Sunless tanning lotion, how does it work?

Sunless tanning lotions are a prime example of the many different alternatives to indoor or outdoor sun tanning.

Since the release of the Quick Tanning lotion from Coppertone®, people have been able to get their tans out of bottles. Most people would associate this “tan” with an extremely orange hue. Since that time, the industry that produces sunless tanning lotions has taken huge leaps and bounds in the sunless tanning front.

Nowadays, you can find a variety of sunless tanning products or self tanning products such as bronzers, lotions, towels, sprays and even pills. These products can be smoothed, wiped and sprayed onto your skin to give you that great tan without the exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Most of these products take 45 minutes to about an hour for you to see any obvious effects.

How do these sunless tanning lotions work?

As stated by the American Academy of Dermatology, or the AAD, the most successful tanning lotions available are those that list dihydroxyacetone or DHA as their main ingredient.

A type of sugar, DHA reacts with the dead skin cells on the topmost layer of the skin’s epidermis. The skin has two main layers; these are the epidermis and the dermis.

The epidermis is the outside layer of the skin. This layer is the most affected when it comes to tanning. The epidermis itself is also divided into layers, the basal layer (stratum basale) which is the layer affected by sun tanning, and the horny layer (stratum corneum), the epidermis’ outer layer.

As the DHA combines with the dead cells, a change in color happens. This color change usually remains for about five to seven days starting from the initial application.

The body sheds millions of dead cells every single day. The skin wears away at a rather fast rate; this is why most tans achieved from sunless tanning lotions eventually fade. Since your tan wears away together with the dead skin cells, you will need constant reapplication of sunless tanning lotions for you to be able to maintain your tan.

Self tanning lotions prevents skin cancer

Self tanning lotions come highly recommended since they stimulate the production of melanin, thereby producing a darker tan at a faster rate. These sunless tanning lotions are effective. And they also present a lesser risk of developing skin cancers and other skin disorders caused by constant or over exposure to the sun or ultraviolet radiation.

The use of sunless tanning lotions, however, also has its consequent drawbacks. Some people might find themselves allergic or easily affected by some of the ingredients found in sunless tanning lotions.

To avoid having any serious and untoward incidents, try to test the sunless tanning lotion on a small patch of your skin before using it on your entire body.

Apply a small amount of the tanning lotion to a small section of your skin and wait to see for its reaction. If you notice anything undesirable about your skin’s reaction to the lotion, then don’t use the lotion.

Recommendations about using tanning lotions

These lotions are also not formulated for the sensitive areas of your face like the nose, eye area and the mouth. Also, try to avoid ingesting any amount of the tanning lotion, however small it may be.

Dihydroxyacetone is not recommended for internal use. In addition, remember to prevent the lotion from having any contact with mucous membranes. What’s more, remember to follow directions strictly.

Most dermatologists also recommend the application and the use of sun block lotions. Most sunless tanning lotions only have a low sun protection factor and may not be able to protect your skin effectively from the UVA and UVB rays emitted by the sun.