Year after year the scenario remains unchanged: we return form our holiday covered with beautiful suntan and after a few weeks this sunny bronze vanishes and we are pale again. It’s high time to put an end to this misfortune. However, before I start describing the issue in detail, I need to explain two important things first:
- What’s suntan? In plain English, it’s the effect of melanin action, which is a pigment responsible for skin colour produced in cells named melanocytes. Contrary to popular belief, the main task of melanin isn’t to gift skin with a particular shade but to protect us from harmful UV radiation. During sunbathing, this is the protecting mechanism that activates so there is more of the shielding pigment being produced. The side effect is the very suntan our skin starts featuring, which can be also described as skin darkening.
- Why does suntan disappear? It’s a consequence of natural changes which take place in our skin. We can get suntan faster but the effect will be short-lived (due to UVA radiation) or we can obtain long-lasting suntan after a few days (due to UVB radiation). Anyway, sooner or later suntan always disappears and this is strictly connected with two processes. With the regular dead epidermis cells exfoliation and replacing it with new cells (which lack tan), as well as with the gradually decreasing melanin production, our skin lightens up the moment we stop exposing our body to the sun.
There is one question raised. How to make suntan stay with us for longer? Luckily, I’ve got a few ways to preserve suntan. Here are my tricks.
Preparations made before exposing our body to the sun have significant influence on suntan’s lifespan in the same extend as the way we sunbath and the time devoted to it. It’s worth devoting a few minutes to our skin before exposing it to the sun so as to be sure that we won’t get red suntan and that we will avoid irritations. You have to be well-prepared for sunbathing – I do it in a few easy steps mentioned below.
- Even before the summer begins for good I start applying peeling to my entire body regularly. Basically, treating your body with scrubs one a week should be enough, but of course you can increase the frequency if you want to. Why do I do that? I remove my dead epidermis cells systematically, thanks to which, sun rays reach skin easier and suntan is more durable.
- In general, it’s crucial to maintain skin hydrated. Since suntan goes away together with the exfoliated epidermis, I take care of replenishing my skin with water with double the force. Therefore, I apply a body balm or moisturising oil after every bath or shower I take.
- How to get tanned faster and obtain better results? The easy way to do it is by taking food supplements. Together with the spring arrival, I replace my winter vitamins with pills rich in beta-carotene, anti-oxidants, copper and evening primrose oil. All the ingredients stimulate melanin synthesis. So, in plain English, they have significant impact on how fast our skin wins this brown shade and intensify the final tanning effects.
- Natural way of accelerating suntan can be also obtained due to following a diet rich in vitamin A. The moment all baby vegetables become available on market stalls, I’m extremely happy that I can consume them and supply my body with beta-carotene and the mentioned vitamin A. Beautiful suntan is facilitated by: carrots (e.g. a glass of carrot juice a day), apricots, melons, tomatoes, pepper and all possible fruit and vegetables coloured red.
The secret of maintaining suntan isn’t only connected with what we do to our body once sunbathing finishes. It’s also important how we prepare ourselves for the procedure (look above) as well as what we do during exposing our body to the sun.
Many people are wrongly convinced that sunscreen is redundant if we care for getting fast suntan; they believe that sunscreens block sunrays from reaching our body. To be honest, this is one of the biggest nonsense I’ve heard recently! Bear in mind that UV filter is indispensable during sunbathing. A good sunscreen doesn’t block vitamin D production, therefore, suntan is equally enhanced no matter if we cover our body with a cream or not. If you’re wondering what you should do to make your skin brown, here’s the solution. Sunscreen minimizes harmfulness of sun rays and protects our skin from irritations, redness and sunburns. That’s good because reddened skin, even when finally turns brown, exfoliates faster so the effect of sun-kissed skin lasts not long enough. The key to success is adopting a rational approach to sunbathing and considering a sunscreen as a compulsory product.
Is there any other important aspects to highlight? In my opinion, the best way of getting long-lasting and stunning suntan is controlled and short expositions to the sun. It’s worth realizing that fast appearing suntan is not what we should expect to get. As fast as it appears, it vanishes equally promptly. In the light of this, it’s better to build tan slowly and gradually by constantly maintaining melanin production. The more often we expose our body to the sun, the better. To demonstrate, it’s wiser to spend 15 minutes sun tanning every day than 4 hours once a few weeks. Regularity is very important.
3. SUNTAN FIXING
How to keep your body suntanned? Of course, we can take care of that after finishing sunbathing, although I recommend not to limit yourself to applying after-tanning creams only. The described above hints are equally important. However, it’s crucial to know how to fix suntan after returning home from holiday. Here are my techniques that help me enjoy sun-kissed sun for long.
- During the summer, I take only cold showers, and it isn’t strictly connected with them being more refreshing. It’s because hot water doesn’t serve suntan well since it causes more irritations to the already damaged skin; hot water also accelerates skin exfoliation process.
- I pay attention to moisturise my skin intensively which is also considered as an easy way to delay exfoliation of epidermis. Well-hydrated skin preserves suntan for longer, therefore, I always treat my skin with a balm or body oil.
- Balanced diet and taking food supplements aren’t only important before sunbathing. How to fix suntan naturally? I increase dosages of consumed vitamin A and beta-carotene. Both substances combined are the best natural way that enables to fix tan. They contribute to making skin beautifully brownish.
- The easiest of all the possible methods is just going for walks daily. You ask how to fix suntan, I answer: keep exposing your body to sun rays. Therefore, once you come back home from summer holiday, try to take a stroll at least once a day. Even the delicate afternoon sun gives a signal to skin and stimulates melanin production. The simple ways of fixing suntan are the best ones.
- My last resort are self-tanning creams and bronzers, although I do my best to avoid them as much as I can. Indeed, they contain many synthetic substances but if applied once in a while in small amounts, they effectively prolong the effect of sun-kissed skin. When applied to already tanned skin, such products don’t leave smudges; also, they emphasize the natural brown shade of summer skin.
I guess, these are all my home ways of maintaining tan on skin.
Time for you – share your tricks concerning fixing suntan with us.