Ingredients of Sunless Tanners

Ingredients of Sunless TannersSun 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

Most of the best sunless tanners have the following ingredients:

  1. DHA

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 drying 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.

  1. Erythrulose

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. You might rarely 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.

  1. Canthaxanthin

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 the 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. Please note that they should follow the recommendations of the FDA (no contact with mucous membranes and no swallowing).

There are other options available too. But DA strongly recommends that you do not use these options as they have a history of health problems associated with them.

How to Apply a Sunless Tan Evenly

Sunless tanners are a great way to make sure you avoid the health risks of extended sun exposure. They pose no known risk of skin cancer, and they do not cause any permanent damage to your skin that will affect your health or appearance in the long term.

One of the most common concerns that people have about using these sunless tanning lotions is that their tan will look uneven. Indeed, these creams are not perfect – they do not evenly distribute the tan all over your body the way that the sun does.

You might ask, why. This is because it is difficult to perfectly measure the lotion the same way that the sun is dispersed in the air. Still, there are ways to make sure that your sunless tan looks correct and generally streak-free on your body.

how to apply spray tan

Tips for Improving The Appearance of Your Sunless Tan

Even if you have the best sunless tanning products, you have to follow these steps no matter what:

  • Shower and Exfoliate First

No amount of measurement can make up for the problems that may occur if you do not shower and exfoliate before applying the sunless tanner.

Dead skin is never even on your skin, and the sooner that the dead skin is removed, the better your tan will look. You also need to make sure that all lotions and makeups have been removed as well so that they do not interfere with the lotion.

  • Start from the Bottom

The best way to start is to work your way up from your feet. You want to make sure that your tan is properly dispersed and measured.

If you start from the top and work your way down, you risk “thinking” that you covered a part of your body correctly even though you may not have applied enough to that area.

  • Use Two Mirrors

It is helpful for applying your sunless tanner if you can see all sides of your body as you are applying it.

Double mirrors help a great here. You can easily apply the lotion to your back without worrying about if you are missing a spot.

  • Go Slow, Use the Right Amount of Lotion

Don’t try to hurry for the application. Measure the appropriate amount from the start and then slowly apply it to your body.

Going slow is the only way to make sure that you reach every part of your body and get the all-over tan you are looking for.

  • Let the Tan Set In

Finally, once you have applied the tan, give it time to do its job. If you rush to put on clothes or shower, you are going to spread and remove the tan before it has had a chance to do its job.

The instructions on the gel will tell you how long it takes before you can remove any excess lotion – take your time and make sure that the lotion is properly placed on your body and has had a chance to work its magic.

If you adhere to all of the tips above, your tan should look as impressive as you want it to look. Follow the above tips, and your tan will likely shine.

Benefits of Sunless Tanning

Over the past few years, sunless tanning has gained amazing popularity.

This popularity has shot up exponentially, as only a decade ago sunless tanning was a rarity and often avoided by the general public. So what changed with sunless tanning? Why has it become so popular in the last few years?

sunless tanning benefits

The Rise in Popularity

  1. Health Concerns Over Sun Tanning

Though the link between skin cancer and sun damage has been known for some time, it was not until recently that it has been so widely publicized.

Experts everywhere are warning that even mild sun damage can vastly increase your risk for skin cancer and that the tan itself is a sign that you are already receiving more damage than your skin can handle.

As a result, men and women across the country have begun switching to sunless tanning in order to decrease that risk and improve their overall long term health.

  1. Healthier Skin

In addition to skin cancer risk, sun damage can cause the appearance of premature aging. Lines and wrinkles from tanning are nearly impossible to remove.

But sunless tanning does nothing to your skin, so you can continue to use it over a long period of time without worrying about whether or not your skin will suffer as a result.

  1. Less Orange

Not long ago, sunless tanning caused some almost hilarious color problems. Those that received a sunless tan were widely recognizable because the tan itself would look far more orange than tan, leading to a number of jokes at the recipient’s expense.

But since then the tanning products have become far more realistic, and the visual difference between a sunless tan and a real tan are virtually nil.

  1. Easier Application

Another problem with sunless tanning was that the tan was prone to streaking. That streaking would make the skin look more dirty than tan because there would be random splotches of normal skin color littered in between the tan skin.

But the lotions have improved dramatically since then, making it far easier to ensure that your skin gives off a healthy tan appearance without streaks.

  1. More Options

Finally, there are a variety of tanning options available. It used to be a select few types available at tanning salons. But since then they have improved a great deal, and now there are different types of sunless tanning available at both tanning salons and at home.

In addition, there is much greater control over the color of your tan, so that now you can get a light tan or a dark tan depending on your preference.

