How To Tan For Men — Men’s Tanning Guide
Pale skin suits most men however some guys just want that tanned appearance that gives off a radiant glow. Yet tanning itself is no different than hitting the gym for bodybuilding, washing and moisturizing your face, or even getting a haircut. All of these things are the same as guys all are ultimately doing it for one reason, to improve their appearance. Some men aren’t too enthusiastic or confident on the idea of hitting the tanning bed, but it’s something that can be done without seeking male approval. In fact, if you ask any girl working at a tanning salon, you’ll find that more than half of their clients are men. Most of these men start tanning before the summer arrives or right before they head out onto a tropical beach side vacation to avoid burning their skin up. However if you’re interested in staying tan year round, you can also easily tan in the winter as well. And it’s easy to see why you would want to, because aside from getting a darker skin tone, it also helps clear up things like eczema, acne, provides a significant dose of Vitamin D, and it might even boost your self-esteem.
Best Practices And How To Tan At The Tanning Bed
For tanning beds and days out in the sun on the beach you’ll want to follow a few of these straightforward secrets to getting the perfect tan every time.
Before you get up to go get tanned try and hit the gym for a session to get your blood circulation. You’ll want to head over after while your blood circulation is still high.
Remember to exfoliate your entire body the day before hitting the tanning bed or sun. The benefit of this is it removes all of the dead skin cells, not to mention it also helps your skin avoid peeling after you tan. You’ll also want to rub in cocoa butter, reef tan oil, or any tanning lotion before getting any rays. Afterwards remember to always moisture and exfoliate as it will help your skin heal and retain moisture.
Increase your vitamin D intake the same day you go to the tanning bed, usually double for the best effects.
For a better tan shave your body as grooming will remove the barrier between your skin and the sun, and allow for a darker more distinctive tan.
When first starting off be careful on the time spent in the tanning bed so you don’t burn your skin. A good tanning routine for men starting off would be three times a week with six minutes per each session.
Avoid taking a shower immediately after you tan, and if you feel the need to do so avoid detergents and wash only with water. Why? Because as you tan Vitamin D collects on the skin’s upper layers, and when you take a shower it will remove it before it can soak in deeper. For the best practice, don’t use soap for the next 48 hours when in the shower. And while this might sound a bit odd or even a little unhealthy there’s quite a bit of science supporting it. Because when you tan, UVB hits your skin and converts a cholesterol derivative into Vitamin D3. After this happens the Vitamin D3 collects on the surface of your skin’s upper layer, and isn’t absorbed into the bloodstream for up to 48 hours. What this means is if you happen to shower with soap you’ll be washing away all of that wonderful Vitamin D3 away.
Self Tanning And Spray Tanning For Men
Now if you’ve been avoiding the tanning bed for health or even personal preference, self tanning is definitely the way to go. The process is relatively simple and straightforward, and it involves spraying on DHA or (dihydroxyacetone), which is basically a chemical that dyes your dead skin cells. As well it comes in two forms so you can choose between the water-based or the oil-based. Some tanning salons even have mists with different levels of darkness, so make sure you choose the right level so you don’t end up with an unrealistic skin appearance. Yet going back to the DHA dye, it will affect the amount of time your skin will stay tan for. Keep in mind that as your skin sheds or peels off as it normally does over time, you’ll lose your tan. Typically you’ll get anywhere from five to ten days of darkness with the optimal color before it wears off. However you can attempt to extend this by using a moisturizer so your skin’s top layer doesn’t shed away so fast.
Yet, at some point you may want to try using a self tanner, which also uses DHA so it’s the same application as getting a spray tan. And while applying it yourself might seem like a daunting task due to the countless products and fear of becoming orange there’s only a few steps required to getting it right the first time.
