I just got back from a short (very intensive) holiday to Ibiza (can you tell?). I worked by butt of to get the least of a tan, and guess what: it worked. Back home I’m pretty desperate to make that bronzed glow last. Here are my 7 golden rules to keep that summer feeling for as long as possible…
1. SCRUB UP
You get a tan when the sun stimulates the production of a pigment called melanin in your skin, which colors the top layer. This layer sheds approximately every two weeks, so to ensure that all your skin cells are at the very start of their cycle, have a vigorous body scrub before you go away.
It doesn’t have to be expensive — sea salt mixed with honey and a pair of exfoliating gloves will do the job just perfectly.
2. DRINK WATER
Always a good idea, keep up your water intake. Especially in the sun when you lose more water through sweating. When skin dries out it flakes, so it will shed sooner rather than later. To ensure cells stay hydrated, you need to feed them from the inside as well as from the outside. That means keeping up your water intake, especially in the sun when you lose more water through sweating.
3. KEEP YOUR SKIN SOFT
As well as hydrating skin from the inside, you also need to moisturize it from the outside. Your regular moisturizer will do the job, but better use an after-sun cream. Frequently after-sun creams have additional ingredients, such as aloe vera to soothe skin. There are even creams with tan-enhancing ingredients, which stimulates melanin production to maintain your tan.
4. AVOID WAXING
Stay clear of skin-stripping treatments. Exfoliators and lotions that contain fruit acids, glycolic acid and salicylic acid can, like waxing and hair-removal creams, take off the top layer of your skin and with it your tan. To avoid this, shave and skip the scrubs for a few weeks and concentrate on moisturizing. Unfortunately, no holy grail for me in order to keep the least of this tan alive.
5. TUCK INTO THE TURKEY
Did you know that certain foods can help prolong a tan too?! The primary raw material that our melanocytes (a pigment-producing cell) need to make melanin is an ingredient called tyrosine. Turkey, egg whites, cottage cheese, salmon, soy, almonds and avocados are all considered to be rich in tyrosine, so eating them encourages melanin production and, consequently, a tan.
6. DITCH THE SHOWER GEL
Did I mention that it’s important to moisture? Well, take every opportunity to moisturize your skin, from the inside and out. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using shower oil instead of gel, which cleanses but intensely moisturizes at the same time.
7. FAKE IT
Once you’ve got a tan, take it out with a product that contains a hint of fake tan. There are several gradual tanners on the market but my favorite is this mousse from L’Oreal Sublime Bronze. It not only contains the tanning ingredient DHA but also gives an instant tanned look with a slight shimmer.
How do you keep your tan alive?