How can I achieve a healthy tan?

By Skin Geek Expert · On August 25, 2015

We all like to have a bit of colour on our face, that nice healthy glow that comes with a week in the Mediterranean or a weekend in the garden. Everything seems to get better with a bit of sun, spots clear up, we don’t need to wear as much make up because our blemishes disappear and we have that nice milky, dewey look to our skin. Don’t you just feel… Healthier with a tan? That’s because your eyes look brighter, teeth look whiter and your tounge looks pinker (one sign of good hydration in the body).

Oh yes, we all feel better with a bit of colour of on our face.

Well, I’m sorry to burst the bubble but in truth, the ultra violet rays that causes our body to tan are very stressful for our body. A tan is the side affect of the body protecting itself against their harmful effects on our DNA. So, the only truly safe tan is a fake one!
Having said that, we are all in the sun every single day. And we all work hard for our holidays. You can’t beat that moment after you’ve travelled all day, reached your hotel, unpacked and hit the pool side bar for your first holiday beer with the sun warming your face.
So, enjoy a tan by all means. A tan is a healthy response to a particular environment aggression. But, try to eliminate the amount of permeant damage you’re doing long term.
One of the best ways to achieve a healthy, long lasting even tan is wearing sun protection factor (believe it or not). Most people think wearing SPF means you won’t tan, but in fact, it means you won’t burn. Once you have burnt, the skin cells have essentially cooked, and the only thing you can do after that is burn more. The longer you delay burning, the more tanning time you have. Wearing a physical SPF 30 or higher and applying it every two hours is enough to prevent burning all day. It will also help to protect the DNA damage that occurs with UV radiation.
Exfoliating is another great way to ensure an even, long lasting tan. Using a scrub or lotion that contains Glycolic acid in the weeks leading up to your holiday will remove any excessive dead skin cells and give you even healthy skin turn over. Just be sure not to use it directly before going into the sun.
When we tan, our melanocytes (the cells that make our colour) are reacting defensively to the harmful rays of the sun. They all start working on overload. The problem is, some of those cells can become damaged and continue to work on overload even when we come home and the rest of our tan fades. This can leave brown areas on the skin. Some developed brown patches are classed as “age spots”.
To avoid these cells becoming damaged, you must wear an SPF but you can also use a product with a pigment suppressor. This will stop the cells becoming damaged in the first place and help improve the effect of cells that have already been damaged. This ensures all your melanocyte cells are working at the same rate, leading to an even skin tone and a great foundation for an even tan… From the sun or a bottle.

Fake tans come in many different shades and depths.
One of the best ways to achieve a natural looking fake tan is to choose a tan that builds gradually. Often, there’s no dye in these types of fake tans so you have to be careful applying them and wash your hands after but there’s no risk of streaks or patches. Your tan will build slowly and you can decide when you have achieved the colour you want. Continual use of a Glycolic body wash or lotion will ensure the tan fades evenly and you maintain an even, natural colour as old dead skin cells come off and you tan the new ones coming through.

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