To start you’ll want to do the same things as you would if you were going to the tanning bed or getting a spray tan. Remember to clean and exfoliate your skin at least the day before to ensure you’ve removed any skin that’s flaking off. By doing so you’ll eliminate the risk of having streaks, not to mention as we already covered, your tan will last much longer. Perhaps the biggest point to take from this is to make sure you hit all the rough areas on the body such as the: elbows, knees, ankles and feet. As well, always remember to try your first self tanner product on a small area of your body, to ensure it will end up with the correct appearance. Sure you might have to wait 24 hours to complete the first test, but at least you’ll save yourself from the embarrassment after you’ve applied it to your face or entire body.
Once you’ve picked the right self tanning product and can confirm it works on a small area of the body, you’ll want to cover everything this time. With a gentle and slow motion rub the spray, gel, or cream into your skin. Don’t rush or try to push it into your skin as deep as possible, relax and it will all get absorbed as you message it into your skin. As well, don’t worry if you cover the same spot more than once, that’s perfectly fine and won’t affect anything. And if by chance you happen to have a lot of hair on your body or neglected to shave, make sure you spend enough time getting everything absorbed evenly in those areas.
Ah the finish line! So you have applied the self tanner to your entire body, so what happens next? Well you’ll want to wait at least 15 to 20 minutes before throwing all your clothes back on. After you’ve gone past that time frame, try to wear clothes that are not tight fitting such as gym shorts or loose t-shirts. However do not worry about the product getting on your clothes, as the majority of self tanner products tend to not smear after they are absorbed. And if you’re planning to shower or take a dip into the pool just make sure you’ve taken enough time for it to absorb.
How to tan safely plus the best sunscreens and fake tans
Let me start by introducing myself. I’m the shady lady sitting underneath that poolside parasol, expertly coated top-to-toe in several brands of factor 50. I guess you could call me the white sheep of a herd of sun worshippers. While I might be the lily-skinned family joke — my married name is Tanner — I’m also a beauty editor, so I know a great deal more about the science of sun worship than most.
It was a trip to the dermatologist’s office about 10 years ago that officially ended my supine sessions in the sun. ‘A tan is an SOS signal from your skin; it’s a scream for help,’ the doctor warned sternly. ‘Rather than a badge of honour, tan lines are signs your skin is in serious crisis,’ confirms my current dermatologist, Dr Rachael Eckel. ‘When skin is exposed to the sun, it fights back by producing a pigment called melanin, which turns it brown. A tan is a sure sign that you have damaged your skin’s DNA. Sun exposure also causes muddy-brown sunspots and inflammation, which triggers irregular collagen production, creating wrinkles.’
So why exactly are so many of us still crazy for a tan? ‘It is still perceived as a healthy and glamourous thing, a bit like a pretty girl smoking a cigarette on the bonnet of a sports car,’ says Dr Richard Barlow, a South African dermatologist who has a special interest in skin cancer. ‘You only need around five bad sunburns to constitute a serious risk of melanoma.’ Barlow, who offers Mohs microsurgery, a very precise way of cutting out and examining suspect moles at his Chelsea clinic, goes on: ‘While I think the Australians have got the message (sun protection is enforced there with statutory legislation), here in the UK we still seem to be a bit muddled. Generally, there is little awareness about the dangers of the sun, as it is not baking hot 10 months of the year, but there is growing concern among doctors that some people have gone the other way and protected their kids so much there is a rise in rickets in children due to lack of vitamin D (a vital nutrient needed for healthy bone growth, which we get from sunlight).’
What’s the doctor’s prescription for a safe dose of sunshine? ‘Undoubtedly a little bit of sun is good for you,’ says Barlow, ‘and you can’t supplement all your vitamin D with pills, as there is a special form of the vitamin that needs to be metabolised in the skin; five to 10 minutes of sunshine two to three times per week is necessary for that. If you are heading off on holiday, lie out before 11am or after 3pm when rays are not quite so fierce, and always pack a broad-spectrum sunscreen.’
if there’s a choice between a sexy celebrity brand or a boring scientific bottle, I go with the geeks
Now, to sunscreen. Forget about frying your skin — visiting a pharmacy can fry your mind, as sunscreen brands seem to multiply like gremlins every summer. Having tried pretty much every product on the market, my current holiday favourites include Sisley Super Soin Solaire Body Mist SPF30 (great protection for pale skin), and La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios XL range for my kids. It contains thermal spring water, selium and a new ingredient called baicalin, a soothing antioxidant championed in Chinese medicine.
