It's almost that splendid time of year when worries melt away like lemon drops, salt water and sea sand beckon and the smell of coconut lingers in the air. Even if you're not leaving home for the holidays, there's one vital season must-have to imprint your holiday memories ' a glorious sun-kissed skin, of course!
If you're not endowed with naturally dark or olive skin, you'll know the struggle to get the perfect tan complexion is all too real. Thankfully we know a great deal more about what keeps skin healthy than we did some twenty years ago. So, here's how you can get the most of a natural tan and make it last, too.
The slower and more gradually you introduce this colour change in your skin, the longer it will last and the better it is on your skin. Start by spending no more than ten minutes a day in the sun a few weeks before your holiday. Increase this to twenty minutes and then thirty minutes each week before your trip. Ultimately, the secret to extending your tan is to create a simple tanning ritual that's easy to maintain. It's not too early to get going, so spend some time finding what works for you before you have to hit the beach.
Buffing & Scrubbing
The sun stimulates the production of a pigment called melanin in your skin, which colours the top layer and gives you that bronzed tone. This layer of skin naturally sheds around every two weeks or so. This is why it's a good idea to give your body a scrub and gentle exfoliation before you head outside to ensure that all your skin cells are at the very start of their new cycle.
You don't need to go all out with super fancy scrubs; some rock salt blended with a bit of honey, or brown sugar and almond oil will do the trick just fine ' have a pair of exfoliating gloves handy. Apply your scrub in small, circular motions all over your body to remove those pesky dead skin cells and smooth your skin's surface. This ensures a more even tan and helps make your tan last longer.
It's important to give your body a weekly exfoliation (no matter the time of year) to help remove dull, parched surface cells and prepare the skin for the self-tanning to come. A gentle exfoliation after a long, hot bath is also said to stimulate blood flow around the body and can ease cellulite.
Keep moisturiser on hand during summer; if you're heading for a holiday in the sun you should be moisturising at least twice a day and continuing the ritual for at least a week after your trip. This will keep your skin soft and supple while in the searing sun and increases the life-span of your tan.
Regular moisturiser won't quite do the trick alone so use a moisturising sun screen for ultimate protection. Sun screens contain extra ingredients like Aloe Vera to soothe skin; and others have tan-enhancing ingredients that stimulate your melanin production to maintain your tan. Look out for natural one's that don't damage your skin.
Tan accelerators like tanning pills and drinks still require sun or UV lighting to work. The same moisturising rules apply here, too. Check the ingredients; you may be simply buying a multivitamin or supplement. In this case, you may as well buy a carton of carrot and orange juice and eat a steak to give your body the same supplements naturally - it would taste better too.
Canthaxanthin is used in tanning products. It is a dye similar to the chemical that makes carrots orange. It occurs naturally and can also be made in a laboratory. It's also used as medicine.
Be careful about how much Canthaxanthin you put into your body, too much can have harmful side effects. What's more, if you don't like the colour the tan accelerator has turned your skin; it can take two weeks for your skin to turn back to its normal shade after you've stopped using it.
You can also use a bronzing lotion to help accelerate the look of a natural tan, instead. They include a light artificial colour to help while your real tan is building.
As well as moisturising skin from the outside, you also need to hydrate it from the inside. Dry skin gets flaky, this means it will shed sooner rather than later. The most important thing you can do is stay hydrated ' this can't be stressed enough. Increasing your water intake is paramount, especially in the sun when you lose more water through sweating.
Hot baths can also dehydrate your skin, leading to faster peeling. If you are going to bath, add a teaspoon of coconut oil to it. Or, stick to cool showers ' you can also use a moisturising shower oil to really lock-down your colour.
Whatever sun screen you chose to use, make sure it's above factor 15 SPF protection. A higher SPF protection factor won't stop you from tanning; it will simply help to protect your skin from UV damage, including drying, premature aging and even skin cancer.
Not all sunscreens are made equally so you will need to test out which ones work for you. It's always best to check the cream ingredients and the expiration dates. In general, though it's best to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UV-A and UV-B rays. If you're worried about oily skin, don't be! There are plenty of great water-based sun screens that will work with your tricky skin.
Contrary to what you might think, the higher the SPF, the smaller the increased benefit. SPF 30 isn't twice as strong as SPF 15. While SPF 15 filters out 93% of UVB, SPF 30 filters out 97%; only a slight improvement.
5 Tips for Wearing Sun Screen
1. Apply your sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go out in the sun. Put the sun screen on any part of your body that might get exposed.
2. Don't forget the easy-to-miss spots; the tips of your ears, your feet, the back of your legs, and, if you have one, your bald spot. Since your lips can also get sunburned, use a UV-protective lip balm regularly.
3. No matter how long-lasting it's supposed to be, reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours; more often if you're swimming or sweating.
4. Pay attention to the expiration date on the bottle. Sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time.
5. Wear sunscreen whenever you're out during the day and not just when it's sunny. On a grey, overcast day, up to 80% of the dangerous UV rays still make it through the clouds no matter the season.
6. Certain prescription drugs can cause you to burn twice as fast. Check to see if your medication has contra-indications.
DID YOU KNOW: The term 'tanning' comes from the colour tan when, in the Western culture of Europe, it became fashionable for young women to seek a less pale complexion.
Before buying any skincare product check the ingredient list to make sure you aren't putting anything unsafe on your skin. Look for natural and non-irritating UVA/UVB filters like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
DID YOU KNOW? Nature's vitamin D may increase your levels of happiness, but the sun can also increase your chances of developing skin cancer.
“Wellness Warehouse strives to help you live life well but because we are retailers and not medical practitioners we cannot offer medical advice. Please always consult your medical practitioner before taking any supplements, complementary medicines or have any health concerns and ensure that you always read labels, warnings and directions carefully, prior to consumption.”