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The Best Diet for Your Skin

Young woman eating salad in the kitchen

Ah, the buffet table. The never-ending choice of culinary options, healthy and unhealthy.  What do you pick? Is it the item you like best, the one that is best for you, or a combination of both? Why don’t you ask your skin? The skin is the largest organ of the body, and the outer fingerprint of inner health. That means that when it comes to food choices, your skin should have a lot of input. What would your skin pick from the buffet table? While you can’t directly ask it, luckily researchers have done a lot of the work in  taking the guesswork out of it for you. Here is a sample of what they have to say.

Olive Oil

You may have heard of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and its superfood status. That comes in part from its reputation as an anti-ager for the skin. According to a 2012 study in PLOS One, women who consumed more than 2 teaspoons of olive oil per day showed 31% fewer signs of aging that those who ate less than one teaspoon. The fat in olive oil is 75% mono saturated fatty acids, which have been shown to decrease skin aging, and the antioxidant polyphenols in the oil help to fight free radicals which can contribute to the aging process.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are another great addition to your Skin Menu. A 2008 UK study showed that people who consumed 5 tablespoons of tomato paste and a tablespoon of olive oil daily, for a period of 12 weeks, showed a 33% greater increase in sun protection than those who ate only olive oil. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which has been associated with increasing the skin’s natural SPF. Note: Cooking tomatoes raises lycopene levels.

Chocolate

Chocolate, good for your skin? Apparently, aside from the sugar level, chocolate is a definite skin friendly ingredient. The flavanols in chocolate contain antioxidant properties to improve circulation and keep skin hydrated. In fact, women who consumed a flavanol-enriched cocoa powdered drink for a 12-week period reported less skin dryness and roughness compared to those who did not drink the cocoa. While the test group consumed the equivalent of 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate, Lisa Drayer, MA, RD, suggests keeping chocolate consumption down to a one ounce portion to reap the benefits without the calories.

Oatmeal

If your idea of a typical breakfast is a bagel and jelly, you may want to rethink your choice. Apparently the bagel and jelly combo is a double threat to the skin, offering refined carbs which stimulate insulin and androgens in the body. Drayer says,”Elevated androgens cause sebaceous glands in the skin to secrete more oil that gets trapped inside pores, causing pimples.” Apparently, this is not the case with oatmeal, although experts advise swapping out the brown sugar for natural fruit.

Sardines

Big things come in little packages. One serving of sardines contains 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, putting it at the top of the list of good fat sources. Like other fatty fish, sardines are rich in an anti inflammatory omega-3, called DHA. Dr. Jessica Wu, MD, says, “inflammation is now known as the root cause of acne.” Eat sardines for clear skin.

What’s your skin menu like? Let us know what the best diet is for your face. We want to know!

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Are You Considering a Tattoo Removal?

Young red-headed woman with tattoos

Think before you ink! You may have heard the advice, but how many of us actually heed it? Out of the 30% of the people in the US who have at least one tattoo, 25% claim to regret getting it. Is it the name of a scorned lover, a neck tattoo that might disqualify you for the job you want, a picture of your mom that looks more like your dad? Whatever your reason for wanting a tattoo removed, you need to be prepared for the consequences. Here is a more in-depth look at tattoo removal.

How Does Tattoo Removal Work?

Tattoo removal works by employing lasers that break up pigment colors with the use of high-intensity beams. Because black tattoo pigments absorb all laser wavelengths, black is the easiest to treat. Other colors must be treated with selected lasers depending on pigment color.

The first step in tattoo removal is a consolation. Arrange a meeting with a trained professional.  He or she will evaluate your tattoo and give you some advice about the process. The number of treatments you will need will be based on the size, age, and color of the tattoo. The color of your skin and the depth of the tattoo pigment will be important factors affecting removal technique.

The Process

This is what you should expect to happen in a tattoo removal session:

  1. You will be given protective shields for your eyes.
  2. Your skin will be tested so the technician can determine which energy treatment will be most effective.
  3. A laser will be used to pass intense light pulses through the top layers of the skin. These will be absorbed only by the tattoo pigment.

Small tattoos should require only a few pulses for removal, while larger ones will need more. Either case will involve several visits to get rid of the tattoo completely, although you will notice progressive fading after each treatment.

The Pain

No pain, no gain. Laser tattoo removal can be painful, but it usually does not call for anesthesia. You may want to apply your own topical anesthetic beforehand. Treatment should be followed with an application of an ice pack to soothe the affected area and an antibiotic cream or ointment is suggested to prevent infection and irritation. Be sure to cover it with a bandage and use sunblock on it when outside.

