When you get a tan, your skin becomes beautiful and golden, but you often don’t know what damage the tanning process causes to your skin. What can you do to prepare and protect your skin to tan safely? And how do you keep your tan? We tell you everything you need to know about a perfect tan, so stay tuned.
Getting a tan is the best way to get a beautiful glow every summer, but first and foremost it is a natural defense mechanism of the skin. When faced with ultraviolet rays, the skin adapts and develops a tanned complexion and/or freckles. If the skin does not adapt, sunburn will appear on the skin.
Tanning: how does it work?
There is no tanning without UV rays. There are three different types of UV rays:
- UVA: with a rapid and short-lived effect.
- UVB: with a slow effect.
- UVC: filtered by the ozone layer.
Our skin is composed of two parts: the dermis and the epidermis. Dermis is made of permanent deep layers that are not affected by tanning. On the other hand, the epidermis, the superficial part of the skin, is composed of cells that are gradually eliminated and renewed every 25 days or so. These cells include melanocytes, which are responsible for producing melanin, pigments that color the skin and protect the cells from UV rays.
Ultraviolet rays activate the production of melanin, which controls photo prospection. However, this production varies according to different skin types.
There are also other cells responsible for protecting the skin from UV rays: the keratinocytes, which come from the keratin present in the cells. When exposed to UV rays, keratinocytes multiply and create a third layer, which is not penetrated by UV rays.
How to prepare your skin for tanning?
In order to avoid the infamous sunburns, it is important to take a few precautions and prepare your skin before the first exposure. Then it’s time to think sun, dress sun and eat sun.
In your plates, you should prefer foods rich in carotenoids, licopenes and vitamin A (carrots, tomatoes, melons, apricots, peaches, peppers, spinach, broccoli…) and you should not skimp on olive oil. You should also think about eggs, fish, butter and cheese which influence cell renewal. And finally, drink enough water and tea to stay hydrated.
Sun dietary supplements can help prepare the skin and provide it with fatty acids, which prevents it from drying out and preparing it to face the first UV rays. Taking care of your skin is also essential. Several weeks before the first exposure, you should pamper your skin and prepare it for sun exposure. Lightly tinted, carrot oil, combined with a moisturizer, hydrates the skin and gives a natural glow. In addition, carrot oil activates the melanogenesis of the skin and allows the epidermis to better resist UV rays.
The other secret to a perfect tan is exfoliation. Once a week, exfoliation helps eliminate dead skin and ensures a better tan.
Last but not least, the main condition to respect in order to get ready to tan safely is to expose yourself gradually.
Protect yourself well to tan well
The best thing to do, especially for sensitive skin, is not to expose yourself during the “forbidden hours”: between noon and 4pm. Nevertheless, if the call of the sun is stronger than anything else, it is essential to protect your skin properly.
Besides the traditional sun cream (with variable indexes according to the intensity of the exposure), some oils or monoi also protect from UV rays. Attention, if the sunscreen is not waterproof, do not forget to reapply it after each swim.
The best thing to do: apply your sun block 20 minutes before your first exposure and reapply it every two hours (this advice is valid for all skin types).
Tanning gradually and regularly allows you to obtain an even, long-lasting tan and to protect your skin from possible sunburns. After each exposure, the skin is irritated by UV rays and needs to be soothed and moisturized. That is why it is important to always use a moisturizing and repairing after-sun lotion. It nourishes the skin and rebuilds the skin barrier.
How to keep your perfect tan?
A well-hydrated skin is the insurance of a tan that lasts. Each night, carefully apply an after-sun lotion, a moisturizing cream or an oil to the face and body. In addition to their moisturizing and nourishing properties, apricot and carrot oils slightly tint the skin.
Once again, scrubs are important. By gently exfoliating the skin once a week, dead skin cells are removed, which helps the tan to last. Self-tanners or sun powders can also help keep a nice tan and restore radiance several months after the summer.
Do you know any other tips on how to get a perfect tan? Let us know in the comments section below.