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Self Tanning and Exercising Do's and Don'ts: How To Avoid Patchiness From Sweat

A self-tan that looks picture perfect on some areas of the skin and stippled on others is fairly common when our gym lovers want to look tan and stay healthy all at the same time. I mean, haven't we all experienced the tan that wears off in that diamond shape around the inner-elbows, at the tops of the inner arms and between the breasts and that dreaded scaly look on the legs, arms and neck that sets in.

A patchy tan is not only caused by the skin becoming dehydrated, or by spending too much time in the swimming pool, but from day-to-day friction and sweat. For many of us who exercise, a tan can slough off the skin in days whereas with proper moisturising self-tan can usually last for a week.

It's somewhat challenging that our efforts in the gym (or yoga studio) can take a toll on the hydration in our skin – after all, the intended outcome for both training and tanning includes boosted body confidence. So, can we workout and maintain an even-looking tan at the same time? Here, our celeb spray tanner founder, Michelle Walters shares some of her top tips to keep the classic patchy tan away all year round:

1. Apply a lighter self-tan that can be topped up

If you know you exercise and sweat a lot, the first tip is to keep the tan a little lighter, as a gentle tanning application is easier to top up and fill in if patches do occur. I recommend the lightest spray tan from your spray tan artist or use a gradual tanning lotion for a beautiful faux glow that can be gradually built-up for a customized tan.

2. Be careful what you wear

Choose your gym gear carefully. Look for seamless leggings made of thin, breathable materials so they act like a second skin (try https://shop.lululemon.com). Or choose loose leggings which allow the air to flow to your skin (such as www.itsallleggings.com). The Nike Indy Cooling Sports Bra is also ideal because the Dri-FIT Technology helps keep you dry and comfortable.

3. Apply talc to sweaty areas (not baby powder)

Before slipping into your sports bra, sprinkle some talc (or our Mineral Shimmer Drying Powder) on the chest and under the arms. Work it in with a bronzer brush and do the same to the inner arms and backs of knees. Think of where your skin rubs together; the talc will create slip and prevent friction which breaks down your tan.

4. Have cool showers and moisturise afterwards

After you exercise, shower in cool water, gently press-dry the skin and moisturise generously all over. DHA, the tanning agent used in self-tan formulas, is a naturally drying ingredient so regular moisturising is essential to help lock in the colour. The Oh That Glow Body Butter (solid or whipped) is ideal for both self-tanned and naturally tanned skin. It's also a good idea to use the hairdryer at the gym on the cold setting to cool down the body to avoid any excess sweating.

5. Keep a tanning survival kit handy

f your tan does start to wear off and fade in places keep the Island Glow Survival Tan Kit in your gym bag. The kit contains all you need to correct mistakes. First there's an exfoliating and tan removal product which can remove areas of break-up; this is perfect for between the breasts, the inner arms and armpit area when your colour starts to crumble. Then there's the Gradual Tanning Lotion or Mousse (your choice), which has a golden guide color allowing you to see where you are tanning when topping up patchy areas.


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