The Perfect Sunless Tan.

*As Published in the Spring 2017 issue of My Vegas Magazine*

The onset of beaches and swaying palms dancing in your head, can only mean one thing….spring break is almost here! As you start your boogie board and swimsuit shopping, it’s likely you are pondering ways to prep away the winter pale. Yet, getting an amazing bronze glow shouldn’t risk the future health of your skin. Here are four tricks for you to obtain a natural tan without cancer causing rays.

Peel of that dead flaky layer with mechanical or chemical exfoliants. Use of a bath brush, loofah, or rotating bristle device help blast away flake. However, chemical exfoliants like Tree Hut Hawaiian Kukui Shea Sugar Scrub leave a luxurious aroma while smoothing. Post shower products such as Am-Lactin or Excipial Hydrating Healing Lotion, which contain lactic-acid and urea respectively, work to break down rough patches. These steps are important to do at least a few hours or a day before applying a tanning agent.

Shave unwanted hair, (which also clears dead skin), at least an hour before applying a tanning cream. Use a hydrating agent like Aveeno Therapeutic Shave gel (with soothing oatmeal) to help prevent razor bumps. Tend Skin can also be applied post shaving to treat any stubborn follicles. These steps clear the way for an impeccable smooth surface.

Prep-application Prep: Make sure skin is dry. Apply light (non-oil based) moisturizer like Cerave cream to eyebrows, nostrils, knees, and ankles and Vaseline on nails to avoid caking. Have gloves, an applicator brush, and tissues/baby wipes at hand. These tools will help prevent over-bronzing, give access for hard to reach areas, and cover excess removal.

Sunless Tanning Product: Advances in self-tanners have made products with less odor, antioxidant properties, and better capability of an even tan without the Oompa-Loompa look. Make sure to choose a tanner that matches your original skin tone, not your desired result, for a natural look. There are several with repetitive rave reviews, such as… 1. St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse (lightweight with a mellow fragrance) 2. Rodan & Fields Foaming Sunless Tan (with antioxidants E & C) 3. Neutrogena Micro Mist (light, no rub application) 4. Fake Bake Flawless Coconut Tanning Serum (with hydrating coconut oil) 5. Clarins Self-Tanning Instant Gel (with soothing Aloe & Shea).

Start application, bottom to top, using circular motions all over, and thinner layers on feet, ankles, knees, hands, and face. Wipe excess from wrists, hands, elbows, knees, and tops of feet. Baby or make-up remover wipes are great for the palms or a body scrub. Leave tanner on 6-8 hours without showering or sweating, but best if overnight.

Post-Application Care: Use oil free lotion and gentle cleansers like Dove for Sensitive Skin wash and Cetaphil lotion to moisturize. Sun protection is still crucial, use a light-weight sunscreen like La Roche-Posay Anti-Helios 60 Lotion Spray. Avoid exfoliators which will quickly strip away color, post-application.

With these easy steps, you may have that beach bunny bronze for at least four to ten days at that tropical oasis of your dreams.

Erika Kimble, BSN, MA, MS, APRN is a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner at Linda Woodson Dermatology in Las Vegas. She is an award winning author of the Malcolm Finney, Medical Detective, children’s health series, freelance writer, blogger ( and beauty queen.

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