Sun tanning has long been a part of our society. Millions of men and women all over the country use tanning as a way to enhance their skin color and improve their overall appearance. Unfortunately, over the past decade, the dangers of sun tanning have become more and more well-known. Every year, the link between sun damage (tanning) and skin cancer becomes stronger, and dermatologists the world over have begun strongly recommending that you stay away from long-term sun exposure under all circumstances.
Because tans continue to be so popular, people instead turn to sunless tanning as their way of ensuring that they get a tan without the dangers caused by the sun. These sunless tanning options provide the same tan appearance without any of the harsh skin damage of the sun or tanning booths. Though most sunless tanners use the same products, there are actually different main ingredients found in different types of sunless tanning options.
Ingredients in Sunless Tanners
The most common and most effective sunless tanner is an ingredient known as DHA, or “Dihydroxyacetone.” DHA causes an interesting chemical reaction to your dead skin cells that give them the same appearance of tan color without dying your skin. That makes it quite effective and is easily one of the most effective ways to get a sunless tan. It should be noted, however, that many people have allergies to DHA, so you should always test it on a part of your body before you use the product for a long period of time.
Erythrulose is very similar to DHA. It is slightly less effective, but it works more slowly, which makes the same tan last longer even though it takes longer to start. Rarely will you find an Erythrulose product being used by itself. Rather, you will likely find it combined with DHA in an attempt to get the tan to last longer.
Canthaxanthin was once a very popular ingredient in sunless tanners. However, the product no longer has FDA approval as many side effects were found that caused damage and irritation to skin, the digestive system, the liver and more. In some countries, you will still find Canthaxanthin being used, but it is no longer recommended.
DHA and Erythrulose
There are other types of tanning agents available. Bronzers, for example, is more of a sunless tanning “makeup” as they can be washed off by water, but they are still useful if you need a dark tan for a single day. In addition, melanin hormone products are being developed that will possibly stimulate tan skin without the need for sun. But for now, the only two effective and well known sunless tanning ingredients are going to be DHA and Erythrulose, with DHA being the main ingredient.
DHA is going to be the safest option available provided it is used in a manner that is recommended by the FDA (no contact with mucous membranes and no swallowing). There are other options available, but it is strongly recommended by the FDA that you do not use these options as they have a history of health problems associated with them.