Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Bronzers and Self-Tanners: Getting a Safe Glow June 23, 2011

Any kind of tan a sign of damage to your skin.  There is no such thing as a safe tan – period.  So what do you do if you want a glow or a tan during the summer or even year round?  Time to break out the bronzer and self tanner.   Last year I wrote a post, The Only Way to Tan: Fake It, with lots of references on how to get a great fake tan.  This year I’m updating that information so that hopefully everyone can find a great self-tanning or bronzer product for themselves.


If you want to start off faking your tan a little bit at a time try a bronzer.  When you use bronzer on your face you control how much product is applied so you can decide just how sun-kissed you want to look.  Bronzer comes in a few different formulas.  Though powder bronzer is great for someone with normal to oily skin since it helps to create a matte finish it really powder bronzer can be used on any skin type since it blends so easily.  You can use powder bronzer on your temples, cheeks, and bridge of the nose; also blend a little down your neck and onto your chest.  Remember to blend well with a big fluffy powder brush so it looks natural.  Cream bronzer is good for someone with normal to dry skin since it leaves the skin with a luminescence that might be too much for skin that already has a shine to it.  Because of the bit of shine that cream bronzer usually has don’t put it on the bridge of your nose.  Instead stick to applying it to your temples and cheekbones.  Finally if you choose a gel or serum bronzer these formulas are light enough to be applied all over your face and down your neck. 

The above illustration is a perfect example of how you can look with the proper application of bronzer.  Here are two simple lessons to help you master applying bronzer:  Blushing Bronze: All-Over Glow Technique and  Blushing Bronze: Burn Technique.  Allure also offers up: How to Avoid the Biggest Bronzer Mistakes, Get the Perfect Glow, and even a video on how to apply bronzer with fabulous tips.




I’ll admit that I am can be intimidated by most self-tanners.  I pretty much only feel comfortable letting a professional give me a spray tan or with using a gradual self-tanner like Jergens.  But I am here to say that in this respect – please don’t be like me.  There are so many self-tanning products on the market – everyone should give self-tanning a try at least once.  Proper self-tanning does require a few extra steps such as making sure you’ve properly exfoliated (make your own exfoliator by mixing household sugar and olive oil) and moisturized before applying the product.  Plus you need to make sure that you apply the product everywhere you want it, including the tops on your feet for example, but not places you don’t, like your palms.  (Read Cat’s post YES, YOU PROBABLY COULD BE BETTER-LOOKING: This Self-Tanner Changed My Life!  from xoJane for some self-tanner tips)

Now that you’ve decided to take the self-tanning plunge which product should you choose.  For that decision I suggest turning to my favorite beauty magazine Allure and their article The Top 8 Idiot-Proof Self Tanners for help.

One of the newest ways to apply self-tanner at home is with an airbrush system; you become your own spray tan tech.  This is quick and clean way to apply your self-tanner for a natural glow.  I’ve heard of two systems: Luminess Tan and Temptu Summer Skin.  If anyone has tried either of these system I would love to hear how the experience was.


So once again – there is no such thing as a safe tan but there is also no reason to remain pale all through the summer if you don’t want to.  Get out your bronzer and blend away or slather yourself down with self-tanner!  Just remember get a safe glow this summer.


An End To Tanning Salons? April 5, 2010

There is no such thing as a healthy tan, and going to a tanning salon and using a tanning bed is one of the worst things that you can do to yourself since there is a direct link between tanning beds and skin cancer.  Unfortunately up until now physicians, estheticians, skin cancer survivors, and concerned citizens have had little support from the government when it came to educating and warning the public about the extreme hazards of tanning salonsand tanning beds.  Until now the FDA has classified tanning salons as Class I medical devices which means the FDA considers them to “present minimal potential for harm to the user.”  Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Luckily, it seems that the FDA is going to upgrade their classification of tanning salons.  On March 25th the General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Medical Devices Advisory Committee met and unanimously decided that the FDA must change its classification of tanning beds and tanning salons.  Just what that new classification will look like is unclear.  According to The Skin Cancer Foundation:

The Panel unanimously concluded that this classification was not appropriate, with some Panel members favoring a designation of Class II with restrictions (“special controls”) to limit access by age, and/or skin type. Others thought tanning devices should be upgraded to Class III (the most strictly regulated category), but they acknowledged that the latter reclassification would be difficult to implement.The majority of the Panel was in favor of an age restriction to limit minors’ access to UV tanning devices, although some members preferred a parental consent option.

The Panel also approved of more disclosure to users — and better placement of labels warning users about the risks of UV tanning. While the FDA requires tanning beds to include instructions for the use of protective eyewear and a warning label about the potential for eye and skin damage, as Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro noted in a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, “In most cases the labels are located on the upper canopy [of the tanning bed], and out of sight of consumers prior to tanning.” The Panel also paid special attention to the possibility of eye damage from tanning devices, and discussed stronger protective eyewear requirements.

While the FDA is deciding just how the new regulations will look the American Academy of Dermatology Association asked the FDA to enforce the following restrictions when it comes to tanning beds: 

  1. Prohibiting access to indoor tanning for minors (under 18 years old)
  2. Educating all indoor tanning customers about the skin cancer risks and requiring their informed consent
  3. Implementing and enforcing labeling recommendations outlined in the Tanning Accountability and Notification (TAN) Act
  4. Encouraging enforcement of state regulations

The American Academy of Dermatology also supports the newly passed indoor tanning tax since it will hopefully discourage individuals from using tanning beds and tanning salons.

Hopefully sooner than later the FDA will change their classification of tanning beds.  Hopefully sooner than later people will come to their senses and stop using tanning beds!

Sources and Further Reading



There Is Nothing Wrong with a Fake Tan


If you love the way you look with a tan there are plenty of ways to achieve that look without exposing yourself to the risk of skin cancer.  There are so many self-tanners and bronzers on the market that anyone can find a product that they like.


%d bloggers like this: