For people who like the tanned, sun-kissed look, laying out in the sun may not be enough to achieve their desired skin tone. Tanning products have been around for years and have been used by people to accelerate tanning and get an even, bronzed look. When choosing the right product for you, there are many factors to consider, such as your skin type, color and the result you would like to achieve.
Commercial Tanning Oils
Commercial tanning oils are widely available and come with a variety of ingredients and scents. Common tanning oil ingredients include coconut oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil and aloe vera. Some include a mild sunblock to prevent burning and shield against harmful ultraviolet rays. Tanning oils accelerate the tanning process and keep the skin moisturized to prevent burns. Oils containing fruit extracts, vitamins A or E, or sesame and almond oil may also have added benefits such as anti-aging and antibacterial properties.
Natural virgin coconut oil is a great alternative to commercially produced tanning oils. Available at most health stores, coconut oil contains lipids that help protect your skin from burning during tanning. Spreading a thin, even layer of coconut oil before sun exposure will lock in moisture and help your tan last longer without peeling or fading. Coconut oil can also be used as a base for your own homemade tanning oil. Adding other oils such as grapeseed, almond and sesame oil will give you a suntan oil that will rival the store-bought versions.
Using an exfoliator regularly on your skin will help you achieve an even, long-lasting tan. Dead skin cells will prevent the sun from getting to your skin and exfoliating regularly will ensure your skin is fresh and ready to soak in the rays. In the shower, apply a small amount of exfoliating cream on a washcloth and rub gently in a circular motion starting from your feet and working your way up. Pay particular attention to rough patches of skin such as knees and elbows.
Many people forget that a great tan starts before you even go out into the sun. Moisturizing regularly will help you tan by keeping your skin hydrated and supple. Dry skin will not tan as evenly and will peel after sun exposure. Apply moisturizer on a daily basis and always reapply immediately following a tanning session. Choose a moisturizer made specifically for your skin type -- oily, dry, acne-prone.
Allie Gore is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over five years experience in the field. She has served as a submissions editor for Existere and a health and wellness writer for HealthAware.ca. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from York University and currently works in advertising.