Some substances may help you get a better tan
Until the late nineteenth century, porcelain skin was synonymous with nobility and elegance, while golden tanned skin was associated with humble (social and work) class origins.
Nowadays, aesthetic standards have totally reversed and a tanned complexion is often considered synonymous with vitality and beauty.
However, as for everything else, including suntan, it is good practice to avoid excesses, which can have negative effects both on your look and your health.
But why do people want to tan? Besides, is it possible to promote tan in a natural way?
Tanning is a physiological mechanism put in place by our skin to protect itself from UV radiation.
Melanin produced as a result of sun exposure is transferred to the upper layers of the epidermis, groped to “neutralise” the harmful effects of radiation.
The main consequence of this mechanism, visible from the outside, is the change in skin pigmentation, which gets darker.
The intensity of suntan can vary from person to person, depending on the phototype class they belong to (defined by a set of different physical characteristics):
- phototype 1: red or light blond hair, milky white skin with freckles, blue or green eyes;
- phototype 2: blond or light brown hair, fair skin sometimes with freckles, light eyes;
- phtotype 3: medium light complexion though tending to a golden tone, brown hair and brown or light-coloured eyes;
- phototype 4: medium dark skin, dark brown or black hair, brown or dark eyes;
- phototype 5: dark, olive skin, dark eyes, black hair;
- phototype 6: black people, with very dark skin and hair.
In order to get a proper and “healthy” suntan we must first have in mind which skin phototype class we belong to, so as not to create unrealistic expectations and impossible goals.
People belonging to the first two skin phototypes have difficulty getting tanned, they need more time to reach a golden tone and should always use high sunscreen to avoid unpleasant burns.
Diet, supplements and protection: the best combination for a perfect tan
Healthy skin is the first essential requirement for a bright and uniform tan.
Indeed, thinking to get a perfect tan by exposing oneself to the sun and without the necessary protections is wrong (and potentially harmful to health). Each type of skin is different and needs the right times to reach the desired “golden tan”.
Only darker skin phototypes can expose themselves immediately, using lower protective factors (and even in these cases one should be careful, not to encourage the onset of rashes or, even worse, melanomas).
Not to mention the fact that, being too many hours in the sun can cause unpleasant skin burning or cracking, which certainly do not benefit your appearance.
However, there are some rules that apply to everybody, to get a nice and long-lasting tan.
- To better prepare your skin to the sun, you should consume, at least two months prior to sun exposure, a diet rich in beta-carotene, minerals and vitamins A, C and E. Go ahead to carrots, apricots, melons etc. Beta-carotene, contained in certain foods, is indeed a precursor of vitamin A, very useful for combating oxidative stress.
- Drink at least 2 litres of water a day, to prevent excessive dehydration. Hydration is a key requirement to combat skin cracking and get a brighter tan.
- Expose yourself gradually and always with sun protection products most suitable to your skin type. Better a mild and gradual browning, than a “lobster” effect resulting in a nasty burn.
- The use of specific supplements can be extra help, to ensure all the useful nutrients and vitamins, especially in case of an improper diet. The most suitable natural supplements to “prepare your skin to sun exposure” are those containing herbs and nutrients useful for counteracting oxidative stress caused by UV rays (such as grape seeds, green tea, acerola, marigold, dog rose, manganese, zinc, copper, selenium and vitamins B2, C and E). A synergistic action (and therefore greater efficacy) can be guaranteed by the presence of copper, useful for promoting skin pigmentation, as well as iodine, zinc and vitamins A, B2, B3 and C, which promote skin wellness.
After helping the body from the inside to defend itself from UV rays, using proper sunscreens will facilitate obtaining a “sun-kissed skin” effect.