With our society’s fear of sun exposure, people are finding new ways to get that healthy glow and avoid tan lines. Sunless tanners have been the answer for many. But how do they work and are they safe?
How do sunless tanners work?
Typically sunless tanners are sold as lotions, gels, creams and sprays. These are applied to your skin in an attempt to give your skin a healthy “sun-kissed” look without the exposure to damaging UV rays of the sun.
Most commonly the active ingredient in sunless tanning products is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). After being applied to your skin, the DHA reacts with your skin’s dead cells as a way to temporarily darken your skin’s appearance. This color will not wash off, but instead fade as the dead skin sloughs off – normally within a few days.
Are sunless tanners safe?
With the active ingredient DHA being approved by the FDA for topical treatments, it has not been approved for use in spray tan booths. This is because when sprayed you are not only receiving DHA on your skin, but you are also inhaling the spray. With the dangers of DHA ingestion unknown, it’s best to protect your eyes, nose and lips when being sprayed.
Yet with a sunless tan you are giving off the illusion of good health when in reality you have had no health benefits from the sun. The human body makes vitamin D when sunlight hits our exposed skin. There are some amazing benefits of sun exposure that we are eliminating by choosing a sunless tan.
For those with significant personal or environmental risk factors for skin damage and skin cancer caused by the sun’s UV rays, a sunless tanner might be the only safe way to get that tanned look. Those with fair skin or are prone to sunburns could significantly benefit by this alternative in avoiding sun exposure in an attempt for the sun-kissed tanned look our society favors.
As each sunless tanner is different, you’ll need to take the time and do your research. Find out what’s really in that sunless tanner you are about to use. The best for your skin would include only organic ingredients. Take care of your skin as it is your body’s biggest organ.
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