The best summer accessory is undoubtedly a gorgeous tan.
While many prefer to fake instead of bake their tans, there are still plenty who may disagree.
As humans it’s impossible for us not to enjoy being out in the sun. Sunlight boosts our serotonin (our body’s natural Valium) levels, which reduces feelings of stress and anxiety.
To properly function, our bodies also need a healthy dose of Vitamin D. While this is available in supplement form, the sun provides the highest dose, increasing the health of our bones, joints, skin, hair, nails and our immune systems.
While we may love the health effects the sun gives us, not to mention the way our skin looks with a natural tan, prolonged exposure to the sun can cause harmful damage, including skin cancer. This is why it’s so important for us to know how to suntan safely!
Outdoor sunbathing, while much, much safer than using a tanning bed, still isn’t risk-free, but these risks can be reduced.
To learn more about how to sun tan safely, here are some top tips from The Euro Tan.
1. Prep your skin
Prepping your skin is essential for an even coloured, flake-free tan!
Just like fake tanners, getting an even tan naturally relies on super smooth skin. The best way to achieve this is to exfoliate.
There are a variety of body exfoliants out there but you want to make sure the exfoliant you use is gentle on your skin and as natural as possible. The Euro Tan’s Euro Glow Coffee Scrub is the perfect way to quickly ensure your skin is silky smooth and ready to tan.
The next step in prepping your skin is to use sunscreen. While this may seem counterproductive there is nothing more important than properly protecting your skin from UV damage.
Make sure to look for a sunscreen that is broad spectrum – one that protects you from UVA (ageing) and UVB (burning) rays. Make sure to also look at the UVA star rating (ranging 1-5). The SPF rating is what will filter out UVB rays. SPF30 filters out 97 per cent while SPF50 filters out 98 per cent. Either one of these is fine – just remember to apply 20 minutes before heading outside so your skin can absorb the sunscreen, and make sure you reapply every 2 hours.
2. Use a tanning accelerator
After your sunscreen has been applied and absorbed, use a tanning accelerator to reduce the time spent developing a tan.
Tanning accelerators work by boosting the melanin in your body. Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes. Melanin synthesis usually only occurs when our bodies are exposed to UV light. The more concentrated melanin levels in the skin are, the faster and darker you will tan.
The Euro Tan’s Intensive Tanning Gel is formulated to work on top of your sunscreen to give you that perfect European summer tan. The gel’s main ingredient in this product is Beta-Carotene, which has been proven to help boost your body’s ability to produce melanin.
Using tanning accelerators like this will help you reach your deepest, darkest tanning potential by ultimately spending less time in the sun.
3. Know your tanning limit and choose your time wisely
When it comes to tanning, different types of skin will tan better than others, it all depends on the amount of melanin in the skin.
Lighter skin (Types 1 and 2) may struggle to or never tan, or sometimes they just burn in the sun. Olive and darker skin (Types 3 and 4), on the other hand, will naturally tan much faster.
Our skin actually has a tanning limit point. This occurs when it physically can’t produce any more melanin (the tanning pigment), no matter how long you stay in the sun.
Melanin limits are typically reached after 2-3 hours, or much less if you have fair skin. Make sure to learn about your skin type and tanning cut-off time before sun tanning. Subjecting yourself to a longer period of time means subjecting your skin to UV damage.
Also, make sure you choose your tanning time wisely. The sun is typically strongest between 12pm and 3pm, and will be when it is likely to cause the most damage to your skin. To avoid burning and other effects of UV damage, the best times to tan are in the morning or after 3 pm.
4. Seek shade, change positions, or take breaks
To ensure an even tan, and to reduce extended sun exposure to parts of your body, set a timer so you know when to flip or change positions. This will also help you avoid burning one part of your body.
Make sure to also bring a beach umbrella or tent with you, or set yourself up next to some form of shade nearby. Just because your tanning limit may be 2 hours doesn’t mean you should spend 2 hours straight in the sun.
Take regular shade breaks, or if there’s none nearby, cover up, to give your body some time to recuperate. This will also help to ensure your tan is healthy and longer lasting.
5. Apply after sun care
After sun care is just as important as skin prep.
After tanning, your skin will be left dehydrated. It’s important to hydrate both inside and out. Make sure to drink plenty of water, and moisturise your skin or use an after sun.
The Euro Tan’s Aloe Vera Mist is a great after sun that both hydrates and soothes your skin. Re-hydrating the skin after being out in the sun will also help to prevent peeling, ensuring an even, all-over tan.
6. Prolong your tan
The best way to suntan safely is to prolong your tan as much as possible to reduce the amount of time you spend in the sun.
The Euro Tan’s Tan Extender is a moisturiser that includes a dose of Beta-Carotene to extend your tan by increasing the melanin in your body.
As well as using a moisturising tan extender, make sure to keep your body hydrated from the inside. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding really hot showers will help brighten your complexion and leave it free of dry patches.
To help prevent dry patches, you will still need to exfoliate. Use a gentle, natural exfoliator a couple of days later to very lightly remove dead skin cells and to bring out your new golden bronze complexion, and follow with a moisturiser (preferably a tan extending one).
Natural sun tans need not be avoided altogether this summer. Using The Euro Tan’s guide to safe sun tanning, you will be prepared to look your best by becoming a conscious sun-seeker.
To help you achieve a beautiful and long-lasting natural tan, check out The Euro Tan’s amazing range of products and bundles here.