My first rule in selecting a sunscreen is that if there’s a choice between a sexy celebrity brand or a boring scientific bottle, I go with the geeks. A recent case in point is Hollywood goddess Jessica Alba’s The Honest SPF30, which caused a social-media furore when angry customers posted snaps of their sunburnt body parts (quite funny) and those of their small kids (quite horrifying). Reports say this could have been because of a reduction in the zinc oxide content to 9.3 per cent. This is the ingredient that sits on top of the skin as a physical block to the sun’s rays and which the industry standard usually sets between 18 and 25 per cent. Ouch.
There are two types of sun block. Physical ones, such as the aforementioned zinc and titanium oxide, are basically finely ground rocks that stay on the skin’s surface and reflect harmful rays. Their downside is some formulas can feel gloopy and make you look ghostly white, which may be why Alba’s people tried to be clever by reducing the content in their product. There are also chemical sunscreens. Originally formulated in the 1930s, these are more aesthetically appealing because they work under the skin to create a chemical reaction that makes sunlight less harmful to the cells, but they can be irritating and in some cases allergenic.
The good news is that in recent years there has been a considerable amount of fine-tuning to make sunscreen a lot more user-friendly. The advent of nanotechnology, a technique used in the most advanced skincare brands to shrink potent ingredients so they can be fast-tracked into the deepest layers of the skin, has also been employed in sunscreen to create more sophisticated textures that don’t block pores or leave any tell-tale chalky residue. Just try the super-lightweight Exuviance Sheer Daily Protector SPF50 or Sarah Chapman’s Skinesis Skin Insurance SPF30 and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Indeed, the smartest suncare brands are morphing into a sunscreen/skincare hybrid, designed not just for a two-week holiday but to be worn every day as part of a regular skincare routine.
Antioxidants are vital ingredients to look out for. These are the good guys that mop up damaging free radicals and help preserve the skin’s springy collagen stores. Green People’s organic SPF30 Facial Sun Cream and Environ’s Rad Antioxidant Sunscreen both have a powerful antioxidant/vitamin blend that protects skin and gives it a fresh glow. Pre-holiday, it is also worth trying Dr Murad’s punchy Pomphenol Sunguard Dietary Supplement, which is full of pomegranate extract. According to research, one tablet per day can increase the SPF of topical sunscreens by as much as 25 per cent — but remember that you still need cream. I also highly recommend having Murad’s brilliant Sun Undone Facial from the Urban Retreat spa in London when you get home. Packed with antioxidants and a heavy dose of vitamin C, it brightens and repairs blotchy skin.
The last thing to consider about sunscreen is how to apply it. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the majority of us are using half the recommended dose. To recap: you need to apply a teaspoon of sun cream to your face and a shot-glass-size amount to your body half an hour before going in the sun, and reapply every two to three hours, which can be a real drag when you’re trying to relax.
Coming to the rescue of lazy sun worshippers everywhere, Harley Street heavyweight Dr Luca Russo has recently launched a game-changing sun-protection range that contains unique wash-on technology. Dr Russo’s Sun Protective Day Cleanser SPF30 is a must. You rub it on your face and wash it off with water like a normal cleanser, but it leaves a super-thin film of SPF30 — great for covering hard-to-protect places such as the upper eyelids — which is dispensed via microscopic, positively charged capsules loaded with broadband sunscreens that latch on to our negatively charged skin in a binding effect. It’s a brilliant concept: be ahead of the game before you’ve even left the bathroom.
The best self-tans
While we’re here, let’s take a look at the bathroom shelf; odds are there’s a bottle of self-tan tucked away somewhere. Current statistics value the self-tan market in the UK at more than £100million and growing. It’s not just a female thing either; one in 10 men now admits to buying self-tan too. This is largely because in recent years ‘fake’ tan has been shedding its Tango-ed stigma, evolving and rebranding into the more appealing sounding self-tan. Rather than smudges, mud-coloured palms, stained bed sheets and the musty smell of DHA (dihydroxyacetone, the chemical derived from sugar cane that causes a browning reaction with the amino acids on the skin’s surface), self-tans have cleaned up their act with sophisticated new formulas that are far more user-friendly.