The Side Effects

When it comes to tattoo removal, laser treatment is the safest because it only targets the pigments in the tattoo. However there are a few side effects:

  1. Risk of Infection – There is always a risk for infection at the tattoo removal sight, and a slight chance of a permanent scar.
  2. Incomplete Removal – More often than not, traces of your tattoo will remain after the process. Usually certain colors will respond more effectively than others. Black and blue tattoos offer the best potential for complete removal.
  3. Hypopigmention – Hypopigmentation sometimes results from tattoo removal, which means that the treated skin will become a bit paler or darker then the rest of your skin.
  4. Cosmetic Tattoo –  Tattooed lip liner, eye liner, and eyebrows may get darker after primary treatments. However, they do tend to fade after additional sessions.

The Doctor

As in all health procedures, it is important to find a reputable doctor. Find a good dermatologist or cosmetic surgery center, preferably with a recommendation from you primary care physician. Insurance will not cover it in most cases, as it is not usually considered medically necessary, Be sure to discuss the charges and obtain the associated costs in writing before treatment.

Have you undergone tattoo removal? Thinking about it? Let us know!

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Should You Get a Facial?

Woman enjoying a facial treatment in the spa

The facial is a time to sit back relax, turn off your mind and let some expert hands do the work for you. But maybe don’t turn off that mind too quickly. You need to be a savvy customer even when you’re looking to let your cares fall away. You need to keep one eye open, even if you’d prefer to keep both eyes closed. Here are some things you need to take into consideration when you’re thinking about a facial.

What Should A Facial Do?

You will commonly hear women talk about relaxation as an integral reason for getting a facial. While relaxation may be a large component of the facial experience, a relaxing facial does not necessarily mean a good facial, and relaxation should not be the main goal behind getting one. A smart consumer will look for a facial that will:

  • Clean Your skin
  • Remove and soften whiteheads and blackheads through manual extraction
  • Restore hydration to skin
  • Plump skin and smooth out wrinkles with a high quality moisturizer
  • Exfoliate skin with a scrub, peel, or peel off mask
  • Fade discolorations, reduce wrinkles and improve skinrone with the use os an AHA or BHA treatment

Another sign of a good facial is the application of sunscreen. A skilled aesthetician will be sure to finish his or her work with a healthy layer of sunscreen containing only zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredients to prevent irritation, due especially to the fact that a woman’s skin is most sensitive after the application of certain anti aging ingredients.

What A Facial Can’t Do

From the way some magazines and beauty consultants talk about facials, you might think there is little that they can’t do, but the truth is that facials do have limitations, and they may not even be much more effective then what you can do at home. A facial cannot:

  • Cure Acne
  • Cause discolorations to disappear
  • Replace cosmetic procedures like lasers, Botox, and dermal fillers
  • Treat redness and rosacea
  • Firm sagging skin
  • Get rid of puffy eyes and dark circles
  • Detoxify skin

Good Aesthetician, Bad Aesthetician

Now this is where it starts to get scary. You never want anyone performing any kind of procedure on you when they don’t know what they’re doing, and no one wants to be the guinea pig for a novice facialist. How will you know if you’re getting a good guy or a bad guy?

An aesthetician who knows his or her trade will start by asking you about your skin. He or she will want to know whether your using medications and what you’re doing to care for your skin, as these should all impact the way he performs his work. Look out for an aesthetician who incorporates any of the following into your facial:

  1. Skin steaming, which, especially with extremely hot steam can make skin refer or result in broken capillaries
  2. Unnecessary aggressiveness with acne extractions that can worsen clogged pores or push blemishes deeper into your skin
  3. Essential oils, which may irritate your skin
  4. Alcohol, menthol, or camphor, which may also irritate skin, damaging collagen and destroying substances your skin needs
  5. Facial rejuvenation devices, which he or she may not know how to operate

Another sign of a good fail is an expert massage. The art of massage is taught at state accredited aesthetician schools, and a good aesthetician should be well versed in it. A good facial massage should never involve tugging or pulling skin, which can compromise skin elasticity.

What do you think constitutes a good facial? Let us know about your best (and worst) facial experiences. We love to hear it!

