Ever wondered why some skin types tan more easily than others? Melanin is a substance produced by our bodies that is responsible for pigmentation, i.e. our skin, hair and eye colour. Melanin also protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
How much melanin your body produces therefore determines the colour of your skin and also how likely you are to tan. Generally speaking, the paler you are, the less melanin you have and so you’re more likely to burn rather than tan in the sun.
It’s widely accepted that it’s more difficult to tan well and tan safely when you have pale skin, however, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Here are some tips to safely get a natural-looking glow.
Gradual Sun Exposure
The key to tanning naturally and safely with pale skin is to increase your sun exposure gradually. Start with very short periods of sun exposure, gradually increasing the time you spend in the sun as your skin becomes more accustomed to it. Remember that no matter how long you’re spending in the sun, it’s vital to still use sun cream to protect your skin and reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.
Self Tanning Products
Some products will give you a natural-looking tan without the need to expose your skin to harmful UV rays. When choosing a self-tan, be sure to look for products specifically designed for paler skin that will add a subtle glow. Never apply fake tan with bare hands, you should always wear gloves or use a specially-designed mitt or brush to apply it.
Using self-tanning products such as tan accelerators can also aid the production of melanin when in natural sunlight to help you achieve that sun-kissed look.
Getting a spray tan is another way to achieve a tan without going out into the sun, however, those with pale skin may worry about whether or not the final result will look natural. If you’re pale and planning on getting a spray tan, make sure you go to a knowledgeable and recommended salon.
How deep your spray tan is will depend on three factors – the strength of the product (measured in DHA as a percentage), the amount of product that is applied to your skin and how long it’s left on. You may be tempted to opt for a stronger product or leave it on longer, believing that you need the extra strength or development time because of how pale you are but in fact, the opposite is true! For a natural-looking result, you should choose the spray tan that best compliments your existing skin tone.
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A Note On Sun Beds
Sunbeds should be used with extreme caution. Before using a sun bed it’s crucial to know and understand your skin type and the time duration of which you should use a sun bed, bearing in mind what we’ve already mentioned the importance of gradual UV exposure. For some skin types, sun beds are not recommended at all and for others, you may need to start with as little as 2 minutes per day for the first few sessions. You should also take the proper precautions and ensure that the sunbed you are using meets safety regulations, preferably under the supervision of an appropriate, qualified professional.
Tanning when you have pale skin isn’t as easy as it is for those with darker skin tones, however, it’s still possible to achieve a natural-looking tan if you take safety precautions and make use of modern tanning products.