Leading this wave of innovation is the sultan of self-tan, James Read, whose studio in London’s Harrods is packed year-round. Paler celebrities such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Lara Stone and actress Lily James are among his recent clients, highlighting a move away from the Donatella Versace weathered-mahogany look to a fresher, sun-kissed glow.
‘Self-tans are becoming far more bespoke,’ says Read. ‘It’s no longer about one shade fits all. My tans are customised to clients’ lifestyles and skin tones; the aim is credibility. This summer there was a huge trend for freckles on the catwalk, so I’m currently working on a new paint-on freckle pen (out in spring 2016) to make the tan look more believable.’ Bronze medals also go to Fake Bake’s Signature Drops and the Sienna X tan from mobile beauty company CitySwish: a no-mess, no-fuss, home-delivery service that comes with a pop-up tanning tent, spray gun and some of the best beauty technicians in town (ask for Francesca).
Another home-visiting star is the wonderful InParlour, run by the charming and discreet Amanda Harrington, who concocts her own tan suited to you, which she applies with the finest of brushes.
There’s also good news for those who prefer the DIY method. A new generation of gradual tans, which develop so gently you genuinely can’t mess them up, are taking the fear factor out of changing your skin colour. For me, they are the tanning equivalent of baby Botox; effective yet subtle, there is nothing ‘fake’ about them. I religiously follow Read’s tanning tips. Top of his list is rigorous exfoliation, before and after. Try Molton Brown’s Ylang-Ylang Comforting Body Polisher, a scrub that leaves skin so soft you barely need a moisturiser. ‘If you are really desperate to remove a streaky mistake, soak a flannel in lemon and lime juice, microwave for a few seconds, cool and then rub over skin to strip the offending mark,’ Read advises.
But there should really be no need to do this if you are using a brand such as Tan-Luxe’s Face Illuminating Serum, a complexion-enhancing elixir of which you simply add a drop or two into your moisturiser to discreetly ramp up the colour. Its magic ingredient is raspberry- seed oil, which is not only hydrating but also cancels out any whiff of DHA. Better still, it doesn’t clog pores or highlight blackheads.
So I’m heading off to the Maldives in a week’s time and, as packing commences, I’m surprised to admit that there will be some new self-tan stowaways squirrelled away in my wash bag. Me, the original anti-tanner, has been persuaded by the charms of the new tans, and while I’ll still be reserving my spot under the parasol, you probably won’t need sunglasses to look at my skin.
This feature was first published in Condé Nast Traveller’s Fashion and Beauty Guide November 2015
The best self tans
9 of the best sun creams
How to get a tan in London
How To Self Tan | The Best Way To Apply Self Tanning Products At Home
Once you’ve decided that you want the many benefits that a beautiful self tan provides, the next step is deciding exactly how to self tan!
And for that you’re in luck…
What follows is the “Official Guide” to applying and using self tanning products right in your own home (we’ve also summarized these steps into a handy cheat sheet you can print off and take with you to the bathroom. Click here to download it).
It doesn’t matter if you’re using a self tanning lotion, cream, gel, milk, mousse, or spray… these steps will work for all of them.
But before we begin, I need to mention one thing.
The process of a getting a beautiful, long-lasting self tan looks a little crazy at first. And it might take you a few times to get it right…
But once you’ve mastered the steps, you’ll be able to complete this entire process from start to finish in less than an hour.
And you’ll have a beautiful, natural-looking self tan that lasts for days! It just takes a little time to learn how to self tan the right way.
With that said, let’s get right to it…
Part One: What You’ll Need Beforehand
- The Right Self Tanner: To see which ones we recommend, click here.
- Exfoliating Scrub: Will help remove dead skin cells which will give you a more even tan
- Tight-Fitting Disposable Latex Gloves: These are very cheap. You can also try a “tanning mitt” but we find that gloves work better.
