Getting a great tan this summer with Tanner Lotion
Tanner lotions are among the most popular and versatile skin care products available, with a wide variety of options to fit any budget and skin type. If you've been hoping to get a healthy, glowing tan this summer, you should definitely add this product to your beach bag.
Why Tanning Lotion Is So Helpful for Getting a Tan
Moisturized skin tends to tan better than dry skin. For this reason, quality tanning lotions contain emollients, such as argan oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil, all of which hydrate your skin and help distribute your body's tanning response evenly. And while your body may respond slightly differently to indoor tanning (e.g., in a tanning bed) than to outdoor tanning, the use of a tanner lotion can help maximize your body's vitamin D production and offer protection against sunburn (if you choose a lotion that contains SPF).
Vitamin D, of course, is necessary for increasing the strength of your bones and teeth and necessary for optimizing your immune and neurological system. This vitamin may also offer protection against cancer, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions. We can get vitamin D from our food--think fish and egg yolks--but the most effective source is really through our own skin cells, which produce vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. You can assume that if you have a healthy looking tan and consistently get a moderate amount of sun exposure, then your body has produced sufficient amounts of vitamin D.
The Anatomy of a Tan
Your skin contains specialized cells called melanocytes, which are responsible for determining the color of your skin (its pigmentation). When these cells are exposed to ultraviolet light (type A and type B) from the sun, they produce and distribute small granules of melanin around your skin. Melanin is distributed to protect your skin against the UVA and UVB light rays that come from the sun (or, possibly, a tanning bed). This process is what gives you that desirable tanned look.
Incidentally, it's UVB light that triggers a reaction in your body to convert chemicals in your skin into vitamin D (technically, a form called “vitamin D3,” which is shuttled to your liver and kidneys where it is transformed into vitamin D and then sent throughout the body to support a variety of physiological functions).
What to Look for in a Tanning Lotion
Like any skin care product, a tanning lotion ideally should contain natural ingredients derived from pure sources. Look for ingredients that are known to contain nutrients that soothe and hydrate your skin, including:
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Jojoba oil
- Plant leaf extracts, such as green tea, horsetail, and neem
- Flower extracts, such as lavender and chamomile
- Fruit and vegetable extracts, such as lemon and cucumber
If you're looking for a tanning lotion that will offer you some protection against the sun, look for an SPF product made with zinc oxide to prevent your skin from attaining an unhealthy burn.
Helpful Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Tanning Lotion
- Exfoliate your skin regularly. This helps to remove the outer dead layer of skin cells (your skin frequently sheds dead cells as part of its normal, healthy function), so that you can tan more effectively. Be sure to exfoliate with a gentle product to prevent irritation.
- Use tanning lotion primarily on your arms, chest, and legs, but avoid using it on your face and around your eyes. The skin on your face is much more delicate and generally does not produce as much vitamin D. To prevent skin damage and wrinkles, your best bet is to use an SPF moisturizer on your face and a natural tanning lotion everywhere else.
- Moisturize your skin before and after you go out in the sun (or use a tanning bed). Pay particular attention to any areas on your body that tend to dry out more quickly. Drinking enough water will also help keep your skin looking and feeling healthier from the inside out.
Treat Your Skin Well With a Good Tanning Lotion
It's important to remember the general philosophy that too much of a good thing can actually be a pretty bad thing. Excessive tanning and sunburns may lead to DNA damage, free radicals, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Most health experts agree that you only need about 10 to 30 minutes of direct sunlight exposure per day to get a gorgeous tan--and to get the minimum effective dose of vitamin D production.
It’s also important to remember that your skin is a highly responsive and sensitive organ. In fact, it's the largest organ in your body. One of its main roles is to protect your body against bacteria, extreme temperatures, chemicals, and other environmental stressors. Your skin is also critical for body temperature regulation, since it’s attached to body hair and body fat (to keep you warm), and sweat glands and pores (to keep you cool). Full of sensory nerves, your skin is critical in helping you interact with your world. So treat it lovingly with a naturally made tanning lotion.