Tanning can help people look beautiful and healthy, especially those with light skin tones. The attraction of that summer glow has people flocking to pools and beaches on weekends and holidays. However, when it comes to time in the sun and our skin, safety is a top concern.
While there are shelves of tanning products on the market, commercial tanning products often contain ingredients that can irritate those with sensitive skin and lead to bacterial infections. For example, bacteria is what causes shingles, folliculitis, and impetigo. Additionally, according to experts, what goes on the skin eventually goes in, which has people turning to more organic tanning approach.
Plants for Tanning
1. Oil-based tanning remedies
Carrot seed oil (or simply carrot oil) is a highly-rated herbal oil with toning capabilities. Celebrity beauty blogger Jenni Raincloud claims it is her best-kept beauty secret. The amber-colored oil is extracted from carrot seeds and has nourishing abilities. Just as the root vegetable itself, it is rich in antioxidants that help support cellular activity by preventing free radicals and balance the skin's pH (power of Hydrogen) to decrease acne.
The oil can be directly applied to cleansed skin before sun exposure and remain on afterward as a natural moisturizer. Other than getting carrot oil through a health supply shop, you can also make it at home using a crock pot.
Not to worry, though, if you don't have carrots on hand. Avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and sesame oil are equally effective organic tanning remedies, and they have the extra health advantage of being rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids help boost the plants' natural sun-protective properties, protecting tanners from harmful ultraviolet rays and keeping the skin radiant.
You can also combine these ingredients with essential oils for a homemade tanning recipe using:
- 1/4 cup of olive oil.
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil.
- 1/2 teaspoon raspberry seed oil.
- 1/2 teaspoon carrot oil.
- Mica powder.
- Lavender oil (for a bit of fragrance).
The advantage of using this natural alternative is that it doesn’t block vitamin D, which our bodies produce when is exposed to sun rays.
2. Water-based remedies
The recipe above may leave the skin slick and slithery. Some might want to use coffee, tea, or cacao powder mixed with water, instead. Cheryl Wischhover at Elle Magazine tried to make a self tanner by mixing a tea bag with water and spraying it onto her skin. Commenting on the result, Cheryl wrote, "It was subtle but definitely darker. I'd say it's pretty comparable to some of the daily wash-off tinted body sprays that are out there."
Tanning Through Diet
Eat more veggies
Over the years, experts have found consuming foods with high levels of carotenoid can contribute to a darker skin tone. That's right - eating vegetables that are bright orange, green, and yellow (think carrots, kale, and sweet potato) can give you naturally bronzed skin.
One such study that backs that finding showed how dietary intake of carotenoids reaches and affects the tissues in the skin. This led the researchers to conclude that dietary changes like eating more colorful vegetables contribute "measurably and significantly" to skin pigmentation and can result in a tanner skin tone.
Another study carried out by UK researchers reached a similar conclusion. It involved a group of students consuming carotene-rich vegetables for several months. The results indicated that eating extra portions of fruits and vegetables daily could give the skin a more tanned look. Dr. Stuart who was part of the study commented: "[Food-based tanning is] similar to those obtained with mild tanning of the skin in these study patients." In other words, those eating their veggies had beautiful skin tones similar to those practicing mild tanning.
Keeping your skin hydrated
Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to damaged, dry skin. Staying hydrated via diet is an effective way to prevent and heal dry skin. A healthy diet filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and plenty of water can enhance skin health from the inside out. Thankfully, natural oils have moisturizing properties to combat dry skin, too. For example, the fatty acids present in the cold pressed avocado oil and olive oil can work to hydrate and soften our skin naturally. They work wonderfully as a tanner and a daily moisturizer as well.
Skin care after tanning is just as important as the tanning process itself. Because sun exposure can damage skin tissue and cells, post-tanning products are an essential part of rejuvenating "sun-kissed" skin. It's possible to replace commercial post-tanning lotions with a homemade recipe to complement the natural tanning process.
Aloe vera gel
One tried-and-true method is applying aloe vera gel to the skin immediately after prolonged sun exposure. Aloe vera contains active compounds that can heal the skin from minor sunburn, reduce inflammation, and help reduce skin irritation. Avid sun tanners can either purchase the oil and rub it into the skin or use the actual plant by splitting up the plant leaf and applying the inside goo onto the skin's surface.
In addition to serving as a moisturizing post-tanning lotion, aloe vera can also be applied to wounds and sunburns as well. To treat minor sunburn, experts recommend users to refrigerate aloe vera oil or gel for a few minutes before application to cool the skin and alleviate the associated itching.
Apple cider vinegar
Another common household item that can serve as an alternative post-tanning remedy is apple cider vinegar. This fruit-derived vinegar, especially unfiltered ones with "the Mother", come with healing properties for the body from hair to teeth, weight loss and even blood sugar levels. It's not a surprise that it can help balance skin tone and alleviate skin damage as well. "[Apple cider vinegar] can help with sunburn, although there are so many other good remedies," commented dermatologist Marie Jhin from the American Academy of Dermatology in a recent interview.
If apple cider vinegar is not readily available, lemon juice can also work as a post-tanning substitute. Because both products are strong and concentrated, it's important to dilute them with an equal amount of water before applying it to your face. Beauty experts also recommend that users rinse off the vinegar solution after 20-30 minutes.
Celebrity Scarlett Johansson once shared in an interview with Elle UK that she incorporates these natural remedies into her beauty regime. She said, "Lemon juice is great for lightening. It's a good trick and nice because it's natural. It's a nice way to treat your skin if you don't want to use all those harsh chemicals." Vinegar can be a bit stinky though, Johansson warned jokingly, though she added that unless you're at your boyfriend's, "it's really effective [for damaged skin]."
Practicing Safe Tanning
There's a reason why health institutions worldwide have advocated against excessive UV exposure; it can increase health risks like the acceleration of skin aging and cancer. Thankfully, there are natural ways to ensure safe tanning practices.
People should also note that even though organic tanning remedies are safe for the general consumer, tanning is not recommended if there is a skin condition present. Sun rays can affect viruses and bacteria in the infected skin. Thus those with skin rashes like shingles should avoid tanning, seek treatment first, then try these natural remedies after.
Organic home tanning remedies are wholesome and simple, so tanners of all ages do not have to worry about what goes onto and into their bodies. Many of holistic tanning remedies are naturally sun-protective, moisturizing, and healing for post-tanning. When sun tanning in a balanced and smart way, people can happily-safely-achieve the rejuvenating skin tones they desire.