Category Archives for "Skin Care"

Atopic Dermatitis: Eczema in Children

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis(eczema) is a chronic and very common skin condition, that is thought to be a type of skin allergy or severe sensitivity. Other chronic diseases that may be present in sufferers of atopic dermatitis are asthma and hay fever. There are known to be genetic factors at play in atopic dermatitis, as the disease has a hereditary component, and certain families have higher incidence of this skin disease than others do.

Atopic dermatitis is characterized by dry, itchy skin with inflamed red rash. In fact, the very meaning of the word “dermatitis” refers to inflammation of the skin. “Atopic” refers to the hereditary component of the disease, and to the fact that the disease is often present in conjunction with others, such as the asthma and hay fever mentioned earlier.

​In atopic dermatitis, more commonly known as eczema, the skin is extremely inflamed, often to the point of cracking and weeping, then forming crusts. Typically, those with eczema has extremely dry skin which contributes to the formation of the itchy and painful rashes.

​Most commonly, atopic dermatitis is present in very young children and infants. Eczema often follows periods of flare-ups and subsequent remission. As they grow up, many children affected by atopic dermatitis enter into complete remission, although the sensitivity and dryness of their skin may persist.

​Triggers for atopic dermatitis may include seasonal allergies due to plant pollens, use of harsh soaps or changing laundry detergents, introduction of new skin care products such as lotions. Cold weather is also known to trigger atopic dermatitis. Food allergies or exposure to animal dander can also trigger flare-ups of the disorder.

​The best strategy to help deal with the effects of atopic dermatitis is a very simple skin care regimen. Once a mild soap (or non-soap cleanser, depending on a physician’s recommendations) and moisturizer are found to be well-tolerated, other products should not be used. Frequently changing soaps and lotions may expose atopic dermatitis sufferers to fragrances and irritating ingredients which can cause itching, weeping and crusting of the skin.

​Long hot baths or showers should be avoided by persons with atopic dermatitis, as they can further dry the skin. One bathing is complete, air-drying the skin, or at the very least, avoidance of briskly toweling off the skin is recommended.

​Applying a recommended moisturizer within a few minutes of the completion of bathing helps to lock moisture into the skin, and prevents further skin dryness, which in turn leads to irritation. Creams are recommended for moisturizers over lotions, as the latter may contain drying or irritating alcohol content.

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis

​In extreme cases, tar-based preparations are used to heal extremely dry skin. In any case, careful attention should be taken to avoid moisturizers that are fragrance-free to avoid skin irritation.

​Use of antihistamines to alleviate itchiness may be required as well. Keeping the child’s nails very short will lessen the damage caused by constant scratching. This is very important, as constant scratching may lead to skin infections.

​Over-the-counter corticosteroids in cream or ointment form can help with severe itching, but they do come with side effects with constant use such as thinning of the skin, the stunting of growth in young children as well as infections.

​Newer prescription medication for atopic dermatitis in the form of topical creams called Protopic (Tracromlimus) and Elidel (pimecromlimus) is available. These creams can provide significant relief for suffers of atopic dermatitis, but there are concerns surrounding their use, as they are immune modulator drugs, and suppress the immune system. However, they do not cause the severe thinning of the skin as corticosteroids do.

​Other forms of treatment for atopic dermatitis includes light therapy with a machine that emits UV A or B waves, or a combination of both types of UV light. This can be quite effective for treatment of mild to moderate cases of atopic dermatitis. In more advanced cases, the UV light treatment is combined with a drug called psoralen. Physician’s carefully monitor the effects of phototherapy, and seek out the minimum amount of UV exposure that is effective for treatment.

​In extremely severe cases of atopic dermatitis, oral or injected corticosteroids are prescribed. Because of the notable side-effects of this class of drugs, they are only administered for very short periods of time.

​Systemic corticosteroids may cause thinning of bones, long-term skin damage, and even high-blood pressure, so long-term use is not recommended. Patients must be very carefully monitored for side effects, and it is important to follow physician instructions to the letter, and not suddenly discontinue the medication.

