Preparing the skin before getting a tan is very important. This actually creates the difference between getting a perfect tan and an ugly, streaking, uneven spots on your skin. Preparation depends on how soon you need that tan and the availability of skin care products that you want to use. But for now, we will focus on the most important step ‘ Exfoliating the skin.
Sunbathing vs. Self-tanners
Sunbathing or lying on a tanning bed produces a tan that is developed under the skin layer. When UV (specifically UVA) rays hits your skin it causes the underlying skin cells to produce more melanin which gives your skin a darker tone. Using self-tanners on the other hand doesn't require exposure to UV rays. While it is not really paint or color dye (i.e. make up), the tan is caused by a chemical reaction of certain ingredients of self-tanners like DHA or Dihydroxyacetone with amino acids in the upper layer of your skin. That is why a tan from self-tanners fades faster compared to those caused by exposure to UV rays. And that is also the reason why exfoliating is important before applying self-tanners.
Exfoliating the safer way
Self-tanners affect the upper layer of your skin. Dead skin cells can easily fall-off bringing with it your newly applied self-tanners which results to uneven or sometimes patchy spots on your skin. That is why it is very important that you exfoliate first prior to application. Make sure to avoid those that contain oily residues like salt or sugar scrubs when choosing an exfoliating product. Although dead skin cells have been rubbed off completely from your body, oily residues tend to remain on your skin making it hard to absorb self-tanners. One best way to exfoliate is to use exfoliating mitt i.e. Thermalabs natural exfoliating mitt. Made from bamboo fiber and loofah, it is guaranteed to be safe for your skin. Gently scrub your whole body then clean with plain soap (do not use products that contain oily moisturizers) and warm water. Dry off completely before applying self-tanners. Moisturizer application should be done at least 12 hours after to make sure that your skin completely absorbs the self-tanners.
Always remember, never overdo exfoliation. You need to give your skin a rest before attempting to do another rubbing. Wait at least a week or two before your next scrub even if you intend to re-apply self-tanners.
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