Just back from your holiday and desperate to make that bronzed glow last? Or heading off and want to know how to get a tan that keeps? So if you want to keep that colour into autumn, here are some clever tricks to help you keep your tan for as long as possible
You get a tan when the sun stimulates the production of a pigment called melanin in your skin, which colours the top layer.
This layer sheds approximately every two weeks, so to ensure that all your skin cells are at the very start of their cycle, have a vigorous body scrub before you go away.
A number of tablets on the market claim they can help to prepare your skin for a tan and maintain it.
Look for pills containing beta-carotene and lycopene (found in carrots and tomatoes), which have both been shown to prolong melanin production, sustaining your tan.
Keep up your water intake. especially in the sun when you lose more water through sweating.
When skin dries out it flakes, so it will shed sooner rather than later. To ensure cells stay hydrated, you need to feed them from the inside as well as from the outside.
KEEP YOUR SKIN SOFT
As well as hydrating skin from the inside, you also need to moisturise it from the outside.
‘When you’re in the sun, or in the weeks after a holiday, moisturising at least twice daily is recommend.
Steer clear of skin-stripping treatments: Exfoliators and lotions that contain fruit acids, glycolic acid and salicylic acid can, like waxing and hair-removal creams, take off the top layer of your skin and with it your tan.
To avoid this, shave and skip the scrubs for a few weeks and concentrate on moisturising.
TUCK IN TO TURKEY
According to dermatologist Dr Howard Murad, certain foods can help prolong a tan.
‘The primary raw material that our melanocytes (a pigment-producing cell) need to make melanin is an ingredient called tyrosine,’ he explains.
‘Turkey, egg whites, cottage cheese, salmon, soy, almonds and avocados are all considered to be rich in tyrosine, so eating them encourages melanin production and, consequently, a tan.’
DITCH THE SHOWER GEL
‘Take every opportunity to moisturise your skin, one of the easiest ways to do this is by using a shower oil instead of a gel, which cleanses but intensely moisturises at the same time.
Once you’ve got a tan, eke it out with a product that contains a hint of fake tan.
There are several gradual tanners on the market but the St Tropez Tan Booster (£15, st-tropez.com) not only contains the tanning ingredient DHA but also soothing aloe and natural oils that will help intensively moisturise sun-baked skin.
To give any remaining tan an extra bit of glow, layer on a moisturiser or oil that contains a slight shimmer.
Use the face version sparingly — perhaps as a highlighter — but lather on the body cream with liberal abandon for a non-sticky moisturising treat that subtly sparkles.