What is Acne Rosacea?

Acne Rosacea

Acne rosacea is a common skin condition where an individual displays a constant red flushing on their skin, often accompanied by pimple-like lesions known as papules and pustules. This condition is believed to affect 45 million individuals worldwide.

The majority of individuals who have rosacea are Caucasian, very often of Celtic descent and have very fair skin. The major symptoms of rosacea are as follows: small broken blood vessels known as telangiectasias appear on the surface of the skin, red or pinkish blotches on the skin, especially on nose, chin and forehead, and even eyes that are persistently red.

​Many people who suffer from rosacea are not even aware that their condition is eminently treatable. These individuals may just think that they blush easily, or get flushed often, or are just hyper-sensitive to the sun.

​Although rosacea is a very treatable skin condition, it is considered non-curable, and has periods of flareups and remissions. Unlike the acne present in adolescence, victims of acne rosacea do not outgrow their condition.

​If you have acne rosacea, you are in good company. President Bill Clinton has rosacea, and the famous “whiskey-nose” of actor W.C. Fields was also attributable to rosacea.

Solution to Acne Rosacea

​Not Contagious

Rosacea is not spread from person-to-person. Touching or kissing a person with rosacea will not spread rosacea by contact. It may be due to a genetically-triggered auto-immune response that is not well-understood.

Acne rosacea, despite its name, is not the same condition as regular acne, although the two conditions may co-exist. Acne rosacea is sometimes referred to as “adult acne”.

​Who Gets Acne Rosacea?

Rosacea primarily affects adults from ages 30-50 years of age. Unlike garden variety acne, typical whiteheads and blackheads are not a feature of acne rosacea. Acne rosacea is characterized by small, hard red bumps that cannot be “popped” or squeezed like a regular pimple would be. If you tried to squeeze a rosacea pimple, nothing but a tiny amount of clear fluid would be expelled from the lesion. Even extraction by a professional will make no difference, as it will not clear up acne rosacea.

Typical sufferers of regular acne do not have the persistent rosiness of the skin present in acne rosacea sufferers.

​Acne rosacea can strike both men and women; women are afflicted more frequently, but men are afflicted more severely.

​Children rarely have the condition, nor do darker ethnic skin tones.

What are the Causes of Acne Rosacea?

Acne rosacea appears to be somewhat hereditary in nature, but there are many suspected causes. A few of these suspected causes are: A skin mite that lives in the hair follicles called Demodex folliculorum; the same bacteria that causes stomach ulcers, H. pylori; gastrointestinal issues and medications that cause blood vessels to dilate.

Acne rosacea also has some well-known triggers that cause increased flare-ups. Emotional stresses such as anxiety and embarrassment may trigger the flushing response associated with rosacea.

​Weather can also be a factor, as rosacea prone-skin responds negatively to cold winds, as well as excessive heat and humidity. Excessive sun exposure is also associated with acne rosacea.

​Other documented triggers include alcohol consumption (red wine is particularly bad), spicy foods like chilis, and curries, and even exercise as it dilates the blood vessels.

acne face

How is Acne Rosacea Diagnosed?

Usually, there are no invasive tests needed to diagnose acne rosacea; however, a small skin biopsy is occasionally required. Examination under a Wood’s lamp can rule out skin conditions that appear similar on the surface, such as dermatitis. A scraping and culture of the affected individual’s skin cells can reveal other causes of the patient’s skin redness, such as staff infections.

Many times, an experienced dermatologist can diagnose rosacea by examination alone.

Acne Rosacea Treatments

The type of treatment chosen by a physician depends on the severity of the case of acne rosacea. There are a number of physician-prescribed treatments available, including antibiotics, topical creams and gels, laser treatments, and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments. The condition generally does not improve on its own.

Severe cases may require a multi-pronged approach to bring it under control. For example, a patient with severe acne rosacea may take oral antibiotics as well as be prescribed a topical antibiotic cream in addition to being required to wash twice-daily with a special sulfa-based wash. Treatment with lasers or IPL may also be required in addition to the antibiotic regimen.

