The best sunless tanning advice is to make sure you know
According to many organisations, including the American Academy of Dermatology, the most effective products available for sunless tanning or self tanning lotions are those that contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the active ingredient.
However, very importantly, most of these products provide no, or very little protection from UV damage, as sunscreens do.
Some of the best sunless tanning products use Erythrulose combined with the DHA.
Erythrulose works identically to DHA on the skin surface, but develops more slowly. The two chemicals used together may produce a longer lasting sunless tan.
However, Dihydroxyacetone or Erythrulose have been known to cause contact dermatitis.
If you are a first time user of sunless products, it's recommended you apply a small patch to your skin and wait 24 hours to see results before embarking on a full body application.
The following organisations offer great advice and official recommendations:
Optimal results are obtained when the sunless tanning lotion is applied to clean, dry skin.
Bathing and swimming should be avoided until the sunless tanning product is fully absorbed first, which can vary from one to six hours.
Also take care to note that more DHA will be absorbed by the thicker skin on the hands and feet, so try and avoid these areas or clean well with soap and water immediately after any lotion is applied to them.
Professional application is available from spas, salons and gymnasiums in the form of sunless or UV-Free spray booths. The enclosed booth, which resembles an enclosed shower stall, sprays the sunless tanning solution over your entire body. Be careful to avoid getting it into your eyes though and if possible wear eye protection goggles.
Professional technicians using specialized equipment designed for applying self tanning sprays, such as an airbrush, LVLP spray gun, and HVLP spray gun can apply your tan for you.
The technician will hand spray you from head to toe with a gentle misting solution. The portability of the equipment allows spray tanning services in a larger variety of places, from beach kiosks and malls to a home application.