Tanning refers to the process of darkening the natural color of the skin. Tanning can be achieved in two different ways: by exposure to ultraviolet light, or by applying \an artificial tanning cream. Tanning is controversial because excessive exposure to ultraviolet light can cause burning and even skin cancer, and this applies to both natural tanning in sunlight and tanning on a salon sunbed. Artificial tans are obtained with a cosmetic cream or spray that is applied to the skin, which develops and darkens to produce a safe and natural-looking tan.
Shower and apply exfoliating cream to rough, dry areas on the body while the skin is still damp. Gently massage the exfoliating cream into the skin in a circular motion. This will help to remove rough skin and produce a more even-looking tan. Wash off the exfoliating cream with warm water. Pat the skin dry with a towel.
Apply a thin layer of moisturizer all over the body and massage it into the skin until it is fully absorbed.
Squeeze a small amount of tanning cream into your hands and massage into your feet and legs in small circular motions to evenly distribute the cream. Repeat with the thighs, torso, chest, back and arms. Pay special attention to hard-to-reach areas such as between the toes and fingers, elbows and back of legs. Wash your hands with warm soapy water, and dry with a towel. Squeeze a small amount of tanning cream into your hands and apply it to your face. Rub the cream into the hairline and blend down into the neck area as well. Wash your hands with warm water and soap and towel dry.
Apply another thin coat of moisturizer over the fake tan. Allow the tan to set for at least 15 minutes before putting on any clothes (always note the drying time, which should be clearly stated on the packaging).
Remove all clothes and jewelry before getting into the tanning booth or bed.
Securely place the eye protection goggles or stickers over both eyes. Follow the instructions to begin the sunbed session -- in most salons, this means inserting a token into a machine or pressing a button.
Get inside the sunbed and lie down; if it is a standup tanning booth, stand with your legs slightly apart and hold onto the handrails on the side of the booth. Stand still until the session has finished and the UV lights are completely turned off.
Apply a UV sunscreen at least one hour before going in the sun. The sun protection factor (SPF) of the sunscreen should ultimately depend on your skin type and the strength of the UV rays where you are tanning. If you plan to swim, use a waterproof sunscreen.
Lie on your back in the sunlight. Avoid going in the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun's rays are strongest. Protect your eyes and face with sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
When the timer is up, roll over onto your front and set the timer for another 15 minutes. Repeat as desired, but always exercise extreme caution while in the sun to prevent burning. Reapply sunscreen every hour.
Alice Stewart is an experienced freelance writer who has specialized in creating unique and informative Web content since 2005. Her previous clients include the Times Online, Wizz Air, Cyprus Air, BMI, Highland Experience and Scottish Tours. Stewart studied English language and law at Oxford F.E. College and completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in performing arts in 2007.
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