Overall, there have been a number of different chances to sunless tanning that have resulted in its rapid increase in popularity. Though sunless tanning may never take over sun tanning and tanning booths in terms of overall use until the day that they can provide longer-term tans, for now, they are going to continue to grow in popularity as the risks of sun tanning become more and more well known.

Can I combine a sunless tan with a regular tan?

Sunless tanning has quickly become the most popular method of reducing skin damage while still maintaining a sexy and healthy tan. It provides you with the same color as a regular tan without the need to spend any time in the sun.

But sunless tanning is also not permanent, which is why people still prefer to suntan instead. Sunless tanning lasts only four or five days on average before it has completely faded away, and even the best sunless tanning options last only approximately 2 weeks.

Sunless tanning is a great way to get a dark tan quickly, but it is not something that is going to last unless you reapply the color every few days.

That is why some people try to combine the two options – use getting a good tan from tanning booths to create darker skin, and then get an effective suntan so that the tan color becomes longer lasting. It’s an interesting theory, but does it work?

Can I combine a sunless tan with a regular tan?

Sunless Tanning and Sun Tanning

As far as overall safety is concerned, sunless tanning and sun tanning are independent. That means that you can use a sunless tanner and then tan in the sun, and the suntan will not have any effect on the sunless tanner.

With the exception of some rare allergies and possible skin irritation, there is no reason that if you use sunless tanner you cannot also suntan. The two are not related and will not affect each other.

However, it should be noted that if you are tan with a sunless tanner, that does not mean that you can spend more time in the sun. Quite the contrary, there are reasons that you should be even more careful.

Dangers of Combining Both Methods

In general, a suntan acts as a defense from harsh sun rays. The tanner you are, the longer you can spend in the sun without burning. But sunless tanners are not real tans.

When you tan from the sun, the UV rays are going deep within your skin, affecting the bottom layers. But sunless tanner only affects the top layers. As a result, tans from sunless tanning lotions do not provide even a single bit of protection from the sun’s rays.

The two are not related, so if you had fair skin before applying the sunless tanner, and you spend a great deal of time in the sun, you are going to get a severe burn, no matter how dark your skin appears.

In addition, normally when you have fair skin you can see warning signs that you are in the process of burning, such as light pink skin. But because you have the sunless tanner, you may not be able to see the pink hue of your skin and suffer a tremendous burn because of it.

In that sense,     sunless tanning may be slightly more dangerous, though the tanning itself has no effect on your burning.

So if you choose to use both it is safe to combine the methods (or, at least, no less safe than sun tanning in general), but make sure you are very careful because your newly applied sunless tan will not protect you from the sun’s rays.

Problems With Sunless Tanning

Sunless tanning products are excellent ways to give yourself tan skin without having to subject yourself to harsh UV rays. They are safe for almost everyone that uses them, and they have undergone enough scientific experiments that they now work very effectively and are able to provide a completely natural tan appearance without any sun or tanning booths.

But even though these products work well, there are still a variety of problems that may occur if you do not use them correctly. The most common problems are:

  • Unnatural Tan – Usually caused by using too much of the product.
  • Streaky Tan – Usually caused by applying it incorrectly.
  • Flaky Tan – Usually caused by dead/dry skin cells.

Those are the most common problems with sunless tanning, but they are not the only problems. Below is a list of additional problems you may experience with your sunless tanners and what you can do to prevent them.

Additional Sunless Tanning Problems

  • No Tan

One problem that may occur is that it does not appear any tan has occurred, despite using the product. This may be due to a variety of reasons. First, you may simply have not used enough of the product. If you have a lot of hair, or you are very tall/large, or you simply did not put a lot of the product in your hand – all of these may affect whether or not a tan shows up.

In addition, you may have chosen a tanner that is not right for your skin type. If you have already dark skin and are looking to get just a little darker, you cannot use a “light tan” cream. Even though you only want a small change, light tan creams will not show up well against your tan skin.

Also, some sunless tanners require multiple applications and layers before they get fully dark. Check the instructions to ensure that you are placing it on your body correctly.

  • Tan Appears Splotchy, Grouped

It is possible that you will see some very dark spots on your skin. In almost every instance, this occurs because too much of the product was rubbed in those spots. The most common reason for this is accidental reapplication. These colors take a while to come into full effect, and if you believed that perhaps you did not place enough in that spot at the time and reapply, you will find that these areas get darker than the rest of your body.