​Milder acne rosacea can often be controlled with topical creams such as Metrogel (metronidazole) or Finacea (azelaic acid). These are applied once or twice daily after washing. Both of these topical treatments treat the redness and facial bumps present with acne rosacea.

​Certain patients have noticed marked improvements after alternating treatment with these medications, using one in the morning and the other in the evening. Klaron lotion (sodium sulfacetamide) can be used in conjunction with these treatments to help control and reduce inflammation.

​For those whose acne rosacea has progressed to the moderate level, oral antibiotics often become part of their treatment regimen. The most common antibiotics prescribed for acne rosacea include tetracycline; doxycycline in a lower-dose formulation called Oracea and amoxicillin. Of course, taking antibiotics often come with side-effects such as gastrointestinal upsets and trigger yeast infections.

​If the inflammation caused by acne rosacea is severe, a short cycle of a low-dose steroid may be prescribed. The risk with long-term use is that it can actually make acne rosacea symptoms worse.

​A seldom-used treatment is Accutane, more commonly prescribed for severe acne. It is a drug of last-resort for acne rosacea, as its side-effects can be severe, and often of little benefit. The side effects from this drug are very serious, as it is a known teratogen (causes horrific birth defects).

​It can also cause liver-damage, and constant monitoring by a physician when on Accutane is required. As well, Accutane can cause extreme sensitivity to sun exposure, so careful consideration is needed before beginning this course of treatment.

​A newer development in the treatment of acne rosacea is laser and IPL treatments to control redness and diminish the appearance of blood vessels on the skin’s surface. These treatments can often visibly improve the appearance of skin affected by acne rosacea, however they can be uncomfortable, and are seldom covered by insurance. Usually, several treatment sessions are required to see improvement.

​It does go without saying that one of the key elements of treating rosacea is sun protection. Daily use of a high SPF sunscreen is imperative to control rosacea flareups.

Good Personal Skin Care is a Daily Routine

Personal Skin Care

Everyone knows the importance of good personal black skin care; however, not everyone agrees on what that really means. Opinions vary wildly on what constitutes “best practices” when it comes to a skin care routine.

Certain individuals swear that they cannot live without the professional facials and treatments performed by a licensed cosmetician.

Others are much more casual in their approach to skin care, and get by with applying a product now and then as they feel their skin requires it.

In contrast to this casual approach to skin care, there are others that are consumed with purchasing the latest development in skin care creams or lotions “guaranteed” to make their skin look fresher, lovelier, and acne and/or wrinkle-free.

But personal skin care does not have to be overly complicated nor overly expensive to be effective.

skin care

Mainly, good personal skin care consists of finding products that work with, not against, your skin type, and following a daily regimen of application.

Before selecting a skin care line, you should closely examine the characteristics of your skin to determine the best choices for products. Is your skin oily and acne prone? Is is dry and tight? Are you concerned about the fine lines that are showing up with alarming regularity? You need to think about all of these factors before making your trip to the store.

To follow is a skin care routine that will work for individuals with normal skin types.

Cleansing is the first thing on the agenda for normal skin types. Cleansers consist of three main ingredients: oils, waters and surfactants, which act as wetting agents that make cleansers more effective at removing surface impurities. The oil and surfactants in cleansers help extract dirt from the pores and enable them to be easily rinsed away.

You may have to try a few different cleansers to find one that works effectively to remove dirt and make-up without over-drying your skin.

A soap-free cleanser is a must because soap has a tendency to dry out the skin too much, which can lead to a flaking and dull complexion.

Best Natural Skin Care

Always follow a cleanser with plenty of splashes of luke-warm water to remove all traces of cleanser and impurities from the skin’s surface.

Twice-daily cleansing of skin is more than adequate. Too frequent cleansing can lead to dryness and damage.

The next step in a routine for normal skin is exfoliation. Skin renews itself in a cycle where older skin cells are pushed to the surface of the skin and are replaced by new skin cells.