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The Benefits of Resveratrol for Your Skin

Beautiful young woman with long dark hair in the park

Often members of groups get referred to by their distinctive qualities. There’s the brainy one, the cute one, the shy one, you get it. If that holds true for antioxidants, resveratrol may be most accurately deemed “the fun one.” Why? Because resveratrol is the one that’s found in wine and chocolate, and those things are probably slightly more fun than the fruits and vegetables that most antioxidants are derived from. Here are some facts about the “fun antioxidant.”

What is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in Japanese knotweed, red grape skin, peanuts and blueberries. It is produced by plants to to protect them against environmental stresses, and it may do the same for humans. Antioxidants fight age-related damage from free radicals by neutralizing them. Japanese knotweed is the largest resveratrol producer, although you may prefer to get yours in wine.

In Red Grapes and Wine

Red grapes are one of the plants that produce resveratrol to protect against sun damage and fungal disease, which is why wine has a higher level of the antioxidant that most other foods, however small the content. Red wine contains less than 1 to 2 mg of resveratrol per eight ounces, which is still more than the amount found in white wine. Because red wines are fermented with grape skins for a longer time than white wines, antioxidants like resveratrol are more likely to be extracted into the wine, leading to a higher resveratrol concentration in the red stuff than the white.

Humidity is another factor contributing to resveratrol content. It is theorized that grapes grown in more humid environments produce more antioxidants to address the higher rate of fungus growing in these areas. The more resveratrol, the more antifungal properties.

For Wrinkles

Because resveratrol possesses natural antibiotic properties, it works to detoxify the body cleansing it of contaminants and pollutants. This helps skin to maintain elasticity which reduces the appearance of existing wrinkles while preventing new ones from forming.

For Anti-Aging

One of the most-studied resveratrol-related phenomena is its ability to stimulate the SiRT1 gene, which is the gene that kicks in when people lose weight. It is believed that this same gene can slow the aging process. While studies on these benefits are still tenuous, the cardiovascular health benefits of resveratrol have been well documented and are accepted widely.

Sources

Resveratrol is available in dietary supplements from grape seed extract, red wine extract, and Japanese knotweed extract. However, the quality found in these supplements has been know to vary. The antioxidant is not absorbed well orally and the amount the body is able to take in varies with the process of micro ionization the supplement undergoes. It is also available as a transdermal patch and in solution form.

Have you tried the “fun antioxidant” yet? What do you think? Give us your resveratrol feedback.

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Skin Care Changes to Make in Your 40s

Pensive beautiful woman on the patio

Your skin is going to act its age, no matter what. Try as you might to reason or trick it, your skin knows when it turns 40, and it’s going to act like it. Your hormones are going to produce a lot less of the stuff that they’re supposed to be producing to keep your skin form, and you need to find ways to compensate if you’re going to stay young looking.  Here are some of them.

Commit to A Healthy Routine

By the age of 40, you probably already have your skin routine pretty much down, but you might want to add a few things to it. The 40s may be a good time to start using a skin serum, eye cream, at-home peel or mask, if you don’t already.

Manage Facial Hair

Unfortunately, hormonal changes can often lead to an increased growth of facial hair.  Safe removal methods include waxing, threading and dermaplaning, all of which you may want to consider if peach fuzz is getting to be a problem.

Use High Quality Ingredients

As you age, your tastes mature, and skin care is no different. The poor-quality stuff just won’t cut it anymore. You need to look for potent, proven formulas that plump skin, boost metabolism and increase collagen production. Retinol, peptides, and red rice extract are all expert-recommended anti-aging ingredients, and exfoliation with acids is important for boosting cell turnover.

Vasodilators

You might think of vasodilators as spices for your skin. Ingredients like ginseng and peppermint work to boost circulation by dilating the blood vessels with nutrient-rich blood, giving skin that extra tang to help it stay glowing and invigorated.

Use Skin Lightener On Brown Spots

Brown spots are one of the less glamorous side effects of the aging process. Melanocyte cells decrease approximately 10% after the age of 30, causing irregular pigmentation and dark spots.  Natural skin lightener with vitamins C and E applied under sunscreen can fade brown spots and provide four times the protection of sunscreen alone.

Eat An Antioxidant-Rich Diet

The best antioxidants for the skin are found in grapes, broccoli, tomatoes, berries, and sweet potatoes, so be sure to get plenty of those!

Schedule Regular Skin Treatment

Although a good percentage of effective skincare can be done at home, an occasional professional consultation can be life changing. Not only can professionals provide top quality treatment, they can also offer advice tailored to your skin and recommend products that will make a huge difference.

How do you help to trick your skin into believing it is still in its 20’s? Let us know!

