“I’m studying to be a nurse and, because I’m a senior, I never have time to go to the pool anymore,” Gibbs said. “I would love to lay out, but instead I go to the tanning bed. I go to Palm Beach Tan sometimes and it really works.”
Various means of artificial coloration include tanning beds, gels, wipes, foams, mousses, lotions, sprays and innovative pills.
Although natural sun exposure is a significant source of vitamin D, self-tanning products satisfy those that crave instant gratification.
Sunless self-tanners, with the exceptions of tanning beds, can give skin a tanned look without exposing it to harmful ultraviolet rays, according to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
Tanning beds are increasingly popular with people who want a natural looking tan, Gibbs said.
“I really think tanning beds work because they use a form of real sunlight,” Gibbs said. “I see the results very fast and it doesn’t look like a fake orange tan.”
Although tanning beds are a fast solution, physicians suggest alternative methods.
“We suggest that our patients use any of the lotion self tanners,” said Tracy Firluf, nurse at Hailey, Brody, Casey & Wray Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery in Atlanta. “They are really safe. The fastest way to get a tan is by getting a spray tan at the salon. It works and it is very safe.”
Firluf said the cheapest and overall most popular method is using lotion.
“We recommend the Jergens Slow Glow or the L’Oreal Gradual Tan because those are both lotions that don’t have a stain in them, and they gradually build up a nice tan,” Firluf said.
Suzanne Smiley, senior in political science, said she thinks Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer is the overall, all-around best self-tanner.
“I have tried three products and this one is becoming very popular,” Smiley said. “It’s also the cheapest. It looks natural and it isn’t streaky at all.”
Many self-tanning lotions contain a staining ingredient in them that make skin appear as if there are brown lines painted on drier areas.
“The thing with the lotions is you get a lot of streaking if you don’t apply it right,” Firluf said. “You have to keep applying it to hold a tan.”
Depending on if patients want a gradual build-up or instant results, Firluf thinks people should be careful with damaging the skin in harsh UV rays.
“Any of the lotions are a lot safer than getting into a tanning bed, which we definitely do not recommend,” Firluf said.
The risk of melanoma increases by 300 percent for occasional users and 800 percent for those using tanning beds more than 10 times a year.
Even though sunless tanning lotions take more time to become noticeable, some companies have created fresh-scented products to replace the unusual loud scent of perfumes.
“I think it’s a good idea for people to use self tanners before the summer starts,” Smiley said. “You should go ahead and get tan before wearing your bathing suit. You don’t want to look as white as a ghost in a bathing suit.”