The American Journal of Public Health recommends using a sunless tanner to safely tan fair skin. This creates the desired appearance of a tan without increasing the risk of skin cancer.
According to the American Journal of Public Health, exposure to UV light dramatically raises the risk of skin cancer. Furthermore, the incidence of skin cancer has increased significantly over the past century and this is primarily attributed to the sun, and those with fairier skin are at an even greater risk. Lighter skin has less melanin to absorb the UV rays and protect itself.
However, achieving a sunkissed glow in a safe way is not impossible. Sunless self tanners come in a variety of forms, including lotions, creams, sprays and wipes, and experts agree that they are exponentially safer than the sun or tanning beds. Sunless tanners use the active ingredient dihydroxyacetone to darken the skin. It is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and its effects usually last about 7 to 10 days.
When applying a sunless tanner, exfoliation should be the first step. Next, apply a light moisturizer to ensure that the tan comes out evenly. Apply the self tanner in even stokes, and allow 6 to 8 hours before showering or sweating. To correct a mistake after application, rub half a lemon over the area, and buff it out with a wash cloth.