Sun in Cream. How to Use and Choose Self-Tanners Properly?

Indeed, summer has already made itself comfortable but you still look as if you had just returned from a month spent in an igloo? Fair complexion is beautiful but probably everyone sometimes dream about having this sun-kissed skin. Sadly, sun rays happen to be snaky, and for some people even forbidden. In such cases the sun in tube jumps in. How to use self-tanner so as to make the fake tan look as beautiful as the natural one. Is there an ultimate self-tanner? Does application of this cosmetic have any side effects and why does it frequently smell so… weird? Here is all you need to know about making your body tanned without exposing it to the sun.

How Does a Self-Tanner Work?

First of all, a self-tanner is applied the same way you put on a regular body cream. It works underneath epidermis and on its surface. And here a special chemical substance called dihydroxyacetone (DHA) enters. This is the very substance that is responsible for bronzing skin. In short, dihydroxyacetone a self-tanner features is a type of a synthetic, developed in a laboratory sugar which takes part in metabolic conversion in a human body. Moreover, dihydroxyacetone reacts with amino acids from epidermis and colours it brown – and this is this fake tan effect we look forward to obtaining. In most cases just a few hours are enough to notice the results in the form of brown skin.

When and Why Self-Tanner Doesn’t Work?

It turns out that a small percentage of people doesn’t react to dihydroxyacetone at all. How is it possible? Simply, they don’t have the sufficient amount of amino acids on their skin to react with DHA. The only salvation for these people is a powdered bronzer. Although it doesn’t deliver long-lasting effect as a self-tanner does (powder bronzer vanishes from skin at first body washing), it definitely can make skin darker.

Self-Tanner and Its Kinds

Self-tanner in its classic form, which is cream, has a whole group of its relatives – just take your (brown) pick. These various ‘faces’ of self-tanning creams are to boost quality of a product, intensify its action and make the application easier. It’s also worth realizing that if you want to darken our face, choose a product designed for face. If you apply a body self-tanner to your face skin, it’s highly possible that it will clog your skin pores and colour your face too intensively.

Other Types of Self-Tanners

  • self-tanning gel – it has light consistency and doesn’t leave any sticky layer on skin
  • self-tanning spray – enables instant application and is able to bronze even to hard-to-reach body parts
  • spray on tights – it’s a really close relative of self-tanning spray but designed only to colour legs. (Its action is strong and might be badly tolerated by other delicate body parts.)
  • self-tanning mousse – it’s a combination of self-tanning cream and self-tanning gel; it’s reportedly more durable than its delicate gel version and is easy to distribute evenly on body without leaving any sticky coat
  • self-tanning foam – a very convenient and delicate, it produces more durable and faster effect on skin; the subtle foam facilitates better penetration of active substances that the product contains; moreover, this self-tanning foam is also easy to apply to skin
  • self-tanning face wipes – this is a product designed to support the tan that is already on our bodies; a wipe is damp with DHA agent thanks to which it’s easy to apply it to skin; moreover, self-tanning face wipes’ size works to their advantage when travelling

How to Choose a Good Self-Tanner?

First and foremost, you have to pay attention to what is happening to your skin. If it’s delicate and exceptionally pale, don’t go for a dark self-tanner. Instead, try to grade your fake tan by starting from the lightest self-tanners then moving to medium to, at the end, reach for the dark one. Secondly, it you are a beginner when it comes to the use of self-tanners, choose a product that isn’t too dense and oily nor troublesome to distribute evenly on the skin. Therefore, self-tanning newbies should go for one of the following: a self-tanning spray, a self-tanning mousse or self-tanning gel.

How to Apply a Self-Tanner in the Right Way?

Rub it into skin thoroughly trying to apply less cosmetic to elbows, feet and knees. When it comes to hands, in general they usually have more intensive colour than the other body parts because they are constantly exposed to the sun. Therefore, you can skip putting on a self-tanner to hands. Furthermore, remember to distribute the cosmetic evenly and wash your hands afterwards.

The best time of a day to apply a self-tanner is bedtime. Before going to bed, wash your body skin and towel dry it. Basically, it’s also a good idea to use a body scrub so as to smooth your skin and increase its absorption rate. Then, follow with applying a self-tanner, wait a few or few dozen minutes to let the cosmetic penetrate skin freely. Go to sleep to wake up with beautifully tanned body in the morning.


Some self-tanners may discolour clothes. Therefore, if you don’t want to ruin your garments, wear such clothing that you won’t feel sorry to throw away when it happens that the cosmetic left stains that can’t be removed.

Self-Tanner with Neither Smudges nor Stains

Smudges and stains appear due to uneven distribution of a self-tanner. In other words, if the coat of a self-tanner is thicker in some skin patches, it creates this adverse effect of smudges and stains. Therefore, it’s so important to pay special attention to elbows, knees, ankles and feet, and use just a sheer layers of the cosmetic there. The inner elbow and knee skin area shouldn’t also be coated with a thick layer of a self-tanner. Moreover, smudges and stains might also appear on skin parts that feature blemishes and discolorations. Hence, if you happen to have skin imperfections, try not to cover them with a self-tanner.

Self-Tanner. How Long Does It Take for Effects to Become Visible and What’s Their Lifespan?

The first effects of using a self-tanner appear around 3-4 hours; sometimes it takes even 10 hours. It all depends on the brand, the composition of a product and DHA concentration. Fake tan lasts a few days, in most cases it’s a week. In order to help the effect last longer, it’s suggested reapplying a self-tanner every few days.

Self-Tanner. Is It Even Worth Using? [Comments]

While discussing the subject of self-tanners, there is one issue that must be brought out: Is it even worth using a self-tanner? The opinions concerning application of this cosmetics are divided. This cosmetic has both supporters and tough opponents. Those who are against using self-tanners point out its ugly and unnatural, frequently orange shade (some self-tanners colour skin orange), difficult application, smudges and dehydrated skin. On the other hand, those who consider self-tanners as a good solution state that if applied in the right way, a self-tanner doesn’t leave smudges; also, they suggest reaching for a high quality product launched by well-known brands to obtain beautiful and natural skin colour. Many girls report using natural body oils together with self-tanners. Natural oils are potent agents protecting skin from dehydrations.

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