There’s nothing better than coming back from a holiday and having people compliment your newly bronzed glow – but why does it never seem to last?
‘The sun tan you spent the last week religiously building on the lounger tends to disappear after a few weeks,’ says skin specialist and lead product developer at Colorescience, Patricia Boland. ‘This is because the outside layer of skin replaces itself every 28 to 30 days, and skin cells on the surface continually flake off over time whilst new ones grow in the bottom layers of the skin; hence the fresh, albeit pale skin coming through soon after your holiday.’
However, whilst some fading is inevitable, all is not lost. Here, Patricia shares her top seven secrets for making your tan last all summer long (and beyond).
How to make your tan last longer
1. Prepare and exfoliate
The key to prolonging a tan starts way before you even head off into the sun. Exfoliating your skin prior to sunbathing helps rid of old skin cells so that the sun can penetrate the new skin cells at the beginning of their life cycle. Using a daily exfoliating body wash one to two weeks prior to your holiday, and whilst away will prepare your skin for prolonged sun exposure and ensure a deeper tan. After each exfoliation you should also apply some moisturising body lotion to ensure the skin is well hydrated and supple.
2. Protect yourself
Wearing sun cream is imperative when exposed to the sun, not only to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, but also if you want a long-lasting tan. Not only is it dangerous to avoid wearing sunscreen but allowing the skin to burn only means this red tinged tan will fade quicker as these skin cells have become damaged and will peel off more easily. Be sure to opt for a sunscreen with broad spectrum which is both UVA and UVB and ensure you re-apply throughout the day.
3. Hydrate from the inside
Many dermatologists, skin experts and scientists believe that water helps extend the life of your skin cells, so it’s best to drink as much as possible, 3 litres being the target per day. Foods such as melons and cucumbers also have a high-water content and make for the perfect skin-friendly food to snack on poolside.
4. Hydrate your face
The skin on your face is much thinner and more delicate than that of your body, so the maintenance needs to be slightly different. The best way to help your glowing complexion remain is by using a gentle facial exfoliant prior to and once your back on home turf, just to softly scrub away the peeling areas and to allow for the healthy yet tanned skin underneath to come through. You will also want to use facial sprays and serums to keep your skin hydrated and complexion glowing.
5. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise
In addition to drinking lots of water it’s also important to keep the peeling at bay with a decent, hydrating moisturiser. Moisturising is key to a healthy and long-lasting tan, to ensure skin remains hydrated and smooth. The face is the first area where tans usually fade, so remember to use a good quality face moisturiser as well as a body lotion.
6. Add some intensity
If you didn’t quite get the level of tan you were after, then you can always fake it. There are many fantastic intensifier lotions and oils available on the market which are made to deepen your tan, giving your skin a natural looking glow and complementing your real colour. Perhaps also substitute your daily body moisturiser for a nourishing gradual tanning lotion which you can apply straight after the holiday giving you a deeper glow, without looking fake.
7. Bronze it up
Many women bronze easily on their body however find it difficult to tan their face and usually just develop freckles and sunspots. Makeup is also a fantastic way to cheat at a fake tan if you don’t find yourself with the bronzed glow you were hoping for. By using a cream-based bronzer you can trick people into thinking your complexion is natural.