A Guide to: Tanning

IT seems we’re back in the Bronze Age. Correction: the Bronzing Age. And the sun doesn’t even factor in this new craze – pun intended.

We’re a nation besotted with slathering on the Fake Bake where quantity overpowers quality and we end up looking like we’ve spent the day at a Turkish mud baths. And given that not everyone has been blessed with Hispanic roots and olive skin (grr) it seems fake tan is our only alternative.

If the latest images of Patricia Krentcil aren’t enough to make us embrace a pale and interesting existence, I don’t know what is.

But what’s the obsession? It’s a given that an even skin tone equals a flawless look with fewer imperfections. It also makes us look like we lead lavish lifestyles where we jet off on weekend breaks when really all we’ve done is dash to Bodycare and stocked up on whatever’s BOGOF.

There’s also been the influence of reality TV shows such as TOWIE and Desperate Scousewives where the men, women and even pets are dolled up to the nines looking a shade of terracotta. But we can’t pin all the blame on them really.

Given that not everyone has been blessed with Hispanic roots and olive skin (grr) it seems fake tan is our only alternative…

Sunbeds have been around since 1891, developed by Mr Kellogg nonetheless, ironic really because you end up looking like a cornflake after years of nine-minute sessions. The proof is in the woman dubbed ‘tanning mom’ for allegedly taking her five-year-old daughter to a tanning salon near her home in New Jersey recently. Consequently she’s been banned from several other tanning salons following her growing notoriety. If the latest images of Patricia Krentcil aren’t enough to make us embrace a pale and interesting existence, I don’t know what is.

Unfortunately I have to hold my mitt up and admit I’m a pre-Patricia Krentcil fake tan convert and not quite ready to quit. The sun and I have a tricky relationship, in that I can’t be exposed to it without a coating of factor 50 (minimum) and a large hat. It makes the pursuit of the sun-kissed glow one would expect from a jaunt abroad, practically mission impossible.

On one occasion I chose to tan just my hands which resulted in what could only be compared to carrot hands protruding from my school jumper. Another youthful faux pas was experimenting with my olive-skinned mum’s tan selection, only further emphasising my ruddy complexion and highlighting my amateur tanning skills.

In my older and hopefully wiser years, I’ve found that instant tans can be the most problematic because they’re usually applied using one hand whilst doing your lashes with the other. The solution? St Moriz AKA the budget St Tropez. Simply apply the night before, then a quick shower in the morning leaves you with an enviable glow without the ‘bathed in Bisto’ look. But since I’m still a fake tan newbie, I wouldn’t completely take my word for it.

There are always those tricky bits when tanning, whatever product you use. Elbows/knees/knuckles are guaranteed to be the tell-tale sign when you end up looking like you’ve been digging up the garden a la Titchmarsh. The key? Moisturise the areas before application and use the tan sparingly. Yes sparingly.

Of course, even uttering the word sunbed is considered uncouth what with the risks – and the wrinkles – which means that fake tan is the best alternative? While spray tans seem the safer alternative, they don’t come without their own risks. Spray tans and other self tanning lotions contain dehydroxytone – the thing which makes us bronze – which can be harmful if inhaled. Never mind the vivid dreams and hot flushes you get pre your big night out. All in pursuit of that golden glow *sighs*.

Here’s how to combat any potential tan disasters:

– Shave the day before to avoid any rashes/ tan clogging in pores. You’ve seen how God awful it looks on other girls in the queue to Revos, so take note.

– Exfoliate and moisturise those elephant skin areas, knuckles etc. Remember Gardener’s World is never a look.

– Apply deodorant after application, preferably roll-on unless green underarms are becoming a statement.

– With the gradual types, being liberal is key – allow time to develop, impatience isn’t in fashion when it comes to self-grooming. Otherwise you risk the wrath of the Satsuma, the ultimate self-tan ‘mare.

– Don’t put your best bra and undies on; the pink staining is a buggar to wash out, especially with whites. Perhaps an orange bra…

And as for the potent smell, you’ll have to grin and bear it and blag that it’s definitely your ‘natural’ tan from a long weekend  in the South of France.

Meanwhile I’ll be continuing with my trial and error tanning methodology until St Moriz gets discontinued. Which I’m guessing won’t be anytime soon. The future’s bright, just hopefully not orange.

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About Laura Scott

I'm a 22 year old copywriter working for an ecommerce website based in Manchester.

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