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Have a Golden Glow All Year

Updated on September 11, 2012

Many people feel better when they are tan. In truth, many people look great with a tan. They look fit, healthy and the skin has an even color. A tan can help hide problems, saggy skin, lack of muscle tone, varicose veins and even cellulite become less apparent when the skin is tan. It is no wonder people line up in tanning booths or lie baking in the sun for hours for that perfect summer tan.

Unfortunately, the great look a tan brings but comes with a high price. Frequent tanning accelerates the aging process, by causing premature wrinkling and damage deep into the layers of the skin. Over time this deep skin damage makes its way to the top layers of the skin and sun spots start to appear, freckles become larger and darker over time.

Not all sun exposure is harmful, however, Vitamin D is created while we are exposed to UV-B rays. Unfortunately, UV-B rays are also the most damaging to our skin. Vitamin D plays an important role in our bodies’ ability to create and maintain healthy bones. Some people claim sun exposure helps manage their symptoms for skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema, however there is not a lot of scientific study to back up those particular claims. While there are health benefits to getting Vitamin D, there is no need to lay out in the sun for long periods of time. Most of us can get the maximum dose of Vitamin D by exposing our skin to the sun for about ten to fifteen minutes each day. This can be accomplished by taking a short walk. If you will be out in the sun for more than ten minutes, you should be wearing protective clothing or sunscreen.

If you really love the look of a tan, you should experiment with sunless tanning products. There are so many different products and different applications - creams, sprays, pre-moistened towels and gloves with new products being introduced each year. With a little experimentation, you will find the right product for you.

Achieving a great tan is easy if you follow the proper steps.

Begin by shaving and/or exfoliating the areas that will be tanned. You can use exfoliating gloves or a scrub, but avoid using a scrub that is oil-based, you want the self-tanner to be directly on the skin. Oil based creams or soaps might create a barrier. If you are tanning your legs, for example, exfoliate then shave for best results.

Next be sure to completely dry the skin and apply a light coating of petroleum jelly or if you do not have that on hand, a heavy moisturizer to the areas can become too dark, such as ankles, knees, elbows and knuckles. Once that is one, you are ready to apply self-tanner.

Use latex gloves or wash your hands thoroughly a few times to avoid staining. If your hands do stain you can rub a cut lemon before and after washing and it will help fade the stains quickly. Apply a dollop of self-tanner to one hand, rub hands and start to apply the self-tanner from the bottom up, in a massaging, circular motion, make sure you cover all areas evenly. Starting from the bottom first helps you avoid creases around your waist and smearing the product, also so your legs will begin drying first and reduce the chance of you bumping into things while they are wet.

After applying evenly wait until the self-tanner is completely dry before you dress. As you know the color develops over the next few hours so avoid taking a bath or shower for at least eight hours. When you do finally shower, use an oil based body cleanser or wash. Pat yourself dry and apply moisturizer to keep the skin glowing. Too keep the tan longer try using gentle gradual tanning cream.

With a little practice, a healthy believable tan can be achieved without risking your looks and your health. This tan, unlike a natural one, can last all year long.

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