It is recommended with this method to exfoliate and shave so that the spray evenly adheres to the freshest layer of dead skin for even application. Moisturize and let the moisturizer set on your skin for about 15 minutes. Cover your hair in a shower cap and spray skin. Spray behind your back, your sides and do not rub in. That is the benefit of this application as you do not need to rub it in and you can get the hard to reach places. Let it dry for 5-10 minutes and then you can go about your business.

Mousse and Lotions: You will still want to cleanse and exfoliate your skin however most formulations do not require you moisturize but have built in moisturizers into the formula. A best practice is to apply your sunless tanner with a sunless tanning glove/mitt for even application. You would apply your sunless tanner to your glove/mitt (or you can use your bare hands as well, just ensure you are keeping your hand closed in a cup formation so that your fingers do not create streaking), then rub in the sunless tanner starting with the largest part of your body and blending it out to the smaller parts of your body. Example, start with your thigh, then move to your calf and ankle, then with the left over product on your mitt lightly brush over your knee cap. Knees and elbows should be saved for last and applied with leftover product residue from the hand since there are more layers of dead skin and those areas tend to grab darker.  Wash your hands, let your body dry for 10-15 minutes and then you can go about your business.

A final tip as well is to sunless tan before you go to bed so that your sunless tanner can develop generally undisturbed. DHA takes between 6-8 hours to develop completely with the protein in your dead skin cells. Avoid contact with water and solutions before that time period. In the morning, you can rinse off the sunless tanner and enjoy your sunless glow for about 3-5 days.

Glow on!
Lala xoxo

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