How to choose the best sunless tanning lotion for yourself should ideally involve an appreciation of what your skin type is.
Not all sunless tanning lotions, never mind the best, are ideal for every skin type.
If you're one of those people who either prefer not to be outdoors, are sun sensitive and cannot be outdoors or simply do not have the option to be outdoors, then I'll excuse you for not choosing that as your first option to getting a tan!
However, there are many people who like to boost their skin's melanin levels first before going outdoors, so as to help the tanning process and prevent getting sunburnt.
There is such a huge variety to choose from that it makes it near impossible to pick just one or two as a favorite, but here are a few pointers...
The great appeal about sunless tanning is the fact that you don't have to expose your skin to ultraviolet rays, whether from the sun itself or a tanning bed.
This is really motivating if you have a problem being outdoors in the sunshine or getting to a tanning bed.
However, whether or not the UV rays are harmful depends on how you manage your time exposed to them, while unprotected in any way.
The negative aspect of avoiding the sun's rays altogether, is that you miss out on the benefits of Vitamin D, which your body makes when exposed to the sun's UVB rays.
Vitamin D is said to provide for so many important health benefits that it is definitely not something to deny your body.
The Skin Cancer Foundation state that "Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from either the sun or tanning machines is a proven cancer-causing agent, and the chief cause of skin cancer" and they are pushing to have tanning beds made illegal.
However, my belief is that, just as with the actual sun's rays themselves, careful management of UV ray exposure will allow you these wonderful benefits without adverse effects.
So, sunless tanning can have its merits in managing your sun exposure without overdoing it. It can also help to ramp up your tan before venturing out into the sun and finding yourself getting sunburnt.
Choosing the best sunless tanning lotion needs to take all of this into account.
Sunless tanning lotions provide you with that natural-looking tan by working with ingredients and chemicals that cause your skin to darken.
The common ingredient found in sunless tanning lotions is dihydroxyacetone, more commonly known as DHA.
This ingredient works with the amino acids on your skin's top layer, the stratum corneum of the epidermis, to create a tanned color without the aid of the sun.
DHA is considered the safe option of all the chemicals used previously in the sunless tanning industry, so look for this when choosing your lotion.
Products without DHA should be avoided for safety reasons.
In order to properly care for your skin, it's important to realize your skin type before you tan. Knowing this will help you manage your tan, keep your skin moisturized and ultimately avoid sunburn.
Not just any sunless tanning lotion will work for you.
Each person has a different experience, so it will help to take your time finding just the right product for you and your specific skin type.
A fair skin type 1 or 2 will find a gentle approach to tanning over a few days is easier to manage than a darker skin type of 3, 4 or 5, which handle a faster track to a sun tanned look a whole lot more effectively.
The more you apply the sunless tanning lotion, or the more often, the darker your tan will turn out, so experiment and see what shade suits you best.
Also, check the label to see if the product you're interested in is best for :
This may involve looking for specific ingredients that will nourish your skin rather than just provide the tanned shade you seek.
Besides your skin type, some other considerations are: