Lets face it. A nice tan makes you look and feel great. Plus, it can hide ugly cellulite and also make you appear thinner!
If you are going on a trip or you simply want to look good for an event that's coming up, it's important to establish a base tan.
Here are some 10 indoor tanning steps to help you achieve a nice base tan without getting burned*.
By the way, if you are hesitant about using an indoor tanning bed but want to get a tan, try a UV-free spray tan like Mystic Tan.
Otherwise, the steps below will help guide you through the UV indoor tanning process:
1. Be careful if you are on any prescription medications: blood pressure medications, antibiotics, skin problem medications are just a few categories of drugs you preferably should not be taking if you are tanning or spending lots of time outdoors. Refer to the photosensitizing medication chart in your local tanning salon to be sure the medications you are taking are not listed. These medications can effect the results of your tanning, making it more difficult to tan and you are more prone to burning.
2. Always use a good quality indoor tanning lotion. It will help your skin to absorb the UV, which will aid in the tanning process. There are also special ingredients that stimulate melanin production, such as Tyrosine, which will give you the most out of every tanning session. Your skin tends to dry out during the tanning process and if you don't use a good quality indoor tanning lotion, your skin will exfoliate faster, become more dry and flaky, and you will lose your tan faster. So the bottom line: for a deeper, darker, longer lasting tan, you need to use quality indoor tanning lotion. It's best to apply indoor tanning lotion immediately prior to your session or 1-2 hours prior is even better if you can. Applying it ahead of time allows your skin to absorb the lotion better so you will get the best results from your tanning session.
3. Apply after tan lotion as well to take care of your skin and keep it moisturized. Apply it twice daily at a minimum to keep your skin happy, once in the morning and again at night before bed. This also can enhance your tan and make it longer lasting- the key to a great tan is healthy skin!
4. If you are just beginning to tan, remember to start out conservative. Whatever you do, you don't want to burn- you cannot tan on top of a burn and you will have to start over. The old saying "I always burn first and then I tan" is completely false, it simply does not have to be this way. If you burn, your skin is telling you that it's getting too much sun, and then you will peel. So start out with a low number of minutes and work your way up. If you have fair skin but do have the ability to tan, you should not go more than 6-7 minutes your first time in a standard 20 minute tanning bed (also known as a Level 1 tanning bed). For stronger beds with shorter tan times, you would go for even less minutes.
5. Go once every 24-48 hours to build your base. Depending on how well your skin is doing, you can decide whether you can go once a day or once every other day. A good rule of thumb is if your skin is not pink within the 24 hours after your session, you can probably go again the next day without any problem. If your skin is pink, feels dry and itchy, or you get a rash, this is a signal that you went for too many minutes and need to take a break until it feels better and then start over again.
6. Once you build up your base, you really don't need to tan as often. So depending on the type of bed you are using, you should only go 2-3 times per week to keep your tan, even less in stronger beds. This is where I see many people go overboard, tanning every day when it is really not necessary. Many people enjoy the relaxation time that tanning provides, but tanning too often can and will speed up your aging process and potentially cause other skin ailments over a long period of time. Just like everything else in life, moderation is key!
7. Wear eye goggles at all times! Many people think that putting a towel over their face will block the UV rays, but it doesn't and repeated UV exposure can cause major eye problems later in life. Would you rather be blind or have lighter eyelids? I think I would choose the latter, but that is just me. For your own safety, please wear the eye goggles!
8. Since indoor tanning does not require the use of a bathing suit, use a towel to cover those 'sensitive' areas that don't see the sun very often if you want to tan all over. In the beginning, try covering those areas for half the session and see how it goes. Gradually you can remove the towel earlier and earlier until you don't need to use one anymore. The towel acts as a filter but won't completely block the UV rays, so you are still getting the tanning process started.
9. To avoid getting creases or pressure tanning lines, you should move your limbs into different positions during your session. For the first half, try laying down with both arms extended above your head and legs apart. For the second half, bring your arms down next to your sides but away from your body, and re-position your legs by raising one knee slightly for a half of the remaining time, and then the other leg do the same thing.
10. Try to avoid wearing make-up, deodorant, or other perfumes prior to tanning. Some of these things can make your skin more sensitive and possibly have a bad reaction with your skin when exposed to UV. If you wear a lot of deodorant, you may notice that you are not tanning as well around your armpits, and you need to remove this prior to tanning.
When it comes to tanning, every person's skin type is different and results will vary. Consult with your local tanning salon for a skin type analysis (from a Smart Tan Certified Tanning Consultant) so you can get a good idea of where to start.
* Also, ask your doctor for his or her advice if you have any specific medical questions or concerns.
©2005 Angela Maroevich
Angela Maroevich (everyone calls her Angie) is a salon owner, entrepreneur, and athlete. You can review more of her articles on tanning and skin care for free at http://www.tanning-advisor.com.
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