Melanin is a pigment that gives individuals the colour of their skin. A person who is fair skinned has a small amount of melanin, while an individual of African descent, likely has much more. Genetics dictates how much melanin is produced by melanocytes within the skin cells. Exposure to UV light stimulates the melanocytes to increase melanin production. Tanning, whether in a bed or in the sun, are methods of increasing melanin production. Both must be done correctly in order to avoid UV light's harmful effects.
Apply tanning accelerator at least 15 to 30 minutes before tanning, if desired. The product needs to be absorbed by the skin for maximum results. The accelerator will increase melanin production by the melanocytes, which in turn, makes the tan endure longer.
Set the timer on the tanning bed for three to five minutes. The more fair your skin, the lower the time interval you will want to start at. Tan at this interval for a week.
Increase the tan time by two more minutes, for every week of tanning. If a week of tanning has been skipped, do not increase the interval and stay at the previous week's time. If a month or more has been skipped, start the timer back to the interval where you first began. Starting where you left off can cause burns and skin damage.
Begin using an amplifier instead of the accelerator, when the base tan has been established. An amplifier will amplify the UV light onto the skin. Using an amplifier before establishing a base tan can result in burning for those with fair skin. The accelerator and amplifier can be used together by individuals with naturally darker skin tones.
Graduate the amplifier to the intensifier product, once tanning comes to a plateau. The intensifier directs UV light under the first layer of the skin, so that the melanocytes produce melanin at much higher rates.
Apply a basic skin moisturiser after the end of every tanning session. This helps the skin retain smoothness and keeps it from drying out.
Stay out of the sun from the peaks hours of 10am to 4pm. The sun is at it's strongest then, and it can do the most damage. The UV light will still stimulate melanin production, but you will be less likely to burn.
Apply a sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher, when going out in the peak hours. Apply generously and again every two hours when in sunlight.
Start sun exposure at one hour for a week and increase to two hours per day the second week. Keep increasing time in the sun, until you are able to stay outside, with sunscreen usage, without burning.
Apply a moisturiser after being in the sun to prevent the skin from drying out.