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Don’t Cover Up Because of Chest and Back Acne

Pretty young woman in an off-shoulder top in the park

Women know that accessories can cover a multitude of imperfections. A strategically placed belt or necklace can distract, cinch, and cover everything from a blemish to a bloat. However, when it comes time to bare all, accessories may not be a feasible option. If you suffer from chest or back acne, all may be well and fine until it’s time to hit the beach.  But worry not, we’ve got you covered even when you’re uncovered. Here are some tips for dealing with chest and back acne.

Why You Get Body Acne In The Summer

In the summer, you sweat more, and your body produces more oil, and unfortunately, “oil” plus “sweat” tends to equal to “acne”. Factor in sunscreen, and you’ve got a recipe for chest and back breakouts.

The Difference Between Facial Acne and Body acne

Even though they tend to look the same, and generally respond to the same treatment, there is some difference between facial acne and the acne on the chest and back. The breakouts below the neck are technically referred to as folliculitis, which occurs when the hair follicle becomes infected.

Treating Chest and Back Acne

If you’re facing breakouts on the chest and back, hit the showers ASAP after getting back from the beach or gym to prevent the sweat oil and sunscreen from building up around the hair follicles. Use a gentle body wash with salicylic acid consistently. Everyday usage of an acne-controlling body cleanser will help keep pores open and reduce inflammation.

Will a Face Wash Help?

Face washes can be useful, but only if they contain salicylic acid rather than benzoyl peroxide.  While benzoyl peroxide can be effective for treating facial outbreaks, you may not want to put it on your body because it tends to bleach fabrics and, while polka-dotted bikinis are very fashionable, they may not have the intended effect. Spot treatments and gels can work as well, and are less likely to damage to clothing. However, if none of the above work, a visit to the dermatologist may be in order.  Doctors can prescribe any array of wipes and medications to help treat serious cases of acne on the body.

What About Scrubs?

Scrubs may not be the best idea for helping with body acne because scrubbing too vigorously can over dry skin, triggering more oil production, and resulting in more breakouts. Also, the delicate skin on your chest can scar easily, if it is accidentally removed. A better option would be to use a shower puff soaked in salicylic acid wash and moved in a scrubbing motion on the chest and back. Just be sure to wash the puff as soon as you get out of the shower to avoid bacteria growth.

Are you dealing with chest and back acne? What are your recommendations for treatment? Let us know! We love to hear your comments and suggestions.

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Review These Recent Updates on Sunscreen

Couple applying sunscreen on the beach

Usually, we view the use of chemicals as a big environmental no-no, but when the environment seems to conspire against us, we sometimes become unwillingly united with chemicals by a common enemy. When the sun becomes harmful, sometimes chemical containing sunscreens seem like our only option. But are they, really? Read on to find out.

The Breakdown

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released its 2117 Sunscreen Guide and, in short, the news is not great. According to its findings, nearly three-fourths of sunscreen either contain harmful chemicals or are ineffective. The independent advocacy group reviewed nearly 1,500 products including sunscreens, lip balms, and moisturizers with SPFs only to find that only just over one-quarter of them met the EWG’s stringent guidelines – meaning that only 300 sunscreens, nearly 40 lip balms and just over 100 moisturizers made the grade.

The Factors

The EWG report focused on five factors in their evaluation.

Harmful Ingredients

The first things the researchers examined were if the product contained ingredients that were harmful to a person’s health and if the application of said product could cause harm. Spray-on sunscreens, for example, could be harmful if inhaled.

How Well The Products Worked

The four remaining factors focused on how well the products worked. The EWG wanted to determine how effective the products were in blocking cancerous UVA and UVB rays and how much a product’s active ingredients were broken down by the sun, rendering them ineffective. The researchers also wanted to look at the balance between the UVA and UVB protection. The SPF, or sun protection factor, only takes the ability of the product to block UVB rays into account. Each product was scored on a scale of 1 to 10, with one being the best rating. Only products scoring a two or lower met the EWG’s strict standards, a feat that only one-quarter of the products were able to accomplish.

Improvements

Despite the fact that only a small minority of the products were able to score a two or lower, there have been some noted improvements in sunscreen safety in the past few years. The percentage of “mineral only” sunscreens doubled from 17% in 2007 to 34% in 2017. “Mineral only” refers to sunscreens that claim titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as their active ingredients. Also known as physical sunscreens, these products sit on top of the skin, physically reflecting the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them, unlike other sunscreens.