Exfoliation removes old, dead skin cells and hastens the renewal process of the skin. Removing the dead skin cells increases the skin’s receptiveness to the ingredients in skin care products and keeps the complexion from looking grey and tired.

After cleansing the skin, an exfoliant cream or lotion is applied in a circular motion to remove dead skin cells. It is not necessary to exfoliate every day, particularly if you have a tendency towards dry skin.

Once or twice a week to exfoliate is plenty; but oilier skin types can withstand more frequent exfoliation that should not exceed four times per week. You may find that hot and humid conditions make your skin oilier than normal, so more frequent exfoliation than normal may be necessary.

A very important aspect of a personal skin care routine is the use of a good moisturizer. Even those individuals with oily complexions benefit from the daily use of a water-based moisturizer.

Moisturizers seal moisture into the skin cells, and also attract moisture from the environment to keep the skin looking fresh and healthy. But too liberal applications of moisturizers can clog pores and lead to breakouts.

If you are applying so much moisturizer that it cannot be rapidly absorbed by the skin, you need to use much less. Typically, you should be able to judge the effects of any moisturizer after using it exclusively and consistently for a week’s time.

It is always more beneficial to apply moisturizer to skin which is still damp after cleansing to lock more moisture into the skin cells.

An often-overlooked, yet critical aspect of skin care is daily use of a sunscreen to protect the skin from the aging and damaging effects of the UV rays in sunlight.

Many moisturizers come with built-in sunscreens to help you skip applying sunscreen in a separate step. It is important to use a sunscreen on a daily basis, whether or not the sky is sunny, or whether or not it is summer or winter.

Knowing your skin’s characteristics will help you to determine the right products for you. Using these products routinely and consistently can lead to skin with a younger, more even appearance.

If you are finding that no matter what skin care product line you choose that you have persistent acne breakouts, rashes or redness, consult a dermatologist to see if you have an underlying skin disorder that needs to be addressed.

Facial Skin Care

Facial Skin Care

Good facial skin care is a matter of creating a regimen to address your skin care needs and being consistent in using it. Once you get into a routine of facial skin care, you will notice an improvement of the texture and tone of your skin.

​So what does and effective facial skin care program consist of?

​An effective facial skin care routine consists of just four steps:

  • Cleansing of the skin
  • Applying a toner
  • ​Exfoliation to clear dead skin cells
  • Moisturization to keep skin healthy and avoid dryness

Using a cleanser is important because it removes environmental contaminants such as dust and pollutants as well as excess oil and sebum produced by the skin itself that can cause breakouts. A good cleansing lotion or cream avoids the dryness and tightness produced by soaps, and is applied by massaging gently into the skin with upward strokes.

After massaging well, remove the cleanser by using a soft tissue or cotton ball and splashing the face with warm water to remove all impurities.

For optimum results, the skin should be cleansed in this matter twice daily: once in the morning to keep skin feeling healthy and refreshed and again at night to remove make-up and dirt and oil that accumulates on the face over the course of the day. Cleansers that are water soluble are the best choice, as they rinse away easily.

The next step in a total facial skin care routine is toning. There is debate on whether or not this step is actually necessary. Good cleansing practices and rinsing well afterwards can accomplish much of the effects of a toner.

Radiant Skin Care

The idea behind using a toner is to remove all traces of dirt and oil left on the skin that was missed by the cleanser and to give the skin an invigorating feel. Many people choose to forgo daily toning, since toners may have drying ingredients, and instead choose to use it only when they have been exposed to especially dusty, or pollution-filled conditions.

Exfoliation is not usually necessary on a daily basis, as too frequently exfoliating the skin can lead to irritation. Exfoliation is recommended to be performed once or twice weekly. As the skin cells turn over, old dead skin cells are pushed to the surface of the skin which can lead to a drab and dull appearance, as well as can lead to blocked pores.

Exfoliation removes these dead skin cells, and reveals fresher skin cells, leading to a brighter, more even-looking complexion. Avoid exfoliating excessively or using very harsh exfoliants, as this can make the appearance of the skin look worse, as well as damage delicate facial skin.

