Beauty Buzz: Ask Amy

Dear Amy,

Shorts weather is right around the corner and my legs are way too white. I don’t have time to tan by the pool, and I don’t want to risk skin cancer. What are the best alternatives for those of us who are pasty white but still want to look good in shorts?

Dear Pasty,

Oh, how I long for the tanned skin of my youth! Wasn’t it great to be blissfully unaware that the sun could actually be a bad thing? We’re older and wiser now, and, although there’s been a lot in the media lately about the importance of vitamin D, the truth is that sun exposure can damage our skin and make us look older. The only “safe” tan is a fake one. There are great self-tanning lotions out there in all price ranges. Clarins, Lancome and Neutrogena offer excellent choices, and some contain a bronzer that helps with application by allowing you to see where the product is going.

I recently splurged on a professional airbrush tan at an upscale tanning salon. I wanted to see if it was really better than the do-it-yourself variety. It was remarkably natural looking, but it was far from perfect. Plus, it’s a little strange to stand awkwardly in front of a perfectly tanned and toned 20-year-old while she sprays your stretch marks! My friends tell me the Mystic Tan is a better option – you get pretty much the same results for less money and more privacy.

No matter how you get your “tan,” be sure to scrub, scrub, scrub every inch of your body before applying self-tanner and wait several minutes before getting dressed. Also, self-tanner does not protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays, so you still need to wear a sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater. Good luck!

(Dear readers, I’d love to hear about your Mystic Tan, professional airbrush, or do-it-yourself “tans,” so click on the word “comment” below, or send me an e-mail.)


  1. Since you insist of being scared out of the sun and increasing your risk of internal cancers and other diseases, sunless applications by a technician is a much better way of doing it rather than the horrifying experience of using a Mystake Booth.

  2. The best one I’ve found is Arbonne International’s Made in the Shade Self-Tanner with 15 SPF. So you get a tan out of the sun, but have protection when you’re in the sun, too! It doesn’t turn your skin orange, it’s botanically based and it moisturizes your skin. You may discount my suggestion because I am an Arbonne consultant, but TRY IT! Find someone near you to get it from, or, of course I’d love to help you! I sell it because it works!

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