Eat Your Way To A Better Tan

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Jill McLean has worked within the luxury sunless tanning industry for over 5 years. Working for a global tanning brand in their international business team, she had the opportunity to travel to New York, Miami, the UK and Europe as an educator and tanning expert. Now operating under a freelance basis for a top tanning brand, Jill currently runs her own spray tan business on the North Coast of Northern Ireland providing women with a Hollywood style natural glow for weddings and events.

Today I find myself extremely passionate on opening peoples’ eyes to a holistic approach to their beauty regime. It is intrinsically linked to your health and lifestyle choices, and therefore is incredibly important. Skin is the largest organ in your body and will directly reflect what’s happening on the inside. When your body and skin are healthy, then in turn, the result of your tan will always be great!

There seem to be two categories of ‘the disillusioned’ that I have come across. There are those who to eat greasy, fatty foods everyday without a single vegetable crossing their lips and expect to have spot free skin, because they use a good face wash. Secondly, those who eat well and nourish their bodies with a balanced diet, but don’t wash their make-up off properly at night and don’t know their day cream from their night cream. Of course these are two extremes, and I’m betting most of us fall somewhere in the middle as we try to constantly better ourselves and meet our healthy eating and skin routine goals.

I know from personal experience that when I eat less dairy and sugar that my skin appears clearer and in much better condition. You may differ, but speaking from my own journey into learning about my skin; the key thing I want to pass onto you is to be aware of what your skin is telling you, and listen to it. If it flares up with pimples, redness or even dryness after eating certain kinds of foods, note it down. After a few weeks you may notice a pattern which could help you make a few adjustments and then perhaps enjoy the skin you never thought you could have!

Below I have shared 3 key ingredients which can improve the quality and depth of your tan and overall health of your skin:

Vitamin A
I have learned so much in the past year about this incredible overlooked skin food! Known for its antioxidant properties, this super-vitamin fends of the signs of ageing and plays a key role in collagen production. What more could you wish for? I apply this topically in the form of Retinol by The Ordinary a couple of times a week to improve my fine lines, pigmentation and skin texture. I have found amazing results, however the nights I am not using this I apply my Vita Liberata Self Tanning Night Moisture Mask to revive a bit of colour onto my skin. I also take Vitamin A as a supplement in my diet, so I get the benefits of it internally feeding my skin also.

Vitamin C
This one is a great all round skin food and so easily accessible. Acting as a powerful antioxidant, it helps your skin fight against free-radicals. Grab an extra carton of oranges in your next weekly shop, or plan recipes to include lesser known high vitamin C vegetables such as red and green peppers, broccoli and kale.

A little tip: If you live locally to a Lidl store, they have recently stocked clementines from Spain (with the leaves still on them). They are much deeper in colour – almost turning red – and are seriously flavourful compared to the usual supermarket variety. Yum!

This is a buzzword you need to know if you are all about safe sunless tanning. All self tans contain the ingredient DHA which reacts with the proteins on the surface of your skin changing the colour of the epidermis transforming you from Tilda Swinton to Beyonce in under 12 hours! One of the most important amino acids for this reaction to occur is Lysine. This is something that your body does not produce naturally, therefore you must get it from a balanced diet. Lysine-rich foods include: lean beef, chicken, fish, eggs and cheese. If you follow a more plant-based diet the best options are: kale, tempeh, lentils, black beans, seeds and avocado.

Other benefits of Lysine (which may perk up your ears) are that it helps to clear acne and is one of the key components of collagen production in the skin. The takeaway from this is that if you are low in lysine, your tan doesn’t have much chance of developing well so you may get a much lighter result than you hoped for. Other factors which can significantly lower your lysine levels include: medication, stress, pregnancy, the menstrual cycle and any illness. There’s a lot more to tanning than most of us think!

If you have any comments or questions please don’t hesitate to contact me, I would love to help you out with any queries.


Jill McLean

Instagram: @thetanstylist
Facebook: Jill McLean Tanning Expert


Please note, the views expressed here are that of the author. Please consult a medical professional before making changes to your diet.

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