Tanning has been hot in the U.S. for decades. Around here, we associate a darker skin tone with health. It sends the message that you love to be outdoors and active. Every year, thousands of Americans set up lawn chairs in their backyard as summer comes to get an early start on their tan so that when the beaches and pools open up, they have a nice head start. As we do with most things, we’re constantly looking for faster, easier ways to get a great looking tan. All the better if we get to skip spending hours laying out in the sun to get a bit darker. Luckily, innovation has hit the tanning industry, and there are now some fantastic options for sunless skin tanning. Let’s explore some of the most popular and effective options on the market today.
Spray Tans: The Instant Option
Spray tan salons have been around for years, but now their products are better than ever. Developments in spray tan products have come a long way to make your bronze color look natural and last longer. Your skin stays hydrated, and your tan is free of streaks. It looks incredibly natural. With spray tans, you make an appointment at a salon and either make a private session with a tanning technician or go inside a spray tan booth. While naked, your entire body is sprayed with a bronzing mist that gives you a nice, even tan.
Some spray tan salons also advertise a gradual tanning solution to make your tanning appear more natural. Some people may not like showing up to work or getting together with friends and all of a sudden, you’re incredibly tanned. Instead, they can add layers on gradually to give you a natural tanning look that happens over days or weeks.
Tanning Lotions: Do It Yourself
There are a ton of different tanning lotions for sale that you can use for sunless skin tanning. Each is a product you can use at home and the application is simple. Tanning lotions are ideal for tanners who want to control how dark they get. You can keep adding lotion one step at a time until you get the bronze tone you’re looking for. Usually, you can get around a week of tan with a good quality lotion. After you put it on, though, you need to make sure it dries for several hours without smearing to get an even, all-body look.
Sunless Tanning Peptides: Leveraging Science
If you haven’t heard yet, there is a Peptide called Melanotan 2 which is currently undergoing scientific research studies for many health benefits including sunless tanning and skin protection from harmful UV rays. In the 1980s, researchers at the University of Arizona discovered a synthetic version of a-MSH (human alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone), which stimulates melanocyte production without the sun allowing for sunless tanning. The product they created, Melanotan 2, or MT-2, is a research peptide that can tan the skin without spending hours under the sun. Essentially, Melanotan 2 binds with melanocortin receptors and causes the darkening of the skin. It’s got other exciting potential health benefits as well. However, further research is needed before the FDA will approve this for human use.
At this time this peptide is not approved for human use.
Tanning Beds: The Traditional Method
When people think of sunless tanning, the first thought that comes to mind is laying in a tanning bed under UV lights that mimic the sun’s power. These special bulbs promote melanin production faster than the sun does, so it speeds up the tanning process. Generally, a tanning bed will have 10-15 lamps inside the bed which, when closed, will be on top and below the person tanning. The result is a wonderful looking tan that will last for weeks. The only thing you need to be concerned about is overexposure to UV rays, so make sure you follow the prescribed amount of time you should spend under the UV lights.
There are now more ways than ever to get a great looking tan all year round. It doesn’t matter where you live or how sunny it is, with the right product you’ll look healthy and as dark as you want to. There are great choices available on the market at all ranges of prices and accessibility. The best thing about it is that you can try several different options and stick with the tan you like the most.