“Mineral only” sunscreens have proved to be stable in sunlight, which means the sun will not cause them to break down, and they protect against both UVA and UVB rays without the use of harmful ingredients. The EWG also acknowledged that nearly all sunscreens analyzed for the study were “broad spectrum,” which meant that they protected against both UVA and UVB rays.

Additionally, it was noted that the percentage of sunscreens containing retinyl palmate, a type of vitamin A linked to skin tumors in animal studies, had decreased from 40 to 14% since 2010.

Sunscreen for Children

Even though many products are advertised for babies and kids, the FDA does not have any guidelines when it comes the children’s sunscreens, meaning there is basically no difference between products advertised for kids and those designated for adults.

The EWG identified 19 of the best sunscreen for kids as lotions, rather than sunsticks, which often are not applied well, and products that are fragrance-free and water-resistant.

Most harmful to children were those containing harmful ingredients, like retinyl palmitate and oxy benzone, those with very high SPFs or those which came in a spray on formula. The EWG notes that sunscreens with SPFs over 50 usually block UVB rays, but not UVAs. Since UVB rays are responsible for making the skin red, people often think that, because their skin is not reddening, no damage is being done. However, this is not the case. Spray-on sunscreens are also not recommended, as they tend to result in uneven application and inhalations from these products may not be safe.

What do you think of the news on sunscreens? Are you going natural? Let us know! We love to hear from you!

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Protect Your Skin When Waxing

Waxing legs

Waxing? You were the kid who screamed when your mom took off your bandaid. How are you going to survive waxing? A little whiskey, maybe? Will you need a designated driver to get you home from the salon? Will you get turned away by the technician for hyper squeamishness? Waxing can be taxing, but there are ways to make it a little more tolerable. Read on to get some advice on preparing for and recuperating from a waxing session.

Check the Label

Before you begin, you want to be sure the wax doesn’t contain anything that you’re allergic to. The last thing you need is unnecessary redness. Waxes are usually composed mainly of resin, but they can be based on certain ingredients like lavender or tea tree oil, and some contain artificial colors and fragrances. Always check products before using and look into products for prepping skin, removing wax, and soothing skin afterwards.

When receiving professional waxing, you’ll probably be asked to fill out a form to make sure your skin is compatible to the waxing formula, but in case you’re not, you should tell the technician about anything you’re allergic to and ask him or her to make a note of it on your client profile for future reference.

Apply Oil or Powder

After cleansing your skin, apply pre-epilation before a soft wax, or pre-epilation oil for a hard wax. These will serve as buffers, helping the wax to adhere to the hair rather than the skin, lessening the probability of resulting redness.

Technique

Make sure skin is held taut while pulling hair out to prevent unnecessary tugging. Use a wax designed for sensitive skin; cream-based products are often milder than other waxes. Avoid waxing over an area more than one time, as this can cause redness, inflammation, and can even strip pieces of skin.

Keep Temperature of Wax Moderate

Very hot wax can burn skin, so avoid letting wax that requires heating sit in the microwave too long. Make sure to test out the temperature on the back of your hand before applying. Conversely, wax that isn’t warm enough may stick to skin and cause irritation. Try to find a happy medium.

Soothe Skin

Apply a cooling product or aloe-based gel to soothe skin after removing wax. Cooled tea bags or ice packs can be placed on the eyes after waxing brows to reduce swelling.

Cover Up

To conceal redness after waxing, apply mineral makeup. It’s light on the skin and will allow it to breathe more easily than cakey concealers or foundation.

Alternate Methods

Waxing is not for everyone. If skin bleeds, scabs, or becomes irritated, it may be best to try another method. Threading and sugaring are options that remove the hair follicle from the root while remaining easy on the skin. You may want to try these instead.

How do you prepare for and recuperate from a waxing? Let us know what you do before and after. We love to get your comments.

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The Connection Between Weight Fluctuations and Your Skin

Young woman in blue sitting on the sofa

When you look at before and after pictures in a weight loss ad, you may see a picture of someone holding up a pair of pants that look like they could fit about three of him or her as they are now. It is far less common to see After pictures of a person showing off their loose skin as proof of their weight loss. No one wants to think that their valiant weight loss efforts will have less than stellar results, yet sometimes they do. Here is why dramatic weight loss may leave you less than toned and what you can do about it.

Why Skin Stretches

The biggest factor in your skin’s maintaining its elasticity is how long you were overweight for. Regardless of how long it took you to shed the pounds, the longer skin was stretched for, the less likely it is to snap back.

