Is there any way to safely get a tan in 2016?
June 8, 2016 5:01 PM   Subscribe

I am extremely white. I am looking to get a LITTLE color. I just want to look a little healthier. The other issue is that I work indoors 50-60 hours a week. I belong to a gym with tanning (Planet Fitness). I've never tanned, so I don't know how often you go. Obviously I'm concerned about the health risks. I am in my late 30s (I've heard statistics about tanning when younger). Is there any way to safely get a tan? I'm mostly concerned about having a little color for the rest of the summer. Spray tans? Booths? Rub on creams?
posted by kbbbo to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
People like the daily lotions- Suave and Jergens make nice ones. Use daily for subtle color. I will say, I think they smell awful.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:03 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Some dermatologist do spray tans now. Check with one you trust.

You are now over 30 so anything you get in a tanning bed or on the beach will eventually turn into sunspots. It's just not worth it.
posted by myselfasme at 5:04 PM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Mayo Clinic says most sunless tanners are basically safe, whether done as spray-on or at-home lotions (as long as you keep it away from mucous membranes).

There is no safe level of sun- or tanning-booth-type tanning. (And that's not even to mention how incredibly bad it is for your skin/how you will look in 20-30 years) Make sure that after doing any sort of sunless tanner you are still wearing sunscreen every day.
posted by brainmouse at 5:06 PM on June 8, 2016 [6 favorites]

I have used this Jergens Natural Glow product for the past few years. I usually start off the with Fair to Medium and work up to the Medium to Tan.

Caveats: it does have a very strong smell (which luckily for me doesn't trigger my asthma or migraines), you do have to be very careful about rubbing it in evenly, you do have to be careful about not getting it on your toes or elbows and washing your hands well after using it.

I don't show much skin, so I use it on my lower legs and upper arms mostly.
posted by Squeak Attack at 5:24 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I love spray tans. I only get them on special occasions (e.g. my own wedding), but yeah, they're great! I go to a spa and get a VersaSpa tan and it lasts a week. I find that there are so many Groupons for VersaSpa tans that I never pay full price. The tanning solution goes on clear and darkens over the course of several hours. I get a level 2 tan, which is enough for me, a very pale person, to be tan enough to show up better in photos.

Afterward, your skin may feel somewhat sticky for a few hours. And you should make sure to shower before you go in so that you can put off your next shower until at least 8 hours later. In fact, avoid swimming or working up a sweat for eight hours afterward, I think. Then you're good! You can swim in the ocean for a week before it fades.
posted by Pearl928 at 6:06 PM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah dude, don't tan. I have Vita Liberata self-tanning gradual lotion and I LOVE it for building up a subtle tan on my milky white skin. It goes on clear, so no residue. Not all that messy. Really nice. You might want to do a body exfoliation first.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:14 PM on June 8, 2016

Another vote for the Jergens. Easy to apply, no egregious 90s era Bain de Soliel funk coming off of it, and it colors you gradually instead of showing up burnt orange the next morning.
posted by asockpuppet at 7:15 PM on June 8, 2016

Yet another vote for Jergens Natural Glow; it's very easy to use and forgiving of uneven application. Paula's Choice self-tanners also work well, though they're a bit pricey.

Unfortunately, self-tanners will always cause some smell because of dihydroxyacetone reacting with your skin, and of course, many products themselves contain fragrances. You may need to try a few different brands to see which one works best for your body chemistry and preferences.
posted by neushoorn at 12:03 AM on June 9, 2016

Tanning booths feel nice and they work, but they're not safe. You can end up with pretty serious sunburns from them if you're new to tanning. Also if you are a tattooed person they can be very expensive: I had to have all my tattoos redone due to a year-long fling with tanning booths a while back. The UV light will fade and blur tattoos. These days I use this Nivea self-tanner lotion. It works well, is relatively subtle, and doesn't smell as much as some other brands. Also had to have some pre-cancerous lesions removed from my skin. I won't ever go back to tanning booths; lotion is the way to go.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 7:17 AM on June 9, 2016

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