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Pale winter white to the look of bronze.

With winter finally wound down and spring at last arrived, many people are coming out of hibernation by putting a little color back into their cheeks. "There's something about having a bit of tan on your skin that everyone loves," says the founder and owner of Toni Brattin & Co., Inc., a cosmetics company based in the Oklahoma City, Okla., area. "Not only does a little color make us look healthy and fit, it also tends to make us look younger and, more importantly, feel younger."

Brattin provides these tips for getting a great-looking indoor tan:

Exfoliate and moisturize, "During the colder months, people often don't keep their skin properly moisturized or cared for, and they develop what I call 'winter skin': very dry skin covered by an accumulation of dead surface cells. Attempting to tan without first removing this layer is probably the most common tanning error."

Skip the exfoliating step and you wind up tanning dead surface skin that eventually sloughs off, leaving lighter-colored splotches of new skin where the dead skin cells were. "When you self-tan with lotions or sprays, the drier areas of your body--like elbows, knees, and ankles--are going to absorb more of the product, and, therefore, they often turn darker than other areas.

Jump-start your indoor tan. Due to concerns about premature wrinkling and skin cancer, gone are the days of lying on the hot beach for hours and hours soaking up the rays, but a little bit of natural sun is okay for most people and provides the body with vitamin D. It also stimulates the melanin in skin, which can give self-tanning a bit of a boost for faster and darker results.

Shows where it goes--the keys to even tanning. "One of the biggest problems people experience when they use self-tanning products is streaking and unevenness" points out Brattin. "That's because many of the tanning creams and lotions have no color or a very light color, so you have to sit and wait. sometimes for hours, to see if the product was applied evenly or whether you missed an area entirely."

To solve the problem, use an instant tanning foam (with added dark pigment) that shows exactly where the color is going as it is being spread over the body.

Spot test first. Many tanning products can create adverse reactions under certain conditions, especially for people with sensitive skin. "Spot test a small area on your body before widely applying any cosmetic product, including a self-tanner you've never used before." cautions Brattin.

Do not get trapped by your self tanner. "The active ingredients that cause tanning to occur, dihydroxyacetone and erythrulose, are chemicals with very unpleasant odors," warns Brattin. "Many times people apply a tanning product only to later discover that the chemical odor left on their skin remains so strong that they can't comfortably go out in public, even after showering."

Though the smell eventually subsides, self-tanners who engage in sports or other physical activities still can be embarrassed by it later because perspiration causes the chemical odor to reemerge from pores.

Some self-tanning systems require a several-hour waiting period before dressing. "If you're thinking you can quickly slap on a tan before your date arrives, be sure the product you're using is truly a quick-tanning one. It should take only seconds to apply and rinse off in the shower. There should be no odor or worry about streaking, missed spots, or discoloring your clothing."

Spray-on tans--better hold your breath. "Sometimes people grab a spray tan at the store because it looks fast and easy, but some of the tanning sprays are very apt to produce overspray, which is then inhaled, and some people don't react well to that."

The overspray also can settle on carpet, tiles, and furniture. "Some who use spray-tanning products have discovered the best place to apply them is outside or in the garage. If you're going to have a spray tan applied at a salon, the amount of overspray that you may inhale could be considerable, so try not to breathe during the process, or wear a mask when possible."

Simple tanning tools help you get professional results. It seems logical that anyone rubbing tanning lotions or gels onto their bodies would want to use gloves to protect their fingers and palms from becoming overpigmented.

"Many people are so eager to rub the tanning product onto their bodies that they don't stop and consider what will happen to their bare hands after being in contact with the lotion for extended periods," relates Brattin.
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Title Annotation:Indoor Tanning
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2013
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