The return of sunny days means the return of outdoor activities and lazy days. Indeed, when the summer period approaches, everyone imagines their future tanning sessions or family reunions with their late lunches, outside. This is all well and good, but in terms of health and especially skin health, it is imperative to be prepared to endure the sun’s rays continuously. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your skin for a natural tan and limit the harmful effects of the sun.
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Why prepare your skin for tanning?
When it is exposed to the sun, it is exposed to UVA and UVB rays. The sun’s rays are essential to life, they allow the synthesis of vitamin D. But the rays are also oxidizing, and therefore cause skin aging. To protect itself from the sun’s rays, the body synthesizes melanin, a hormone that causes pigmentation of the skin and makes it darker.
Preparing your skin for the sun essentially allows 3 things:
- Limit the oxidizing effects of the sun, and thus limit the effects of aging
- Promote tanning and its prolongation, a few weeks after the end of the summer.
- Help “white” or sensitive skin to tan better, to be more tolerant to the sun
Preparing your skin from the inside with food
The skin needs specific nutrients when it has to face the sun. Some promote hydration, some promote skin tone, and some help keep the skin from oxidizing.
For starters, drinking 1.5L of water a day will help keep your skin hydrated. Then, make sure you consume the essential nutrients for tanning:
- Vitamin C: it promotes skin healing, has a delaying effect on sunburns and increases collagen production (limits skin aging). To fill up on vitamin C, eat kiwis, lemons, oranges, grapefruits, sea buckthorn, cabbage, peppers, strawberries…
- Beta-carotene: a precursor of vitamin A, promotes a healthy complexion and has a protective effect on the skin. Eat carrots, mangoes, apricots, tomatoes to enjoy the benefits of beta-carotene for your skin.
- Vitamin A: it helps to obtain a tanned complexion, stimulates the production of melanin and helps to preserve the skin’s moisture. Vitamin A is found in cheese, liver, eggs, milk, apricots and melon.
- Essential fatty acids: omega 3 have a beneficial effect on the skin, in the sense that they help preserve its natural lubrication and fight against aging, caused by the sun’s rays, by preserving the collagen present in the tissues.
- Antioxidants: they limit the production of free radicals (compounds that cause skin aging). Red fruits such as blackcurrants, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are therefore your allies in preparing your skin.
Getting ready with supplements
Food supplements are very interesting to prepare the skin for tanning naturally. First of all, they provide the nutrients mentioned above in the right doses. But also, some of them offer innovative nutrients that the food does not necessarily provide:
- Astaxanthin: this natural pigment is present in micro-algae. It fights against skin aging, thanks to its anti-free radical action. It is a more powerful tool than beta-carotene to increase the skin’s tolerance to the sun and promote a long-lasting tan.
- Melanin-rich keratin hydrolysate: it directly provides melanin, the pigment responsible for tanning. Usually, ingested melanin cannot be assimilated.
Natural skin care
To anticipate tanning sessions, it is desirable to have a healthy and hydrated skin on a daily basis. Cleansing your skin with a gel cleanser every day, using a moisturizing cream and scheduling a weekly scrub (face and body) are the basics.
Then, there are 2 effective tanning tips to prepare your skin for tanning naturally: carrot macerate and Buruti/Karandja sun oil.
Carrot macerate is rich in beta-carotene. Antioxidant, nourishing, it provides a tanned complexion and ideally prepares for the sun (apply one month to two weeks before sun exposure, face and body). Applied after the vacations, it helps to keep the tan longer. In addition, it makes an excellent after sun!
It is available in stores, but its recipe is simple and very accessible:
- brush and wash 1 carrot
- cut them into thin slices
- let them dry in a dish in the open air (ambient air = 2 days, sun = 1 day)
- put them in a jar and cover them completely with sunflower oil
- leave to macerate for 3 weeks in the house, away from the light
- filter with a fine sieve or a chinois
- put in a bottle adapted for daily use
Buruti sun oil
Buruti is an Amazonian palm tree. It too contains a lot of beta-carotene, as well as vitamin E. It is both ideal to prepare the skin for a natural tan and to protect it from the harmful effects of oxidation caused by the sun.
Uses and precautions
All the actions stated in this article will allow you to prepare your tan naturally. The advice should be implemented at least 3 weeks before your vacation. It is also useful to extend them during the exposure, especially regarding the intake of antioxidants.
However, it is imperative to use sunscreen when you expose yourself. Avoid the hours of strong sunlight (12h-16h). Also, avoid UV sessions, which are harmful to the skin, or applying self-tanning products that will give you an unnatural complexion.