- Lotion Strap, Wand, or Sponge Paintbrush: These are used so you can reach your back if you don’t have someone helping you. The Body Buddy works great.
- Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly: Used to protect your eyebrows from tanning lotion.
- Tissue: Just regular Kleenex type tissue will work best.
- Band Or Hair Tie: To keep your hair out of your face.
- Blow Dryer: So you can speed the drying process a bit when you’re done.
- Mirror: So you can see what you’re doing!
- Time: Make sure you have about an hour for preparation and application. And then a few hours for the product to dry and begin working. The best time to do this is before bedtime so you can leave the product on overnight. You don’t want this stuff on your clothes until it’s had ample time to dry.
Part Two: The Steps
1. Shave any areas where you don’t want hair at least one hour before you begin application. For women, that may mean the legs, underarms and bikini area. For guys, this may be the face and chest.
2. Exfoliate your skin before application. It’s fine if you do it the day before, but you’ll get the best results sloughing off those dead skin cells about an hour or two before application. There’s a ton of body scrubs and exfoliation products you can use for this step. Obviously you’ll want to do this in the shower or tub. Your chosen product will work best on clean, fresh skin.
3. Make sure your skin is dry after shaving and exfoliating. You also want to get all of the moisture out of the air (so no steamy bathrooms). Water is the enemy of self tanning products for the first hour or two after application!
4. Apply some Vaseline to your eyebrows before you begin. This will keep the tanning lotion from altering their color. It’s not the end of the world if some gets on there. But if you repeatedly get these products on your eyebrows, they could start to change colors.
5. A note about applying moisturizer before you apply self tanner. We aren’t big fans of having it on our skin beforehand, but we know a lot of people who are. It really comes down to personal preference and what works best for YOUR skin. Try it out both ways and go with what works for you!
6. Put on your gloves and begin applying your product to your head first. Just use a light covering and try to work in short, circular motions. Be sure to get your ears, behind your ears, and your neck (basically all exposed areas).
7. Then apply the product to your legs and feet. Be careful when applying to your feet– use a very small amount and be sure to blend it in well.
8. Next apply your self tanning product to your stomach, chest, shoulders and arms. Again, be careful with your hands. Most people just put a little on the top and avoid the palms altogether.
9. Lastly, apply the product to your back using a strap, wand or paintbrush. It takes a little getting used to, but it’s simple once you have it down.
10. Once you’ve applied the self tanner on all your exposed skin, take a tissue and wipe gently at your wrists, tops of feet, elbows, and your knees. We’re not wiping it off, we’re just taking a little color away from areas that can get a little weird with self tanner. Trust us, this trick will work wonders…
11. Next, wash your hands thoroughly, especially if you didn’t use gloves or a mitt. I can’t stress this enough. Your hands may look fine, and then 4 hours later they’re all dark. Just wash them several times to be sure!
12. Take a blow dryer if you have one and blow dry all the areas where you’ve applied the self tanner. Don’t go crazy, just a few seconds on each area to speed the drying process.
Part Three: After You’re Done, Fixing Mistakes, and Maintenance
1. After you’ve applied the self tanner, try to wait at least an hour or so before you put on any clothes or go to bed (outside of any loose fitting shorts or underwear or whatever).
2. It takes awhile for these products to dry and start working. I know many of them claim to dry in 15 minutes, but you’ll still want to leave them alone as long as possible.
3. After an hour or two, then you should go to bed! These products work best when you leave them on overnight. If the product has a “guide” or “tint” to it, you may want to put some towels down on your bed before getting in. It’s a pain, but with some products it’ll get all over the place if you don’t (especially those that come out of the bottle super dark).
4. When you wake up in the morning, just go ahead and shower. Once you’re done showering, you should have a beautiful sunless tan!
5. If there are any areas that don’t look right, you can do 2 things to fix them. First, you can add a little more product to areas that are uneven and really blend it in well. Second, you can use lemon juice to “erase” much of the color from small parts of your body (like your feet, hands, wrists, knees and elbows). I know may people recommend bleach or other harsh products, but that stuff is REALLY bad for your skin. It works, but it’s very harsh, use with caution.