The last, and perhaps most important step, in a facial skin care regimen is moisturizing. Moisturizers prevent the skin from feeling taut and prevent the flaking associated with dry skin.

The type of moisturizer that is best for your skin type must be considered. Those with acne-prone skin should use a water-based moisturizer to avoid further clogging pores, while more mature skin with a tendency towards dryness may wish to use a heavier cream that holds moisture in the skin better.

Some moisturizers contain acne-fighting ingredients, while others have ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids to fight the fine lines associated with aging. Particularly with dry skin, moisturizers with a heavier consistency applied at night can be very effective in keeping the skin in optimal condition.

The best way to apply a moisturizer is to apply it on freshly cleansed skin with light upward strokes and massaged in lightly until all traces of the moisturizer disappear.

When considering a facial skin care line, pay close attention to your skin type. A great skin care line for youthful, more oily complexions may be the wrong one for aging skin and vice versa.

​Also remember that price is no indication of the effectiveness of a skin care product. Many drugstore lines have the exact same ingredients as their most costly department store rivals.

​Particularly if you have very sensitive skin, it is advisable to test new skin care lines by performing a patch test to make sure that you have no adverse reaction to any of the ingredients in the product.

​Apply a small amount of the product to the inside of the elbow, or behind the ear and leave it for 24 hours. It there is no reaction, it is safe to use the product.

​Don’t forget, that for all skin types, that daily use of a sunscreen lotion prevents damage and aging caused by exposure to the sun.

Treatment for Acne

Acne Treatment

Treatment for acne is not a simple thing to tackle, as different skin types and the age of the patient make for varying treatment options. But treating acne effectively isn’t anything that should be put off, as acne seldom gets better all on its own.There is certainly no shortage of skin care products made specially for acne available.

In general, there are three treatment for acne categories in skin care products: 1) Preventative acne care products 2) OTC products specially made to fight acne 3) Prescription-based treatments for acne. Preventative treatments for acne include cleansers and make-up removers that keep pores from getting clogged and forming blackheads.

Really, these products are already likely part of your skin care regimen whether or not you have acne-prone skin.

OTC treatments for acne help to fight the bacteria that causes acne and heal the skin. The goal of these products is to limit the amount of pore-clogging sebum on the skin. This type of treatment for acne aims to prevent the excess oil and sebum from being trapped in the pores of the skin that leads to bacterial infection. Exfoliants and mild peels form part of this arsenal against acne, as their purpose is to remove the dead skin cells which clog pores and attract bacteria.

Many treatments for acne include benzoyl peroxide and/or salicylic acid which are highly effective for eradicating the acne-causing bacteria. Don’t be tempted to find the treatment for acne that has the highest possible concentration of benzoyl peroxide, as it has the potential to irritate the skin and cause dryness and flaking.

Treatment for Acne

A product with a 5% concentration is high enough to get started treating stubborn acne without the above mentioned side effects. Products which contain alpha-hydroxy acid are also well known for their benefits at fighting acne, as well as signs of aging skin. You might have to test a few different brands of these products before you find one that is well-tolerated by your skin, as well as helps clear your acne.

In the most severe cases of acne, a dermatologist should be consulted as acne may cause long-lasting and deep scarring if left unchecked. A dermatologist may prescribe a course of oral antibiotics as well as topical treatments to clear up your acne problem. For the most severe cases of acne, a powerful prescription drug called Accutane may be prescribed. Patients must be monitored very closely, as this drug may cause liver damage.

Female patients must use two methods of birth control when using Accutane, as it it a tetragen that can cause severe and debilitating birth defects. This is why milder treatments for acne are always tried first before a trial of Accutane is begun.

A qualified dermatologist may also choose to evacuate the contents of large cysts by a minor surgical procedure. Never try this at home, as picking and squeezing blemishes can lead to spreading the bacterial infection that causes acne into other areas of the skin, thus worsening your acne.

