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With summer rapidly approaching, is the thought of short shorts and swimsuits causing you panic attacks? Would you risk skin damage and the possibility of cancer to trade your pasty pale legs for the skin of a bronze goddess? You can have that coveted, glowing skin without the negative side effects.

Self-tanning is no longer a taboo. Sunless tanners have come a long way since the creams that turned your ivory skin bright orange. With the options of creams, gels and mists, you have a lot of possibilities. No matter what brand or form of application you choose, there are tricks and tips to remember that will keep your skin even and natural-looking.

You already know that exfoliation is the key to glowing skin on your face. The same is true for the rest of your body. In order to avoid streaking and uneven color, be sure to buff away excess dead skin cells with a body scrub before applying a sunless tanner. Dead skin cells absorb more tanner than healthy skin, resulting in an unnatural-looking tan. For the face try Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Glow Pad exfoliates while it gives the skin a nice glow.

After exfoliation be sure to moisturize your skin evenly, focusing extra moisture on your knees, ankles and elbows, to avoid extra tanner absorption in those areas.

In order to make it easier to see where you've applied the tanner, use a tinted formula. Bronzing formulas are also great because they give you instant color. You don't have to wait the two to three hours to see results. Avene Moisturizing Self Tanning Lotion allows for a gradual bronze tan while Sun Laboratories Ultra Dark Self Tanning Micro Spray creates a dark, streak-free, sunless tan.

After applying the sunless tanner, use a damp washcloth and lightly wipe off your elbows, ankles and knees, to make sure they don't end up darker than the rest of your body. Be sure to wait the full time listed in the dried completely will stain your clothing and bedding. If you're applying a sunless tanner in the morning, wait a few hours for the tanner to develop before showering to ensure full absorption into your skin.

Now that you know the rules, go ahead and try it. After all, self-tanning is a lot less risky than a sunburn or skin cancer.

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