Does Self-Tanning Cause Skin Damage? Expert Insights

Does Self-Tanning Cause Skin Damage? Expert Insights

Ever wondered if your self-tanner is your skin's best friend or worst enemy? In this must-read article, we’ll dive below the dermis to uncover the truth.

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Good news: Self-tan is the safest way to get a glow on!

According to leading British Cosmetic Dermatologist, Dr Simon Zokaie, self-tanners can be used by all skin types, including sensitive. So long as you patch test and avoid known irritants and allergens.

“Fake tanning is safer than using sunbeds or sunbathing which has the risk of sunburns and premature photo aging and risk of developing skin cancer in the future,” says Dr Zokaie. BRB, just grabbing our Best Self Tanning Lotion For Face!

What's the deal with DHA in fake tanning?

The main active in self-tanning products, DHA is the ingredient that courts the most concern. Short for Dihydroxyacetone, this colorless sugar interacts with the amino acids in the outermost layer of the skin, or stratum corneum. 

When applied topically, DHA reacts with these amino acids to produce pigments called melanoidins, which impart a brownish color to the skin. This process, known as the Maillard reaction, typically occurs within a few hours of application and results in a temporary tan that lasts for several days.

But is this bronzing magic harmless, or does it come with a health cost?

DHA-DNA and Skin Damage Dilemma 

While some studies suggest that DHA causes DNA damage under certain conditions, the results are far from conclusive. And it's important to note that the concentration of DHA used in self-tanning products is typically much lower than the concentrations used in laboratory studies.

DHA is generally considered safe for use in self-tanning products, and the concentration in over-the-counter self-tanners typically ranges from around 3% to 15%. In the US, 15% is the maximum concentration recommended by the FDA in home tanning products to ensure safety and effectiveness while minimizing the risk of adverse reactions or uneven tanning. (There is no regulation in Australia.)

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According to Dr Zokaie, the source also matters. “DHA can be manufactured synthetically, or it can be derived from natural things, like beet sugar or cane sugar. It’s better to use natural DHAs if possible.”

Not sure where to find one? Look no further than our Best Gradual Self Tanner For Fair Skin and Best Indoor Tanning Lotion For Fair Skin – formulated with 100% natural DHA! Bursting with antioxidants, our Tanning Mist also fights free radical damage while boosting collagen production by 93% (based on in vitro testing conducted with vegetal extract).

Ingredients to steer clear of

According to Dr Zokaie, some tanning ingredients are best avoided. His recommends steering clear of products containing:

  • Mineral oil – used to improve spreadability, mineral oil is comedogenic and can be carcinogenic.

  • Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate – in high concentrations, this ‘natural preservative’ can irritate the skin and eyes.

  • Amyl acetate – an ingredient used in the dry-cleaning business that has no place on your skin.

  • Octyl stearate – another comedogenic ingredient and potential skin irritant.

  • Isopropyl myristate – a comedogenic ingredient that may bind to carcinogenic nitrates in the body.

  • Alcohol – has drying properties that can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation.

  • Artificial fragrances and colours – some chemicals used to create scents are known carcinogens.

Dry skin drama

Fact: fake tan can be drying. Many self-tanning products contain alcohol, which serves as a solvent and helps the product to dry quickly upon application. Because, let’s face it, who wants to sit around marinating in a sticky tan? 

While alcohol can provide a smooth and even finish, it also has drying properties that can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. Using too much self-tanner or applying it too frequently can also overwhelm the skin and leave it dry as a bone. So, give your skin a time out before reapplying, and opt for alcohol-free formulas – like ours!

Also keep an eye out for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin and Vitamin E. Or, in the case of our Best Self Tan Moisturiser, Hyalurosmooth™ – a powerhouse plant extract that’s four times more hydrating than HA!

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Fragrance, allergies and irritation

All tanning formulas and tanners differ, and some people may be sensitive or allergic to the DHA, synthetic fragrances, preservatives, or other ingredients used in self-tanning products. These can irritate the skin and contribute to dryness, redness and itching, particularly in those with sensitive skin.

As well as avoiding any known allergens, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test on a small area of skin before applying the product all over your body!

No sun protection is included!

It's important to remember that self-tanners do not provide any protection against the harmful effects of UV radiation from the sun. Even if you have a tan from a self-tanner, you still need to use sunscreen when going outside to protect your skin from sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature aging!

The final glowdown on fake-tanning & skin damage

Self-tanning is a safer option than sun exposure or a tanning bed. However, it's vital to use these products responsibly and be aware of any potential sensitivities, making sure to patch test first. 

Then, to get your faux-glow on without dry or streaky-looking skin, stick with natural DHA and alcohol-free products formulated with hydrating ingredients. Like those in our cute and convenient Tan Masters Set – where you'll save on all your safe tanning essentials!

Relevant knowledge expansion

The Best Way to Self Tan

When it comes to achieving that perfect sun-kissed glow, the best way to self-tan is to opt for products formulated with natural ingredients. Look for self-tanners that offer a best natural-looking fake tan without the risk of turning orange.

Best Self Tanner for Pregnancy

For expectant mothers, choosing the best self-tanner for pregnancy is crucial. Selecting products that are pregnancy-safe and free from harmful chemicals ensures both the safety of the mother and the baby.

Best Self Tanner on Amazon

For convenient shopping, explore the best self-tanner on Amazon. With a wide range of options and customer reviews, Amazon offers a convenient platform to find the perfect self-tanning solution for your needs.

Natural Gradual Tanner

If you prefer a more gradual tan, consider using a natural gradual tanner. These products provide a subtle tan over time, allowing for a more controlled and natural-looking result.

No Orange Self Tanner

Avoiding an orange-toned tan is a common concern when using self-tanners. Look for no orange self-tanner options that promise a flawless, bronzed complexion without any unwanted hues.

Best Easy Self Tanner

For those seeking an effortless tanning experience, opt for the best easy self-tanner. These products are designed for quick and easy application, perfect for busy lifestyles.

Travel Self Tanner

Traveling? Don't forget to pack your travel self-tanner! Look for travel-size tanning mousse or other compact options to maintain your glow on the go.

Best Selfless Tanner

Choose a best selfless tanner that not only enhances your skin tone but also prioritizes skin health. Look for products formulated with hydrating ingredients and natural DHA to achieve a beautiful tan without compromising skin integrity.

In conclusion, self-tanning is a safe alternative to sun exposure or tanning beds, but it's essential to choose products wisely. Opt for best natural-looking fake tan options that are pregnancy-safe and free from harmful chemicals. With the right approach and products, you can enjoy a beautiful tan while maintaining healthy skin.

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