Okay, so I will just come out and say that tanning beds are bad. Yes, BAD! I used to work at a tanning salon in college, and we were not allowed to tell our clients about the dangers of tanning beds. You can get cancer from them. There is no sugar-coating it.
That being said, some brides still choose to opt for the tanning bed just for the big day. Whether you want to use real rays or would rather get a glow by using the fake tan, here are some tips and tricks that might work for you.
The Tanning Bed
Although it costs more, choosing a high-pressure bed is the best option. Using high-pressure beds requires fewer visits and produces a darker color than regular beds. Ask your tanning salon about high-pressure beds as they can vary from different locations. Many salons have several price ranges to suit you.
Start taking Beta Carotene. This vitamin is naturally found in vegetables like tomatoes and carrots, which you can increase in your diet. You can take it in capsule form too, but the best way to absorb any vitamin is through your natural food. Beta Carotene helps your skin retain its color.
For your first visit to the tanning bed, do NOT stay in for the full amount of time. Be sure to tell your salon associate that you are just beginning your tanning regimen. Depending on the type of bed you are using, they can set it for how long you should tan. If your skin starts feeling like it is burning, don't hesitate to stop the bed mid-session. One minute in the bed can be the difference between a tan and a burn.
Do not skip the eye protection. The tanning goggles may be a little goofy looking to you, but they are very important since they prevent several eye diseases and even blindness. The skin around your eyes is the most delicate, and you definitely don't want to damage it.
Be aware of any prescription drugs you may be taking at the time you are tanning. If you take antibiotics, skip the tanning bed until you finish the treatment. Medicines for asthma, diabetes, and high blood pressure may make you burn rather than tan. Some birth control methods may also produce white spots on your skin after tanning. Although some people report not having any problems at all, you should still be on the lookout for any skin irregularities.
Invest in a good tanning lotion. If you are not using a tanning lotion, you are only getting half the results. Tanning lotions accelerate the tanning process by promoting melanin production and increasing blood flow in your skin. It also moisturizes your skin, which is crucial to maintain color.
There are hundreds of different types of tanning lotions. Purchase a few lotion samples at your salon to figure out which one works best for your skin type. Some lotions are also categorized by beginning, intermediate, and advanced tanners.
Accelerators- This type of lotion is great for beginners. They usually provide a large amount of moisture, which is important for the tanning process.
Tingle- This type of lotion maximizes blood flow and temporarily reddens the skin. Tingle can be very uncomfortable for some people as it almost feels like a burn, and users typically have to build up a tolerance to it. This should never be used on the face, and people with sensitive skin should avoid using it.
Body Blush- This type is similar to tingle but doesn't produce the hot, prickly feeling. It increases blood flow and works better for people with sensitive skin or can't use tingle.
Bronzers- This type contains a sunless self-tanner mixed in with an accelerator or maximizer lotion. It is great for people who typically have pink undertones in their skin or who redden rather than bronze in the sun.
Many people find that by applying tanning lotion an hour or two before lying in the bed, gives the lotion time to soak into the skin.
The Spray Tan
Spray tanning is great for people who want to avoid the harmful rays of a tanning bed or who want a temporary tan for a special occasion. Be sure to practice using the spray booth first well in advance before any big event. Although it seems easy enough, the method takes a little time to perfect. Some people avoid spray booths also because of the bronzer smell, but it does fade over time.
For best results, exfoliate your entire body before visiting the spray booth. Apply the barrier cream, provided in the tanning booth at your salon, as a thick layer on your feet and hands. Also put a thin layer on your elbows and knees. Since the skin is tougher on these areas, the bronzer solution can sometimes be concentrated here, leaving these areas a darker orange. Practicing with the barrier cream is crucial to prevent this from occurring.
Wear a shower cap in the spray booth, especially if your hair is blonde. Use nose plugs too since you don't want the bronzer solution going up your nostrils. If plugs aren't available, I have found that using a little bit of tissue as plugs does the trick.
If you want to double up on tanning methods, you can tan in a bed and immediately tan in the spray booth. Using the bed first is best as the heat from the bed opens your pores. This way, your skin can soak in more bronzer solution in the booth.
Although it is a little more costly, many people find that airbrush tanning is the way to go. A salon consultant can discuss how dark you wish to be and customize your tan. It is more personal and there is a smaller margin for error since the bronzer solution is applied by a specialist.
For a cheaper at-home method, I have found that L'Oreal Sublime Bronze, the gel formula, works wonders. Other popular self-tanners include Guerlain's Terracotta and Clarins Radiance.
For any sunless bronzer method, try to leave it on for as long as possible. Wait a minimum of 5 hours before showering. The longer you leave on the bronzer, the darker you will be.
For any and all tanning methods, whether using the tanning bed, spray booth, or self-tanner, moisturizing is key. Invest in a deep moisturizer and apply it everyday to maintain your tan and have that healthy glow.