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Spray Tanning and Sunless Tanning description

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If you want a sun kissed tan in seconds, it’s time to fake it. Perfect for those in need of a quick fix solution or who turn pink at the slightest spot of sun, self tanning lotions and potions will effortlessly transform you into a bronzed beauty.

How it works

There are so many different tanning options that Sunless Tanning should really be considered as an umbrella (or should that be parasol) term! From gels and mousses, lotions and sprays to wipes and pills, it’s hard to know which one to choose first, but what they all have in common is the result. To produce that tastefully tanned look, you need DHA (dihydroxyacetone) to interact with the outermost layer of the skin, and it’s this active ingredient that is included in most sunless tanning formulas.

Regardless of whether you’re applying the products at home or are heading to a specialised tanning centre, to make the most of your fake tan always exfoliate your skin first to remove excess skin cells, otherwise when the tan dries, it will appear blotchy and uneven which is never a good look. Shaving your legs, (or face if you’re a guy who’s looking to bronze-up) is also advisable, as the smoother the skin, the more even the colour, and who wants patchy pins on show?

Another tip to take on board is when you’re smearing yourself in self-tanning products, apply less on dry or thick areas of skin such as the elbows, knees and ankles to avoid streakiness. The palms of your hands will also absorb more, so make sure you wash them immediately afterwards. One way to avoid the dreaded fake tan fingers is to wear rubber gloves as this can also make the application a lot smoother too.

If you’re looking for a more professional finish, spray tans are one way to achieve smear-free results. Usually applied at tanning centre, you are led into an enclosed booth, similar to a shower cubicle where the tan is sprayed automatically over the body. Or, if you don’t fancy being shut in a cubicle, an airbrush tan might be your best bet. A light mist formula, the tan is applied from head to toe by a technician using a hand spray. Not one for the shy and retiring types, all you have to protect your modesty is a flimsy pair of paper pants, so maybe stick to the home treatments if you’re a little bashful.

Most sunless tanning products last between five and seven days although some can be removed immediately with special wipes or washes.

Is it for me?

Anyone can use fake tan unless you are specifically allergic to any of the ingredients, but if you’re an Olympic swimmer, you might want to resist the urge to tan. The product needs to be absorbed completely before you even think about going near a shower or pool, and this can take anywhere up to six hours. Similarly, to avoid staining clothes, it’s best to wait until the tan has completely dried before you start putting your glad rags on.

Good to know?

Sunless tanning products don't protect you from harmful UV rays, if you plan to be exposed to the sun, make sure you dowse yourself in sun cream first.

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Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2013

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