Long Woman Legs isolated on white. Depilation

Time and time again we’ve all been clued-up on how tanning and extended sun exposure can wreak havoc on our skin. Not only does over exposure to the sun’s rays promote early signs of aging but it also works to break down our skin’s DNA over time, which can result in a cancer. Despite constant warnings, most of us are still attracted to the look of sun-kissed skin like moths to a light.

Too often we see people steering away from safer alternatives such as spray tans and tanning lotions because misapplication of these products results in a streaky and less than desired appearance. So we’ve decided to give you tips on how to make your faux tan look as natural as possible.

  1. Moisturize– It is important to keep your skin in good condition and well moisturized at all times but especially when you self tan. Moisturize skin well for several days before but not immediately prior to application.
  1. Exfoliate– Slough away dead skin cells and revitalize your skin using an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) lotion and cleanser or a good scrub. Dry, flaky skin will result in blotchy uneven tanning results and just won’t look good.
  1. Apply – When applying tanning lotion use latex gloves or wash hands thoroughly after application to prevent orange palms and discolored nails. You can use a small cotton ball or pad to apply tanning lotion to the back of each hand when done.Work in sections – apply a light layer evenly and rub in well. Use only small amounts on areas of thick skin such as elbows, ankles, knees, or keratoses (thickened skin growths).For spray tans it is important not to inhale the sprayed material so wear a mask during your session or hold your breath while spray is activated. Higher end places will normally have well ventilated, air drawing backdrops.
  1. Set– Let skin dry for at least 10 minutes after application before attempting to get dressed. You can use a hair dryer on cool setting to speed up the drying process.
  1. Protect – Use a broad spectrum sunscreen! Self tans do not provide UV protection. Keep your skin healthy with daily sunscreen use and remember to reapply!


Watch Dr. Rostan’s interview on Fox46 Charlotte as she talks about the dangers of sunburn and sunburn art, the dangerous new tanning trend.


5 Thoughts on “How to Get the Best Sunless Tan

  1. Linda Elrod on July 24, 2015 at 8:25 pm said:

    I would like to know what you recommend as the best self-tanning product that looks the most natural and doesn’t leave wrinkled skin and a bad odor. Most of them do this.

  2. Judi Noblitt on July 26, 2015 at 10:29 am said:

    Enjoyed hearing you speak on sunburns, sunscreen, and skin cancer. The more young people can be educated about sunburns, hopefully, the less skin cancer they will have to deal with in their future. Dr. Rostan, knowing you care means a lot to me.

  3. Thank you for your comment. St. Tropez and Fake Bake both offer great self tanner options that provide a natural/gradual tan and better scents. They are also a staff favorites at Charlotte Skin & Laser

  4. Educating our patients and the community about better sun protection and over all skin health is very important to us and we are always looking for new ways to engage and inform! Thank you for the comment!

  5. I have not checked in here for some time since I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I will add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

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