  • Your Wrinkles Look Dirty

Your body has a lot of wrinkles, and not just the ones that occur on your face as you age. Your knees, elbows, heels and even knuckles have a lot of wrinkles. Color can get caught up in these wrinkles, and dead skin tends to flake often. It is a good idea to fully exfoliate all of these areas, as well as moisturize them before applying the sunless tanner.

By following all of the above tips, you should be able to easily avoid any of these common problems and have a sunless tan that looks perfectly natural.

Bronzers vs. Sunless Tanners

As more of the dangers of sun tanning become known, more and more people are turning to products that provide the color of a tan without any of the sun damage. Thousands of different products are available to help tan your skin without exposing yourself to harsh UV rays. These products tend to come in two different, distinct types:

  • Sunless Tanners
  • Bronzers

Though occasionally these two types of tanning products are used interchangeably, they are actually quite different, and perform very different actions on your skin.

What Are Bronzers?

Bronzers are the most temporary form of tanner available. In many ways bronzers are a type of “skin makeup.” Bronzers are placed on your skin to immediately give your skin a dark glow. Bodybuilders use bronzers to quickly darken their skin for events, while men and women use bronzers when they want to try to get a tan for special events.

Bronzers start washing away the first time you take a shower, and most of the color will fade away after the first day. Within two or three days, there is usually no trace of the bronzer remaining.

What Are Sunless Tanners?

Sunless tanning products work quite differently. Using an ingredient known as DHA, sunless tanners cause a chemical reaction in your skin that stimulates color change, causing your skin to actually be a tan color, rather than simply be painted in a tan color.

Sunless tanners come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Tanning salons have sunless tanning sprays available for those that are interested in having it done professionally. At-home tanning products like lotions and foams are also available for those that would prefer to take self tanning into their own hands. Still, all of these products use the same type of DHA base, so the effect on the skin is generally the same even if the method of application is different.

Sunless tanners are designed for long term use, though like bronzers they still need to be reapplied regularly. While bronzers wash away in the shower, sunless tanners change the color of the top layer of your skin, so the tans fade when you start to shed those layers. They are more comfortable than bronzers and the tans tend to appear more natural. They are not always as useful for rapid tanning however.

Which is Better?

Sunless tanners and bronzers are not the same thing – though some companies market them as though they were. Bronzers are best when you simply want to add color for a specific reason. Some people use bronzers while they are getting their sun tan in order to give off the appearance of a tan while they are building their tan during the summer.

Sunless tanners are used when someone is planning on avoiding the sun, and simply allowing their tan to be the result of a sunless tanning product. Because they do not “wash away” they are far more ideal for long term use.

Choosing a Sunless Tanning Product by Skin Type

Everyone has a different natural skin type. For sun tanning, skin type drastically affects both how you tan, the darkness of your tan, the appearance of your tan, etc. Those that do not tan and freckle, for example, can only experience minimal sun before their appearance drastically changes. Those that tan easily can vary how dark they want to be simply by adjusting how long they’d prefer to spend in the sun.

The same type of tanning management holds true with sunless tanners. The type of sunless tanner you choose has a lot to do with your skin type and your natural physical appearance. Below are examples of how to adjust the type of sunless tanner you use for your skin type.

Skin Types

  1. Doesn’t Tan

For those that don’t tan, a dark tan is likely going to look awkward. Without a natural tan to help provide the dark tan appearance, you are likely going to want to use something that only provides a light, base tan rather than anything that is going to significantly darken your skin. Too dark and you will look unnatural, but a light tan should look perfect.

  1. Very Fair Skin

If you have naturally fair skin, you have a few options. If you have the ability to get a light tan, you may want to use a medium tanner. However, if you look attractive with a light tan, you may want to stick with the light tan without going too far overboard. Much of this will have to do with your hair color. If you have blond hair, blue eyes and a dark tan, you risk the tan looking too fake. However, a light or medium tan should still look acceptable. If you have dark hair, you may be able to pull off a darker tan.

  1. Medium Skin, Tans Easily

For those with naturally darker skin and the ability to tan easily, you have far more options. Choose a sunless tanning product that is more catered to darker skin types. Light tanners are unlikely to be visible against your skin. Still, stay away from bronzers and stick to gradual DHA products. The bronzer may add too much of an orange hue to your already tan skin.

  1. Very Dark Skin

It can be difficult to find a good sunless tanner for very dark skin, because your skin type is often the tan color that other people are striving for. However, a good dark tanner should prove effective in darkening up any areas you are displeased with, though you may need to find specialty self tanners designed for your skin type.

Choosing a Tanning Product For Your Skin

Sunless tanners, especially the effective DHA products, are very good at making your tan look natural. Because they color your skin the same regardless of your natural skin color, even those that are pale with freckles can conceivably get a dark tan. However, the tanner you are compared to your natural skin color, the more you risk the tan looking fake. A light tan can still be extremely attractive, so limit yourself to the way that your natural skin (and your hair and eye color) allows.

