If you want that sun-kissed glow on your skin without risking the harmful effects of staying out in the sun for too long, you can strike a compromise by opting for self tanning products that will give you a suntan as close to the real thing as possible. Also known as fake tanning or sunless tanning, the trend for self tanning took off as a response to the discovery of the links between skin cancer and skin exposure in the 1960s. Self tanning may sound as if you are getting the best of both worlds, but it is essential to understand how it works and the correct method of using these products.

How Do Self Tanning Products Work?

Self tanning products (also known as self tanners) can give an authentic tan to your skin while eliminating the risk of exposing it to damaging ultraviolet rays. Self tanning products usually come in the form of gel, lotion, cream, and spray that can be applied on your skin. A number of spas and salons also offer professional spray-on tanning. Most self tanning products consist of the active ingredient dihydroxyacetone (DHA) – a simple carbohydrate that is used to temporarily darken the appearance of the skin. The tan doesn’t wash off but it fades gradually within a few days with the sloughing off of the dead skin cells.

Tips to Make your Self Tan Last Longer

Your self tan will last only for about a week because it will wear off as soon as your skin cells slough off. Your tan will last for longer if you keep your skin well moisturized and hydrated.
It is always a good idea to exfoliate your skin with a pumice brush or loofah, regardless of the kind of self tanning product you use.
Apply a good moisturizer after this scrubbing, particularly on your elbows and knees, which are generally drier than the rest of your body. Prevent the moisturizer from interfering with the effects of the tan by doing this a few hours before you apply the tan.
Make sure you use a water-based moisturizer rather than an oil-based which tends to block the self tan.
You may need to be prepared to set aside about half an hour for your self tanning session. Make sure you can reach all the body parts you want to or ask a friend to help you. A spray booth may do the same job in about 5-10 minutes.
Cover those body parts you do not want to tan. The best way to avoid smearing the tanning solution into your hair is to wear a shower cap and leaving your ears out. Keep the elastic about half an inch above your hair line.

Wash your hands after using the tanning solution to avoid streaking or staining your palms.
If you opt for a spray tan booth, it is advisable to apply a light layer of cream on your hands and feet, particularly on the cuticles which tend to be drier than the rest of your body.

Author's Bio: 

Caitlin Thea – A beauty adviser and webmaster of an online beauty store, dedicatedly providing reviews and information on skin care products, Read this article to know advantages of using self tanning products.