6. To maintain your tan, just try to keep your skin moisturized. Your tan will fade naturally over 3-7 days, depending on which product you use. Once that happens, it’s time to reapply!
7. A lot of people I know apply self tanner to their body just once a week (say Thursday) and apply it to their face twice a week (Monday and Thursday). While everyone has their own schedule and preference, the Monday-Thursday plan will have you looking your best for the weekends, and won’t eat up too much of your time during the week.
Now You Know How To Self Tan
Well there you have it, a comprehensive guide to applying self tanner.
While these guidelines will work great for most people, remember that everyone is different and you have to find what works best for you. To do that, you’re going to have to experiment a little.
So start with these steps, and then tailor them to your unique body and situation. If you do, you’ll be looking your best in no time!
Remember, we’ve created a one-page cheat sheet that tells you exactly how to self tan. You can download it and take to the bathroom or wherever you’re going to apply your self tanner. Click here to download it.
And be sure to let us know what you think of this guide! Any steps we’re missing? Anything you’d like to add? If so, connect with us on Facebook or send us a tweet on Twitter. We love hearing from our readers!
How To Self Tan | Tanceuticals
1. PREPARE AND CLEAN YOUR SKIN
Take a shower and exfoliate your body with our Pre-Tan Exfoliator. You want your skin to be clean and as free of dead skin as possible! Also make sure you shave to remove any unwanted hair BEFORE applying your self tanner. Shaving 12-24 hours before application is usually recommended but we know a lot of people who just shave in the shower beforehand.
2. PUT A MOISTURIZER ON THE DRY PARTS OF YOUR BODY
Take a normal, white moisturizer and rub a little onto your feet, knees and elbows. These areas are very dry and tend to get a little darker than other areas once your self tanner is applied.
3. START BY APPLYING TO YOUR FACE AND NECK
We’re going to divide the face into 4 areas as seen in the photo. Start by applying a thin layer of self tanner to area 1. Be sure to take your time and get it right up to the hairline. Then move in a clockwise fashion to areas 2, 3 and 4. Then finish up by applying to your neck (and the back of your neck). Also don’t forget your ears! Last thing, be sure to use a self tanner designed specifically for your face. Facial skin tends to be a little more delicate and sensitive than skin on your body.
4. WASH YOUR HANDS
You’ll want to go ahead and wash your hands as this point. If you don’t, you could end up with orange palms by the time you finish applying to your body. Definitely not a good look!
5. PUT ON A TANNING MITT
A good tanning mitt is an absolute essential to protect your hands and get a smooth, streak-free finish. We’ll deal with tanning your hands in a minute. For now, be sure to keep the self tanner off of them by using a tanning mitt!
6. APPLY TO THE REST OF YOUR BODY
Start from the bottom and work your way up. This will prevent creasing from bending over. So that means apply to the tops and sides of your feet first (see tips below on hands, they work for feet too), then your calves, then legs, then torso, then arms. Using your tanning mitt, apply in a circular motion making sure to cover your skin completely. Don’t worry about using too much; at this point it’s just important not to «miss» any areas. Take your time if you have to 🙂
7. NOW DO YOUR BACK
Even if you’re alone, this is very easy if you have the right tool. We HIGHLY recommend having a Body Buddy or similar strap. The way it works is you spread some self tanner over the strap, grab it on either end and then pull it back and forth over your back (see photo). It’s actually really easy and extremely effective once you get the hang of it!
8. FINISH UP WITH YOUR HANDS
There’s two different ways you could go about this. The first is to mix a little self tanner with your favorite moisturizer and just apply to the tops of your hands (works well on feet also). The other way is to mix a little self tanner with a lot of moisturizer, and then completely cover your hands (palms, fingers and all). We’ve seen both methods work pretty well, so it’s a matter of personal preference. As a side note, we know some poeople like to skip their hands altogether. That’s fine too 🙂
9. WASH YOUR HANDS CAREFULLY
Using soap and water, just wash your palms and fingers thoroughly. Be sure not to get any water on the tops of your hands where you just put self tanner— if you used that method. If you used the second method, you can skip this step.
