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sun hat

Make your summer tan last longer

Recently, Clinical Director Elizabeth Rimmer was asked by The Metro newspaper 'How long does the average tan last?' Here's what she told them:

 

How long does the average tan last and what are the factors that can affect this?

The average tan is thought to last around 7-10 days. Whilst tanning is really advised against, due to the harmful effects of the sun, many people still feel that they look more attractive with a tan.  Your tan duration may be extended by further sun exposure. If you’re heading back to less sunnier climes then you can improve the look and life of your tan by exfoliating before you go and keeping your skin (& body) well hydrated throughout your holiday & on your return.

 

What causes a tan to fade/your skin to peel?

Tans fade simply because your skin cells are constantly renewing themselves. When we are younger our skin cells renew  around every 6 weeks, as we get older this process slows. Dead skin cells are in a constant state of sloughing away & being replaced.

Peeling tends to happen if we have allowed our skin to burn. This is quite simply your body’s incredible ability to detect a problem and deal with it. The burnt skin represents a damaged skin cell and is sloughed away more rapidly because of the damage. If you are unfortunate enough to burn – don’t be tempted to help the skin on its way by pulling it off– allow it to peel itself naturally to avoid any further problems.

 

Plan before you tan

Give your skin a few exfoliating treatments in the weeks leading up to your holiday using a grainy scrub. Pay special attention to elbows, knees and any areas of rough thickened skin. Following your shower or bath use a high quality body moisturiser ideally containing ingredients like retinol, glycolic and / or azelaic acid to assist with hydration and smoothening. If you use a hair removal method, also do that before you head off into the sun as shaving and waxing will also take away some dead dry skin cells.

 

Use an SPF 30 (or higher)

This may sound counter intuitive but tanning gradually is not only safer but will also reduce your likelihood of burning (red skin has never been 'in'). It will also minimise peeling and therefore prolong the duration of your tan.

 

Hydrate inside & out

Drinking plenty of water is a must for anyone who wants good looking, glowing skin. Hydration will help slow down your skin cells natural exfoliation.

Apply a body moisturiser generously at least daily. Sun exposure, swimming, heat and alcohol will all work together to dehydrate your skin more than usual so use a body moisturiser rich in ceramides.

 

Fake it

It's hard to deny a glowing tan on young skin looks ‘healthy’ but unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere you will know that the opposite is true. Health issues aside, tanned skin ages in a big way, thickened, leathery, wrinkled, dehydrated are a few of the unappealing qualities of tanned skin beyond your late teens / early twenties. Honestly if you want to achieve & maintain great looking skin into your 30s 40s 50s 60s and beyond, then faking it really is the way to go. Aside from all of that, if you fake it, you can look bronzed the entire year rather than a couple of weeks here or there.

There are many awesome fake tans out there now - my personal fave is Skinny Tan but experiment, ask your friends and find out what works for you!