Is Fake Tan Safe? Insights from a Dermatologist

Is Fake Tan Safe? Insights from a Dermatologist

Fact: there's no better way to achieve a bronzed babe look than with a fake tan. Instantly enhancing your radiance, a good self-tanning session provides that just-back-from-Bali glow – without the risk of painful sunburn, peeling skin, or awkward tan lines.

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But have you ever considered if your weekly self-tanning routine is really safer than sunbathing? Have you questioned, "Is fake tan safe?" or wondered about any precautions you should take while using it?

To address your concerns and put your mind at ease, here’s advice from Dr. Simon Zokaie, the UK’s top cosmetic dermatologist, on how to tan safely.

Let’s get straight to the point. Is self-tanning safe? 

If you're a fan of fake tanning, we have great news for you. The general consensus among dermatologists is that self-tanners are a safe way to achieve a golden glow, especially when compared to the significant risks of unprotected sun exposure.

"Fake tanning is much safer than using sunbeds or sunbathing, which carry the risk of sunburns, premature aging, and the potential for developing skin cancer in the future," says Dr. Zokaie.

As long as you patch test and avoid known irritants and allergens, self-tanners gel can be used by all skin types, including sensitive ones.

In fact, the only real risk with fake tanning is ending up with an orange tint or an uneven, patchy tan. But don't worry, if you follow our tanning commandments, your glow will be even and golden.


What about DHA? Does it have any side effects?

Most sunless tanners gel and spray tans use the same active ingredient to give your skin its darker hue: DHA. Short for dihydroxyacetone, DHA is a simple sugar that reacts with amino acids in dead skin cells to produce a glowing effect.

While DHA sounds safe enough, you might wonder if it causes any damage to your skin or health. When used correctly and at the right concentration, DHA is considered low risk. Although there have been past concerns about the toxicity of highly concentrated DHA, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its use in self-tanners gel.

At-home tanning products typically contain DHA levels between 3-5%, which are deemed non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. However, it's always wise to follow product directions, apply self-tan in a well-ventilated area, and avoid ingesting the lotion or getting it in your eyes.

Another tip? Opt for a self-tanning product formulated with natural DHA, such as our tanning gel SPF15.

“Some studies have shown that DHA in fake tans can cause DNA damage,” says Dr. Zokaie. “DHA can be synthetically manufactured or derived from natural sources like beet sugar or cane sugar. It's better to use natural DHAs if possible.”

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How to safely (pretend) tan your skin?

When it comes to tanning your skin, should you choose different products to cater to delicate skin?

Dr. Zokaie suggests using dedicated facial tanning products with lower concentrations of tanning actives. He also recommends opting for more natural formulas. Our non-drying, alcohol-free cream peach fragrance intensive boost tanning are crafted with all-natural DHA. These tanning cream are meant to be mixed into your moisturizer for a customizable glow. Enriched with five types of hyaluronic acid, they work to plump, smooth, and hydrate the skin.

Are there any fake tanning ingredients you should avoid?

While fake tan is generally considered safe, not all self-tanners are created equal. Some contain harsh ingredients, cheap chemicals, and allergens that can irritate the skin.

According to Dr. Zokaie, it's essential to avoid certain tanning ingredients:

  • Mineral oil: Derived from petroleum, mineral oil is comedogenic and can potentially be carcinogenic. Despite being used for its cheap carrier properties and spreadability, it's best to steer clear of it.
  • Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate: Often labeled as a 'natural preservative,' this ingredient can be a skin and eye irritant, especially in high concentrations. It may also contain formaldehyde, which can be released when it penetrates the skin.
  • Amyl acetate: Found in the dry-cleaning industry, this ingredient is best avoided due to its potential risks.
  • Octyl stearate: Known to be another irritant, it can also clog pores.
  • Isopropyl myristate: This ingredient, also comedogenic, may bind to nitrates in the body, which are considered carcinogenic.
  • Artificial fragrances and colors: Many fragrances and colors used in tanning products are derived from petrochemicals and may contain carcinogens.

It's important to be mindful of these ingredients when selecting a self-tanner gel to avoid potential skin irritation and other health risks.

Skin Care

How can you take extra care of your skin while self-tanning? 

When it comes to caring for your skin while tanning, Dr. Zokaie has some valuable advice.

"Before applying fake tan gel, it's essential to prep the skin with a gentle exfoliator or scrub," he advises. This step creates a smooth base for the tan, ensuring even application and results.

After tanning, Dr. Zokaie recommends regular moisturizing to prolong the faux glow's lifespan. However, he saves his most critical self-tanning tip for last.

"Remember that sunless tanners do not replace sunscreen. If you're applying them and heading outdoors, sunscreen is a must."

Heed the doctor's advice – fake tan doesn't provide sun protection. Limit sun exposure when the UV Index is high, and always use broad-spectrum SPF!

Is fake tan safe during pregnancy?

Are you expecting and wondering about tanning safety? While most experts approve of fake tanning, it's wise to steer clear of spray tanning due to potential mist inhalation. For additional insights and tips for expectant moms, explore our article on self-tanning during pregnancy.

Self-Tanning Knowledge Expansion

Self-Tanning Knowledge Expansion

  1. Effective Self-Tanning Lotions: Choose self-tanning lotions with natural ingredients for a sun-kissed glow without UV exposure.

  2. Smart Self Tanner Sale: Look out for sales on self-tanning products to save money while achieving a bronzed look.

  3. Men's Self-Tanning Lotions: Men can opt for specially formulated self-tanning lotions for a subtle, natural-looking tan.

  4. Quality Professional Spray Tan: Invest in professional spray tan solutions for salon-quality results at home.

  5. Top Professional Tanning Solutions: Professional-grade tanning solutions provide a natural tan while nourishing the skin.

  6. Effective Tan Intensifiers: Enhance and prolong your tan with products that boost melanin production for a radiant glow.

  7. Long-Lasting Tan Maximisers: Maintain and hydrate your tan with long-lasting tan maximisers for healthy skin.

  8. Safe Sunbed Tan Accelerators: Speed up sunbed tanning safely with accelerators designed for sunbed use.

  9. Perfect Fake Tan Gift Sets: Gift sets containing various self-tanning products are ideal for tan enthusiasts.

  10. Understanding Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) Tanning: Know how DHA works in self-tanning products to achieve even results.

  11. Establishing a Base Tan Safely: Use self-tanning products to build a base tan before sun exposure to prevent sunburn.

  12. Safe Spray Tan Options During Pregnancy: Choose pregnancy-safe spray tan products to maintain a tan without UV exposure.

  13. Gentle Fake Tan Products for Pregnancy: Expectant mothers can use gentle fake tan products formulated for pregnancy.

  14. Safe Fake Tan Usage During Pregnancy: Opt for pregnancy-safe fake tan products to maintain a bronzed look without risks.

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