10. NOW LET IT DRY AND GIVE IT SOME TIME TO WORK!
Congratulations, you made it! Now all you have to do is let the self tanner dry completely before putting on any clothes. Ideally, we recommend applying your self tanner at night and putting on loose-fitting clothing before going to bed. When you wake up, just shower to reveal a gorgeous new tan and better-looking skin! To maintain your beautiful glow, be sure to keep your skin very moisturized.
how to tan — The Longest Way
I’d been here over a month by now. There had been no chance yet to apply for the visa for Turkmenistan, so I was just waiting and biding my time. My new chapter for the TLW choffeetable book was done. Now I was spending most of my day editing pictures.
I’d do that until the afternoon, then go up to the roof and work on my tan:
A wise man had once told me that you were supposed to do 30 minutes on one side, then turn over and do another 30 minutes. So that’s what I did, and sometimes I’d stretch it to 40 minutes each.
Honestly, I envy people who tan quickly.
Anyway, after the tanning session I’d always go down to the beach:
The pirates would be there, too.
How to Tan Sheep Hides
Many people opt to tan sheepskin, more commonly known as sheep hides, to avoid wasting parts of the animal. You can then use the tanned hides for various items such as beautiful rugs and decorations for your home. The tanning process involves chemically treating the sheepskin, along with drying and stretching out the hide. Although professionals usually perform the tanning process, you can also tan sheep hides yourself with the right materials and procedures, as well as a helper who can aid in the stretching part of the tanning process.
«Fleshing Out» and Curing the Hide
Position the sheepskin on a flat clean work area with the wool facing downwards. Spread the skin out so there are no creases and folds.
Scrape any flesh and meat from the skin with a sharp knife. Lift the meat from the skin with a scraping motion. Pull the meat away carefully so as not to tear the skin.
Place the scraped hide in a plastic tub. Cover the entire surface of the hide with non-iodized salt until there is approximately a half-inch layer of salt over the hide. Allow the hide to cure for four days. Clean the hide with a wire-bristle brush to remove the dried salt.
Tanning the Sheepskin
Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands from the tanning chemicals. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with 1 pint of salt and 2 ounces of oxalic acid.
Place the sheepskin on the work area with the wool facing downwards. Dip the paint brush into the solution in the 5-gallon bucket and paint the bare side of the hide. Fold the hide in half to keep the hide moist from the solution. Repeat the procedure daily for four days in total.
Fill the washtub with warm water and 2 cups of sodium bicarbonate. Place the hide in the mixture and allow it to soak for approximately 1 hour.
Put on the rubber gloves and remove the hide from the mixture. Empty the washtub and fill the tub with clean water. Mix in a scoop of laundry detergent and submerge the hide in the mixture.
Run your glove-protected hand along the bare side of the hide to rinse the hide. Rinse the hide thoroughly to remove any sodium bicarbonate.
Place the hide in a sunny location to allow it to dry completely. Hold onto one end of the hide while a helper holds the opposite end. Pull on the hide simultaneously with your helper, in opposite directions, to stretch the hide. Repeat this procedure daily until the hide is completely dry. Be sure to stretch all four sides of the hide.
Apply glycerin saddle soap to the hide. Rub the soap in thoroughly.
Related Sciencing Articles
How to Get a Tan With Fair Skin
Tanning Fair Skin
My skin is naturally very pale, and while I’m very much at ease with my genetic predicament, there are moments when I would like to don a more sun-kissed look. I spent years half-dreading my Italian summers as I would irrevocably draw a little tragi-comic attention on the beaches and piazzas.
Beyond my insecurity, a little research made the objective of having healthy, tanned skin not only achievable, but quite easy to attain as well. This article is a summary of methods and solutions that truly work, for any type of skin (if it works for me, it’ll work for you — trust me), and whatever the weather. Some methods will involve a great deal of patience, and will need to be fit into a routine, others are near-instant but will have their own set of pros and cons.
