I've been asked many times about my opinion on Self Tanning Lotions vs. Airbrush Tans. Years ago when airbrush tanning did not excist, I would have told you that self tanning cream/lotions is the way to go because it was the safer way to get a tan. But now I really strongly believe that Airbrush Tanning is the better way to get a tan.
Before Airbrush Tanning existed I used to always use Sunless tanning lotions. It was great and at that time my favorite sun tanning lotion was the Bare Mineral Faux Tan brand as it looked really natural and did not have a strong self tanner smell. I used it frequently and sometimes daily, but I did notice that my skin was getting really dry and I had to use a lot of lotion twice a day (without self tanner) to get the moisture back into my skin.
Then when I learned about Airbrush Tanning I was amazed that it lasted longer then a week on me. It lasts longer on me because I have extreme white skin. I can really say that I glow in the dark :-)
Sunless lotions or self tanning lotions and also the solution we use for airbrush tanning contains all DHA and the one negative thing about DHA is that it dry's out your skin and this is why I would recommend airbrush tanning over using self tanning lotions.
When you use self tanning lotions on a daily basis you are exposing your skin to the DHA daily which dry's out your skin. But when you are airbrush tanning, since the airbrush tans lasts for 7-10 days, you only need to come once a week to get a fresh new airbrush tan and your skin is only exposed to the DHA for 1 day. The rest of the days you are using lotions to revive your skins with moisture.
I hope that explains why I would always recommend Airbrush Tanning over Self Tanning creams/lotion. Of couse if you don't have anyone to refer to for Airbrush Tanning, I would definately recommend the self tanning creams over tanning beds.