Sunless tanning lotions or fake tans are probably the only "safe" method of acquiring a tan. While it would be best if attitudes about tans changed and we returned to the fashion of protecting our skin, if you still feel you must have a tan to look good, use sunless tanning lotions to acquire one. This is particularly important for people who have pale skin and light colored eyes - Skin Types I, II or III - but people of all colors should avoid UV exposure.
Sunless tans have been marketed since the 1920's. The "Codytan" appeared in 1929, which was a self-tanning liquid and powder, and during World War II leg makeup helped compensate for a shortage of stockings.
Quick Tanning Lotion or QT was introduced by Coppertone in 1960. This was different from the earlier versions as it did not wash off, it actually changed the color of skin. While a breakthrough in the tanning industry, this product became associated with orange knees and streaky legs.
In 1988 sunless tanning lotion was introduced with better results. As the damaging affects of sun exposure became better known, several other sunless tanning lotions appeared on the market in the form of gels, creams powders and sprays. These can be acquired in most pharmacies or wherever cosmetics are sold.
Fake tans now can be acquired in just minutes by standing in a booth while a machine sprays you with lotion. Or, you may choose the more labor-intensive method of having someone "paint" you with an airbrush. Spray machines can also be purchased so that you can paint yourself at home. The tanned appearance usually lasts from four to six days. Spray tanning salons can be found in hotels, health clubs, malls and even laundry-mats.
Sunless tans are the only "safe" tan as there is no UV exposure. They may help prevent premature aging and skin cancers. However, it is important to remember that the ingredients of fake tans generally do not include sunscreen. The tan will not protect you from UV and you should use still use sunscreen and other sun protection methods.