While there are many reasons that people tan via tanning booth, most deny the fact that serious skin damage is occurring. Over the long term, uneven skin tone known as hyperpigmentation becomes obvious. Dehydration is common and promotes wrinkles. Over exposure to UV rays, whether from sun or tanning booth, causes damage to DNA, which in turn may promote skin cancers.
The Mayo Clinic advises that a better alternative is to use a sunless tanner for that sun-kissed glow. This type of tanning can be professionally applied at the local day spa, or at home by using easily purchased products that come in creams, gels, or sprays. Self-tanning occurs when the active ingredient, dihydroxyacetone, temporarily darkens dead skin cells on the skin’s upper most layers. The color fades gradually through the body’s natural exfoliation process.
To achieve an even look, exfoliate the skin with a loofah and shave if necessary. Lightly and evenly, apply the product, especially on the rough, dry areas such as elbows and knees. A second person may have to help to hard to reach areas. Hand discoloration is common so wash hands and under nails immediately after application. Then, with a cotton ball, apply product to tops of hands for an even tone. Let the product dry completely before dressing.
Be aware that self-tanning products do not include sun protection. Avoid sun-tanning pills as they contain color additives that can cause liver and eye damage.