By Ivy Potter, Bronze Sol
It is a fact that hydrated, well-moisturized skin tans better and holds a sunless glow longer. It is also true that skin comes in different types and the need for each skin type can change seasonally. There are seemingly endless options available to quench your skin’s thirst and create the ultimate sunless canvas. Navigating confusing marketing claims and finding a product that meets your skin’s needs and doesn’t damage your spray tan is overwhelming. Take the mystery out of moisturizing with these conditioning basics!
There are three main types of skin lubricants. First up is humectants, which draw in moisture from the lower layers of the skin. Ingredients like aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin attract moisture, filling skin cells with hydration. Humectants are ideal for sunless tanning, as they create hydration highways, allowing for deeper and more even absorption of sunless solution.
Next up are emollients. These natural and synthetic oils fill the spaces between the skin cells leaving the skin smooth and supple. Emollients include ingredients like shea and cocoa butters, grapeseed and hemp oils, as well as fatty acids like jojoba and coconut oils. Emollients are the least straightforward of the three, as they can offer the benefits of the other two types of skin nourishment. While emollients are an essential part of a good moisturizing ritual, care must be taken not to use these too close to sunless application, as they do form a barrier on the skin that can inhibit sunless development. Post-spray tan emollients offer a thin breathable barrier that helps hold on to hydration. That means after your tan is fully developed, emollients keep dry skin from flaking away that bronzed glow!
Last, are the occlusive ingredients, these create a barrier on the skin that completely seal the skin. Petroleum-based ingredients, lanolin, and silicones are some of the most common. The benefit to creating a physical barrier is moisture retention, and for some extremely dry skin types, this is crucial. However, when used on the wrong skin type, these ingredients can cause clogged pores and breakouts. Occlusive products require the most care when used with sunless tanning products. For best results, they should be avoided 24 hours prior to sunless application, as the barrier will prevent sunless development. Additionally, when not used on the appropriate skin type, these can actually shorten the life of sunless tans.
Balance is everything! Most products will have some combination of the three main skin-conditioning ingredients. By looking at the ingredients, you can identify the primary properties of each product and find the one that meets your unique needs, but doesn’t compromise that just off the beach glow!