Forget dangerous sun worshipping and tanning booths. Sunless tanning products are better than ever with streak-proof varieties. They come in lotion, cream, gel, and spray form. With the active ingredient dihydroxyacetone (DHA), dead skin cells are safely coated with color. The tint disappears when the cells are either washed off or sloughed off. Some cautions:
- Find the right sunless tanning product for you. Since some self-tanners can turn some skin orange, test the product first in a small area of your body.
- Self-tanning preparations do not necessarily contain sunscreen. Read labels carefully. The FDA requires tanning products without sunscreen to contain a warning statement indicating it does not protect against sunburn.
- Stay way from "tanning pills." They are not approved by the FDA and may cause unwanted side effects such as eye discoloration.
Smooth, Radiant Summer Skin
Which skin care products work best? It depends on your skin type, says Leslie Baumann, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist, and author of The Skin Type Solution. In her book, she classifies skin as dry or oily, sensitive or resistant, pigmented or nonpigmented, and wrinkled or tight. Mixing up the four options yields 16 different combinations such as the dry, resistant, pigmented, wrinkled type (DRPW), and the dry, sensitive, pigmented, wrinkled type (DSPW). Different skin types call for different treatments.
Oily skin. You don't have to use a cream or moisturizer, says Baumann. In fact, she recommends products with salicylic acid such as Neutrogena Oil-FreeWash or Skin Medica Acne Toner with Tea Tree Oil and Salicylic Acid. Benzoyl peroxide is also ideal for people with sensitive and acne-prone skin. Recommended products include PanOxyl Bar 5% and Proactiv Repairing Solution.
Dry skin. Look for barrier repair creams or moisturizers that contain cholesterol, ceramides, and fatty acids. Examples include Dove Sensitive Essentials, CeraVe, and Atopalm. Avoid foaming detergents and soaps as they can strip your skin of necessary lipids.
Sensitive skin. Anti-inflammatory ingredients work best for you. Try chamomile, the licorice extract licochalcone (Eucerin Redness Relief products), cucumber, feverfew (Aveeno Ultra Calming line), quadrinone (Cutanix), salicylic acid, and selenium (Thermal Spring Water).
Resistant skin. You can apply any kind of skin care products without trouble since your skin has a solid skin barrier that protects deeper skin layers from allergens and irritating substances. However, many products may not work as well because they are not able to penetrate your skin.
Pigmented skin. Solutions that contain hydroquinone (EpiQuin Micro or Tri-Luma), kojic acid (Kojic), arbutin (PCA Skin pHaze 23 A &C Synergy Serum), Tyrostat, and mulberry extract (DDF Intensive Holistic Lightener) can improve dark spots. Vitamin C and retinoids work, too, particularly if you are also the oily/dry, resistant, pigmented, and wrinkled type.
Wrinkled skin. Use prescription retinoid and antioxidants such as idebenone (Prevage), ferulic acid (SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic), and vitamin C (Active C). Oral antioxidants such as Polypodium leucotomos extract (Heliocare) and pomegranate (Murad Pomphenol Sunguard Supplement) are also recommended.