After putting months of work into your physique to step on stage, you need your tan to be perfect. The deep, rich tan highlights muscle definition under the bright stage lights, enhancing what you’ve built. However, a few wrong moves with your skin and your tan could leave you looking splotchy, tinted, or not dark enough. Taking some extra time to prep your skin leading up to your show can help your tanning artist get the best result.
The Science of Tanning
The skin is your body’s largest organ and protects you from infection and environmental factors. The outer layer, the epidermis, has cells which produce melanin, the brown pigment we see when we’ve been exposed to UV radiation. This kind of tanning, either done outdoors or in a tanning bed, damages the skin and is known to be a cause of skin cancer.
On the other hand, spray tanning is a safe option, and quickly provides the dark tan needed by physique competitors. Spray tans work by applying a mist of color onto your skin. The mist contains Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) which interacts with your skin to change its color. This color can vary based on the chemistry of your skin as well as how it has been prepped.
Your skin has a natural PH level, which refers to how acidic or alkaline it is. PH is measured on a scale from 1 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline), with 7 being neutral. When fatty acids mix with the lactic and amino acids in your sweat, your skin’s PH balance is created. A slightly acidic reading is ideal. This balance can be thrown off by everything that contacts the skin, from skin care products to air pollution.
Taking care of your skin all year long is important, but when a spray tan is on the horizon, it becomes even more vital. Enlisting the following skin care routines can help give you the beautiful stage tan you need.
Exfoliate – Regularly exfoliating your skin removes the dead skin cells sitting on the top layer of the epidermis. By removing these cells, you’re providing a smooth surface of fresh cells for the spray to bind to. In addition to regularly exfoliating throughout prep, the night before your tan is booked, take the time to thoroughly exfoliate with a special product and a mitt.
Hair Removal – Shaving or waxing are your best bets for hair removal. If waxing, have it done at least a week prior to your tan to allow any swelling or irritation to dissipate. Shaving should be done the night before, so you can moisturize the skin afterwards (but wash this off the day of your tan!). Cream hair removers aren’t advised due to the harsh chemicals they contain, which commonly lead to rashes or can change your skin’s natural PH level.
Moisturize – Hydrated skin is happy skin, so keep it moisturized – paying special attention to the elbows and knees which are often more dry. However, the week prior to getting your spray tan, stop using oils or moisturizers as it can create a barrier to the tan hindering absorption. Also, stop using deodorant for the week leading up to your competition as it can alter your skin’s PH level, potentially resulting in green underarms on stage!
If you’re looking to pamper your skin and follow the above tips, the experts at Absolute Touch highly recommend the Biophora skin care line. The Enzyme Exfoliator and Bioactive Cleanser will leave your skin soft, even, and balanced. Also highly recommended is the Dermasuri MITT to make exfoliating easy. With regular use of these products you’ll be on your way to perfectly prepped skin for your stage presentation!