If you want a golden glow this summer without damaging your skin or putting yourself at risk for skin cancer, consider a spray tan. It's an easy, quick way to get some color without baking under the suns brutal rays. While a spray tan can give you a boost of confidence, it won't last very long. Spray tans fade quickly and can become expensive if you make regular appointments. Here are a few ways to stretch out the time your tan lasts.Time it right. If you're looking for that golden glow for a big event like a wedding or a vacation, schedule your spray tan session for one or two days before the big day to give the product time to dry and set in. "It takes 45 minutes to 1 hour to start taking effect, and once you factor in drying time, you could be looking at about 3 hours," says LeAura Luciano, a celebrity makeup artist and style expert in New York City. Shave and exfoliate beforehand to remove dead skin cells. Once developed, the glow can last up to 10 days. Go easy with water. Wait at least 4 hours after a spray tan before showering or swimming. When you get out, lightly pat yourself dry with a towel; don't rub, which can wipe your tan away. And avoid extended periods in hot tubs. "The chlorine may bleach the skin, thus lightening your tan prematurely," Luciano says. If you spend time out in the sun this summer, make sure to wear sunscreen, and check out our sunscreen ratings. Sunburn suffers, try some of our tips for relief.Moisturize. Hydrating your skin keeps a spray tan looking even and helps it last longer. Luciano recommends using a tan-extending moisturizer like Model Co. Tan Extender Self Tan Enhancer ($20) or Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer ($9). "It has both glycerin to moisturize and a low dose of DHA, the main coloring ingredient in spray tan," she says. It's also a good idea to lightly exfoliate your skin about four days after a spray tan treatment to even out any blotchy spots.
Also good to know: the main tanning ingredient, DHA, is only approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use on the outside of your body, so be careful if you use a product that you run the risk of inhaling, and when applying it to sensitive spots, such as around your eyes.
Editor's note: A version of this story first appeared in ShopSmart magazine.
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