In women, acne is often related to hormonal imbalances, so taking birth control pills often helps with clearing acne-prone skin, especially if the acne worsens around the time of the menstrual period.

So, start with a good skin cleanser and moisturizer and get into a routine of cleansing and moisturizing day and night. If acne is a problem for you, start with an OTC treatment for acne containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. If no relief from your acne condition is obtained after initiating a careful skin care regimen of cleansing, moisturizing and treating your acne with OTC products, make sure to consult with a dermatologist right away. Delaying seeking treatment can cause scarring and loss of self-esteem.

Retin A and Retinol for Anti Aging

anti aging

Retinol, also known as tretinoin, is a derivative of vitamin A that is a potent enemy of both acne and wrinkles. Studies have shown that the retinoic acid that is a major ingredient in retinol promotes the production of collagen, which helps plump out wrinkles and add some volume back into the aging face.

Another huge bonus of using retinol is that it protects skin from the damage caused by the enzyme collagenase, which breaks down the collagen layer of the skin in the presence of sunlight.

Within a few months of daily use of prescription Retin A, the skin begins to fill out lines and age spots begin to vanish. Individuals from any age group can benefit from using Retin A; however, most who use it tend to be in the 40-50 age group.

Retinol for Anti Aging

Retin A use is not all full of sunshine and flowers, though. Many individuals using retinol, particulary when beginning treatment with the product, experience quite a bit of irritation, including redness, peeling and persistent dryness.

You must persevere if you decide to use Retin A for anti aging skin care, as results typically are not seen before two-to-four months’ time has passed. Treatment is for a lifetime as well: if you stop using retinol, those lines and wrinkles that had vanished with its use will re-appear, along with the age spots that you thought were gone for good.

If you decide to go a slightly less-harsh route for anti aging skin care, there are many skin care lines that offer retinol, which is also a milder vitamin A derivative, as an ingredient. As the concentration of the retinoic acid in these products is lower than that of the prescription Retin A, they will definitely provide some benefits, albeit not as dramatic as prescription Retin A may be.

As well, this OTC version of retinoic acid is less irritating to the skin. Even gentler-still are even milder derivatives of vitamin A such as retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate and retinyl linoleate that are featured in some skin care lines.

Skin care products containing retinol, whether they are prescription-based or OTC should be protected from exposure to light and air, as these break down the active ingredients in retinol.

Some have called for skin care lines to begin printing the concentration of retinol contained in their products right on their labels, but many manufacturers have decided not to do this. This is because many individuals would automatically purchase the product with the highest concentration of retinol, without a thought as to the side-effect that may occur.

Retinol, like Retin A, may take careful building up to full dosage in order to avoid skin irritation, so merely reaching for the most powerful product is not always in your best interest.

Skin care lines that contain retinol and derivatives include Olay Professional Pro-X, Vichy, RoC, L’Oreal Paris, and Dermaglow, so look for these names in your local drug and department stores if you are interested in filling out lines and plumping up the look of your skin.

Skin Care Tips for Men

Skin Care Tips For Men in Summer

Skin care tips for men would have been blasphemy only a few short years’ ago. I mean, what self-respecting macho guy would admit to using skin care products? But men are slowly coming around on this score, and realizing that it doesn’t make you a “girly man” to want to have nice, healthy and blemish free skin.

The basic principles of good skin care are just as applicable to men as they are to women, although men’s skin is biologically different than women’s skin is. A skin care routine for men starts with cleansing, just like it does for women.

As a typical man has oilier skin than most women do, a water-based cleanser is important so as not to add additional oils to the skin. Using a good cleanser helps to remove grime, dirt and pollution that can clog the pores and cause breakouts. This step should be ideally done both morning and night.

Skin Care Tips for Men

An important point in talking about skin care tips for men is shaving. Quality shaving products make the job much easier and more pleasant. When selecting shaving creams/gels, and after shave, the individual’s skin type should be considered.

Many men have sensitive skin that is irritated by shaving, so selecting shaving products geared towards sensitive skin types is a must. Especially for those with sensitive skin, the use of alcohol-based after shave should be avoided to prevent stinging and irritation of the skin.