According to Marie Jhin, MD, “It’s like a balloon. When you first blow up a balloon, it’s really small and tight.” You stretch it before inflating it, but it doesn’t return to its original shape when the air goes out.” It’s the same with skin. After it becomes stretched, it doesn’t always regain its firmness. Genetics and age can also be to blame. “Everyone starts to lose (elasticity) as they get older,” she says.

Problems

Besides its unattractive appearance, saggy skin has other disadvantages. For instance, rashes and yeast infections can develop in the folds of skin. Jhin explains, “Perspiration gets trapped, and you can get a rash. I recommend powder or cornstarch. It will help you absorb the moisture.” Other people prefer to use a little fabric to do the job. Compression garments may also help.

In addition to the rashes, loose skin can make getting in shape more difficult. New York city plastic surgeon Jennifer Capla, MD, says, “It changes your center of gravity. It’s harder to move.”

What Can You Do?

Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for saggy skin. Building muscle may help get some definition back, but Capla warns, “There’s no magic cream. It’s something that has to be dealt with surgically.”

However, only about 20% of weight loss surgery patients have body contouring done. A total body lift can cost $30,000 and, while health insurance may pick up the bill for a tummy tuck, as stomach folds may be detrimental to your health, the insurance companies might not be so generous when it comes to surgeries done for what it considers “cosmetic purposes.”

What Else Can You Do?

Susan Hawkins, of Atlanta accepts her saggy skin, saying, “my clothes do a remarkable job of hiding the aftermath.  ‘d take the excess skin any day (over obesity.) For me, it’s my badge of honor.”

For others however, the struggle is more difficult. New York City psychologist Alexis Conason says. “Many view excess skin as a reminder of their old life and associations with emotional issues they are struggling with then they were at higher weight, such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, and low self-esteem.”

However, after a weight loss of 140 pounds, Tanisha Shanee of Brooklyn, New York says, “There are challenges for one to accept with this journey. I had to relearn how to love my body and accept the new healthier one.

Where do you stand on all of this? Is surgery the way to go? Let’s hear what you have to say.

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The Perfect Sunless Tan

Closeup of woman's face in bronzed and contoured makeup

We are all familiar with the risks of sun bathing… skin cancer, premature aging, risk of sunburn…. but that doesn’t stop us from aspiring to a flawless tanned look. Although we have the means at our disposal, self tanning often leads to unnatural colors, weird smells, and, after all that, it can take hours before the results of the tan actually take effect. Read on to find out how you can acquire a tan that will dry quickly and show up instantly.

Prep Work

Fashion writer Jessica Prince Erlich stresses the importance of prep work in the self tanning process. She recommends starting by exfoliating to wash away dry, rough skin and create a smooth surface. It is recommended you use an oil free moisturizer as residue from oils can leave streaks. Then follow up by moisturizing. It’s also a good idea to shave before self tanning. Shaving a day or two after acquiring a self tan can strip the color. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make sure you are nice and smooth beforehand.

Use the Right Products

Once you are ready to tan, using the right products are very important. St. Tropez tanning expert Fiona Locke tells us to start by reading product reviews to make sure you are using a reputable tanner. Unfortunately, it is difficult to consult the ingredient list to find the right products. Locke says most tanners have the same basic ingredients, but it’s the amount of the ingredients each product uses that sets them apart. This information can not be found on labels.

How to Apply?

Now that you are ready to apply your tanner, seek a cool, dry place in front of a mirror to apply. Also, it’s a good idea to invest in a reusable tanning mitt to avoid staining your palms orange. Start at your feet, then work your way up your legs in long, even strokes. Avoid rubbing in the product aggressively as this will make the tan uneven. On the other hand, don’t worry about going over the same area multiple times, as it is the parts that are missed that will result in uneven tanning. If you are using a spray tanner, do not apply directly to face; spray into mitt and then rub that in to your face. To use a spray tanner on your back, spray mist, then walk backwards into it.

Maintenance is Key

To keep your tan looking flawless, take cool short showers, and then pat yourself dry. Rubbing skin with a towel will remove the tan. Wear a water resistant SPF sunscreen at the pool and apply a moisturizing, tan extending formula daily. Buff off the tan once a week to get rid of old patches, and then start again if desired.

If, for some reason, you are unhappy with your tan, have no fear. Showering and exfoliating often, as well as sitting in a hot bath will fade tans quickly. Squeezing lemon juice on to cotton pads and sweeping over streaks and dark spots should be an effective remedy for uneven tanning.

So, what do you think is the best way to self tan? What products do you like to use?