What is sunless tanning?

Everyone loves a tan body. Tan skin gives off the appearance of youth and vitality. There is something inherently sexy about people that have tans. Whether it is because tanning hides any skin abnormalities, makes clothes look better, or because it makes your body thinner, there is no denying that tan skin has an effect on both your opinion of your own physical appearance as well as on your social life.

The problem is that traditional sun tanning – and, for that matter, tanning beds – are not considered safe ways to get tan skin. The same UV rays that help your body tan also can cause cancer and premature skin aging. Though the short term benefits of tanning might be nice, the long term problems associated with tanning via the sun make traditional sun tanning not the best option for those that have concerns about their health.

This represents a serious problem – people still want to get a tan, but they do not want to experience the constant risk to their health that sun tanning causes. To deal with this problem, a method of tanning known as “sunless tanning” has been created.

How Does Sunless Tanning Work?

Sunless tanning is the usage of generally safe chemicals (DHA, among others) to create the appearance of a tan on your skin without the need for sun. In a way, these products dye your skin the color of a tan, but require no sun damage in order to create them. Sunless tanners come in a variety of forms. There are at home lotions, as well as sunless tanning stores that spray you with the product in a booth that resembles a shower.

From a strictly health perspective, these sunless tanning options are a huge advantage. They currently have no known cancer risk, they do not cause premature aging, and they create a tan that looks completely natural all over your body.

Why Doesn’t Everyone Use Spray on Tans?

With such a safe and effective method available, it would make sense for everyone to use spray on tans. So why do people still do traditional tanning in the sun and tanning booths?

The reason that more people do not use sunless tanning is because the tans are temporary. Sun tanning occurs at a very base level beneath your skin, which is why a good tan can last a large portion of the summer. But sunless tanning lotions and sprays only affect the outer layer of your skin, and within 2 days to one week, the tans will fade away and need to be replaced. Many people do not like the idea of having to use sunless tanners with such regularity.

Nevertheless, these sunless tanning options are considerably safer than traditional sun tanning. They have no known cancer risk and they do not cause any sun damage. All they do is provide you with a natural looking tan. Provided you are willing to commit to these sunless tanning options, they are a far safer option than tanning in the sun.

How to Tan With a Sun Allergy

Some people are born with or develop allergies to the sun’s rays. These allergies can differ in severity considerably, but most people that develop an allergy either become itchy or red upon exposure to the sun. There are also different types of “sun allergies” including Polymorphous Light Eruption, which is not necessarily a sun allergy but more of a sun sensitivity.

Regardless, there is no denying that some people itch when they are exposed to too much sun. For those that itch, it can be difficult to try to get tan, because the best way of tanning is with sun exposure.

For those that have skin allergies, there are tanning solutions. They are not as permanent as sun tanning, but there are ways to get the tan that you want.

Sunless Tanning Options

Your only true choice if you have a skin allergy is to do sunless tanning. There are a variety of sunless tanning options including:

  • Tanning sprays.
  • Tanning lotions.
  • Tanning creams.

And a variety of other salon and non-salon tanning treatments. Skin allergies are almost exclusively due to UV rays, and these sunless tanning options allow you to bypass UV rays and still receive the tan you want.

Will it Look Real?

Long ago, sunless tanners were not nearly as effective, often causing an almost hilarious orange appearance that gave them a bad name. But since then the science behind them has undergone a number of changes, and now they have a much easier time of achieving the visible results you are looking for. You still have to make the right choices with regard to your sunless tanners, but assuming you do, you should be happy with the results.

What are the Drawbacks?

The only true drawbacks of these sunless tanners are that they tend to not last nearly as long as true suntans. The average sunless tanning lotion or spray lasts approximately 10 days at best, and even then they undergo a great deal of fading. In order to reduce this, you can simply reapply the lotions regularly, but this is hardly a perfect solution, and at any given point you can stop using the cream and lose your tan completely. There are also several issues that may occur with streaking, and it takes a fair degree of accuracy on your part to keep your tan looking healthy.

However, for those with skin allergies, these tanning options are really the only safe and effective way to get your skin the dark color you are looking for. They have the ability to create darker skin, they do not affect the health of your skin, and they are able to do all of this without subjecting you to the sun’s UV rays. When you suffer from a sun allergy, you can risk serious itching and skin problems by basking in the sun’s rays, but why subject yourself to the symptoms of your allergy when sunless tanners will provide you with the same look without any of the harsh sun.