For decades, many have focused on getting the perfect tan, despite the well publicized fears that harmful UV rays can cause skin cancer and premature aging. For your bikini competition, getting the right tan is an important part of your overall stage presence. While the sun kissed glow of skin baked to perfection on the beach is most desired, consider one of the several sunless tanning options available, which are becoming increasingly popular and helping thousands to achieve a natural, yet great looking tan.

Spray Tanning Booths
A spray machine inside an enclosed booth applies the chemical DHA in an even coating to the skin. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved DHA for external use only, and if you choose this method to get a tan you should take every precaution not to get the spray in your mouth or eyes.

Airbrush Tan
An airbrush tan is a safer method of applying DHA, although it will cost you more to tan this way. This method will provide you with an even and natural looking tan, and as you have your eyes, lips and nose covered during the procedure, there is generally less risk of ingesting the spray.

Self Tanning Lotions
The chemical DHA is also present in self tanning lotions which can easily be purchased at the cosmetic counter or your nearest pharmacy. It’s recommended to use a loofah or scrub brush before applying it, to exfoliate your skin. The results will typically last for several days. There are also moisturizers that have this darkening ability. You can choose how light or dark your shade is, and the color progresses gradually with each continued use. Issues with these sometimes include an uneven tan and darker areas on parts of your body such as knees, ankles and elbows.

You can temporarily stain your skin using a bronzer, although it’s often hard to ensure you’ll end up with an even tan. Bronzers rinse off easily with soap and water and are ideal if you have very pale skin.

Tanning Pills
Because the color additive canthaxanthin is present in tanning pills, these products haven’t been approved by the FDA. Liver and eye damage are just some of the health issues that have been linked to these pills, and you may find your skin turns brown or orange after using it. Also use caution when ingesting vitamins or other pills and speak with your primary physician before proceeding.

Safest Ways of Tanning
Airbrush tanning, self tanning lotions and bronzers are the safest ways of achieving a tan. It’s important to remember that your skin is still prone to being damaged by the sun’s rays, despite it being darkened, and it’s also important to continue to use SPF protection to help prevent skin cancer and premature aging.

Don’t Ignore the Sun Altogether
It’s important to make sure you get your recommended daily amount of Vitamin D which can encourage cell growth and maintain the body’s immune system. Around 15 minutes of exposure to the sun a couple of times a week should provide a sufficient amount. Don’t forget your SPF lotion though!