Don’t skimp out on your razor, either. Many men prefer a razor with a pivoting head, as they reduce nicks and cuts. Poor quality blades dull quickly, and make you prone to nicks. Don’t use a lot of pressure when shaving; let the razor do the work by using a smooth and gentle action. Remember, you are only trying to remove hair, not your skin!

Men’s skin is usually thicker and oilier than that of most women due to the fact that their pores are larger, and they have sebaceous glands that are more active. Even with this thicker skin, men’s skin can get easily dehydrated from shaving. Because of this, a moisturizer formulated for men’s skin should be part of their grooming routine. You can find moisturizers for men in both gel and cream formulations to be applied after shaving. As well, some shaving gels contain built-in moisturizers.

Another key part of a man’s skin care routine should be daily use of a sunscreen to protect against the aging and damaging effect of UV rays. To simplify matters, there are moisturizers for men available with built-in sunscreen.

Many excellent skin care products for men include natural ingredients such as aloe vera, jojoba oil and coconut. For those who are blemish-prone, skin care products for men that contain Tea Tree Oil, which is a natural anti-septic are a great option.

So, great skin care for men doesn’t have to be overly time-consuming or expensive. Just a few minutes everyday will ensure that your skin is healthy, well-hydrated and soothed.

Apply Self Tanners the Right Way

omag self tanners

The best tanning lotions to give you that golden glow without paying the price to your skin that sun or tanning bed exposure takes contain an ingredient called DHA (dihyrdoxyacteone) as their active ingredient. DHA is actually a type of sugar that reacts with the outermost layer of dead skin cells to cause changes in the skin color. The effects of a self (sunless) tanner typically last about a week after being applied.

​The short-lived lifespan of a tan brought about by these tanning lotions is because of the constant sloughing off of dead skin cells. As the skin cells are shed, so is the “sunless tan.” Because of this, it is recommended that even the best tanning lotions be reapplied every three days if you want to maintain that summer glow.

Self Tanners

​One major drawback to using self tanning lotions is that they may have a very strong and unpleasant odor, especially from the less expensive brands. This is definitely not to say that these product are not effective; in fact, many of these brands were rated just as effective as more expensive tanning products.

​Application of self tanners can be a little tricky. Always remember that it takes several hours for these products to bring your skin to the darkest level after application, so don’t make the mistake of reapplying too soon. Self tanners can take up to 12 hours to reach their full effect, so avoid reapplying any sooner than that if you feel that you are not dark enough.

​Be realistic. Look for self tanner’s geared towards your skin’s natural tone. If you are very fair skinned, look for products formulated for your skin type. Slathering on a “dark” self tanning product can make you look like an orange colored alien.

​A good practice is to exfoliate your skin before applying your self tanner. This is to prolong the life of your sunless tan, as the oldest skin cells are shed first. Exfoliation brings newer skin cells to the surface of the skin by removing the older ones, so your tan will have a bit longer lifespan.

​Don’t use excessive amounts of product. If you are new to sunless tanning, start out with a small amount to get the most even application, and avoid streaks.

​Avoid swimming, bathing, exercising or rubbing your skin with other types of lotions for a minimum of three hours after you apply self tanner for maximum results.

​Refrain from using last year’s bottle of tanning lotion. Once the DHA in tanning products is exposed to the air, it quickly degrades.

​Another good practice for applying self tanners is to wear a pair of disposable gloves, or at least wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to avoid unnatural looking tanned palms.

​For best results, make sure that you apply self tanner in a circular, rather than an up-and-down vertical fashion.

​To make your self tanner glide on smoothly, apply a thin coat of ordinary body lotion, taking special care to moisturize the elbows and knees extra well. Any excess body lotion may be simply tissued off.

​A tip is to avoid the elbows and knees on initial application of self tanner. Wait a few minutes after applying the tanning product to the other areas you are tanning, then do the knees and elbows last. Be sure to wipe off any excess, as you don’t want your knees and elbows darker than the rest of your body.