With Labor Day around the corner, summer months are coming to a close. But for Las Vegas brides, the sun is still shining. With this comes the temptation to leave behind pale skin in favor of a healthy tan. Here are several options for ladies looking to give their skin a golden glow for their upcoming Las Vegas weddings.

Some of my bridesmaids and I tried three of these tanning methods.
Among us, some of my bridesmaids and I tried three of these tanning methods.

1. Natural Sunlight Tan

Pros: Sun exposure lets your body absorb Vitamin D while enhancing your skin tone, specific to your natural coloring.

Cons: If you spend too much time in the sun, your skin can burn badly and peel, often causing skin damage.

Tips: Prior to tanning outside, moisturize and exfoliate your skin. Thirty minutes before you go outside, apply a light waterproof sunscreen, between SPF 6 to SPF 40 depending on the fairness of your skin, to protect against harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. While tanning, alternate between lying on your back and your stomach every fifteen minutes. Don’t tan for more than forty-five minutes at a time, if that. Have a girlfriend or your fiancé tan with you, so you can keep an eye on each other to avoid burning.  As soon as you go indoors, apply aloe vera, such as Banana Boat’s Soothing Aloe After Sun Gel, available at drug stores.

2. Tanning Bed

Pros: You’re able to control your UV ray exposure, resulting in your ideal tan.

Cons: Too much too fast results in an unnatural color and potential skin damage.

Tips: Start attending a tanning salon weeks before your wedding. First, exfoliate your skin. Then, apply a moisturizer with little or no bronzer to allow your skin to better absorb the UV rays. If you usually burn easily in sunlight, start with a low time, such as six minutes for a 20-minute tanning bed. Gradually increase your time and frequency of visits. Consult Las Vegas tanning salon professionals, such as Scandals Salon and Spa, for tanning bed treatments specific to your skin tone.

3. Self-Tanning Lotion or Spray

Pros: You’ll gain a tan without exposure to harmful UV rays, which can lead to skin cancer and leather-texture skin.

Cons: If not accurately applied, self-tanner can create an uneven skin tone, through streaking, splotches, or an orange tint.

Tips: Purchase a brand that allows you to darken over time, rather than a one-hit wonder. To avoid uneven patches, exfoliate your skin first. For applying lotion, wear thin latex gloves to avoid dying the palms of your hands. Begin experimenting with these products months before your wedding day. My bridesmaids recommended Jergen’s Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer for excellent, natural color (with a slightly unpleasant odor during application) that deepens with daily application, or Victoria’s Secret Bare Bronze spray for a dark, rich tan (with a few streaks) with instant results. If a product doesn’t work well for you, gently exfoliate and cleanse to gradually remove self-tanner.

4. Airbrush Tan

Pros: You can achieve your ideal skin tone through this dermatologist-recommended tan method, without exposure to skin-damaging rays or mistakes from do-it-yourself methods.

Cons: You have to rely on someone else to create your tan, so choose a trustworthy professional who listens to what you want for your color.

I felt so beautiful at my Las Vegas wedding!
I felt stunning at my Las Vegas wedding!

Tips: Before receiving a professional airbrush tan, shower and shave. Many salons also recommend you should not apply deodorant or lotion to ensure an even tan. Wear you hair up, and wear dark, loose-fitting clothing and flip flops. For the tanning process, bring along a bandeau bikini or undergarments that you don’t mind having discolored, if you aren’t comfortable with a “no tan lines” option. After tanning, use a barrier cream to stop toes and elbows from absorbing too much tanning liquid. Wait several hours before exposing your skin to water. Ask your airbrush professional for best post-application techniques, as they may vary.

Final Thoughts

Now you can bask in the light of wedding day camera flashes without worrying if your skin color will match your wedding dress. Just keep in mind that it’s best to enhance, not alter, your natural skin tone. When you look back at your wedding day photos, you want to look your best. More importantly, you want to look like you. While being tanned is beautiful, remember that your everyday, natural color is what grabbed your groom’s attention. As you prepare for your Las Vegas wedding, here’s one last tip to keep in mind and your groom knows it to be true: No matter what, you are beautiful.

Author: Allyson Siwajian © 2010

Photographs: Jamison Frady of Quiet Art Photography © 2010