Streak-free solutions SVELTE TANNING
ALOT of self tans feature on this page throughout the year because we’re big tan fans in Ireland. In a recent trawl through readers’ emails, I realised there is still some confusion over what tan to use to get skin looking sun kissed without streaks. Colour is only one issue, but remember that for paler skin tones lighter shades work best and should cause little or no streaking. Deeper shades look great on darker hair and skin. This rationale excludes blondes by the very fact that their hair is most likely dyed, so their best choice of tan can be light, medium or dark, depending on skin tone.
A main cause of streaking is dry skin. The skin colourant DHA, found in all self-tans whether synthetic or derived from plant extracts, reacts with amino acids in the dead skin layer on the skin’s surface.
This reaction happens over the course of a few hours, but where there are patches of excess dead skin cells this will cause extra skin darkening and an uneven tan. The most common areas are the knees, elbows and ankles.
How to avoid a tan disaster? Well, exfoliation helps – getting tough with those rough patches and smoothing the skin for a more even tan. Your tan’s formulation will also help, so here’s how to choose the right variety.
Consider your skin, is it smooth and supple, moisturised correctly? Great if it is, choose any formula you like in a shade that suits. If it isn’t in the best condition, perhaps choose a lotion as it will have a level of moisturiser that probably exceeds any other formula. From lightweight mists and water-like liquids through to mousse and lotion, the heavier formula generally means more moisture. This has an impact on streaking because a lotion can be moved around the skin easier and for longer, drenching the skin with both colour and moisture.
If, even after your best efforts, you still end up with streaking, use an exfoliator to try and scrub away the mistakes. Alternatively you can add a little more tan if you have gaps in places. Summer’s not over yet (hopefully) so remember, a fake tan is a safe tan but it isn’t sunscreen, so don’t forget to apply the SPF needed to protect your skin. Keep your tanning sessions to night time to avoid sunscreen interfering with the tan development.