Protecting Fair Skin
Before we begin looking at what methods may suit you on your quest on how to get a tan with fair skin, here’s a brief and concise look at how to make sure our skin also remains healthy in the short and long-term.
- Ideally, pale skin should be constantly protected with sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rating of at least 30.
- Even under a newly refreshed layer of sunscreen, limit sun exposure to before 10am and after 4pm to avoid burning and damaging the skin.
- Make sure your sunblock is capable of blocking both UVA and UVB radiation.
- If you burn in the sun, you’ll burn on a tanning bed.
- Allow some time to pass between tanning sessions.
- Skin that is more often covered will be more likely to burn.
- Spray-on DIY tans do not increase your skin’s ability to withstand the sun and tan more easily.
Is It All Doom And Gloom?
Aside from the risk of skin damage and cancer, many people who use sunbeds claim they offer secondary benefits which make it worth all the hassle. Exposure to sun-mimicking UVB rays can lead to a sense of relax and well-being, as well as be used as an effective cure for some forms of dermatitis and psoriasis.
Sunbeds, Myth Or Option?
Sunbeds are something of a mixed bag with regards to tanning fair skin. On the one hand it can, if done patiently and sensibly, lead to natural, long-lasting results, but on the other it presents many of the same risks that traditional tanning entails. If you are every-bit as fair-skinned as I am, chances are, sunbeds should not be considered a worthwhile option.
Reports published by the World Health Organization and Cancer Research UK make clear the dangers involved. If you have:
- Freckly skin.
- Skin that burns easily.
- A large quantity of moles.
- Take certain medication that increases your sensitivity to UV sunlight.
- Are underage.
Then there are important cancer risks to consider. If you decide to go on anyway, limiting your sessions to a few minutes and gradually increasing over the course of weeks, and taking 24 to 48 hour intervals between tans can lead to a decent healthy-looking tan. But remember that it is only healthy-looking, any sign of redness indicates damage to the skin.
Fake Tans (Sprays And Lotions)
The idea that naturally tanned skin is healthier is a common myth, and easily dispelled with a little research. For many of us, contemporary fake tanning agents are fantastic opportunities in that they allow us to shake up our look without damaging our skin. Many people are now catching on and employing them as part of their everyday cosmetic routine (roughly 9% of people in the U.S use self-tanners).
There are many ways to avoid looking cheap with a fake tan, here are a few options:
- Dyes — These are natural vegetable dyes that stain the skin in authentic looking tones which fade over the course of a few days.
- Bronzers — Unlike dyes, these wash off with soap and water giving you a great deal more flexibility.
- Tan Catalyzers — Claim to speed up tanning by stimulating melanin production (I have not tried these myself).
- Beauty Salons — Can use high-quality sprays to uniformly achieve a perfect, customized tan. Can be expensive!
Bear in mind that while you may marvel and strut around proudly in the sun with your new «tan», artificial tans offer no additional protection from the sun! You will need to continue to use high-protecting SPF sunscreen. Here are a few examples of popular products for the fair-skinned (I threw together some of Amazon’s best-selling offers, though I urge you to do your own research).
The Sun Itself
Achieving a solid tan on fair skin involves taking it easy. Getting a mild burn is absolutely not required to get some color, in fact, it is counter-productive. If you’re getting red, you’re going too fast. As I’ve already mentioned, as a rule of thumb do not attempt to bravely soak in the sun between 10am and 4pm, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. Instead, try the following tips:
- Refresh your 30 SPF sunscreen every two hours. Make sure it’s still on when you come back from a swim.
- Prevent flaking by keeping your skin moisturized at all times, especially after a day on the beach.
- Certain kinds of beach foods are claimed to enhance tans (beetroot, carrots, oranges), I have no experience with this personally.
- If in doubt remember that you can tan in the shade!
I hope this article has been of help, and was not an overly depressing read (it certainly wasn’t my intention)!. If you have any personal tips to share please do so in the comment section, thanks!