What’s the best way to apply sunless tanner? What do you do so your face isn’t white and your body tan? Can it cover up stretch marks or other scars?
–Anne in Ohio
Sunless tanning is probably the safest alternative to getting some color without the risk of exposing yourself to the sun’s harmful rays. Sunbathing and tanning beds can lead to skin damage, such as skin cancer and premature wrinkles.
The great thing about the best sunless tanners is that you can apply the product to a specific area, or all over the body, including the face. In addition, you can control the color and the effects are temporary. The whole process takes about two hours, not including drying time, and is best done in the p.m. before you go to bed. Also, make sure you are in a cool and well-ventilated area to minimize perspiration, which will cause streaking.
First, make sure to exfoliate well. This sloughs off all the dead skin cells, for an even base application. If you plan to tan your legs, don’t shave that day to prevent irritation. After showering, apply lotion and allow that to absorb into the skin for about 20 minutes.
Next, you’re ready for the sunless tanner. For the face, I would recommend a product such as Estee Lauder Sunless SuperTan For Face. Pull your hair back in a ponytail or headband. Apply a light, even layer to the face and neck, since this area tends to absorb product more than other areas of the body. You can use your fingers — but make sure to wash your hands — or a makeup sponge, which eliminates unwanted “palm tanning.” Drying time depends on the product, but don’t touch the face for 15 minutes after application.
If you’re looking to tan all over, it will take more preparation. Depending what areas you want to tan, you can wear shorts and a tank or t-shirt or a bathing suit. Just make sure it is comfortable enough to wear and not sweat in.
For body application, use gloves or make sure to wash your hands EVERY five minutes to prevent orange palms. Keep a manicure or fingernail brush available to scrub the product off nails and in between fingers. If you are going to apply the tanner to your back, you may need some help from a friend. Spread in a circular motion and make sure you get all the trouble spots like the back of your legs. Your main concern should be that the application is even all over. On feet and hands, just apply to the tops, not in between fingers and toes or the sides.
The hard part is waiting. Ideally, you should wait a full hour before changing into clothes or getting into bed. Avoid water, swimming or bathing for another three hours afterward.
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