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Self-tanners : Are They Safe ?

Have you ever wanted a nice deep tan but always end up getting a bad sunburn instead? Good news is there’s a product to help you get that glow you’ve always wanted. Welcome to the world of Self-tanners.

Self-tanners have always been a great alternative for getting that sun-kissed glow without exposing your skin to the damaging UV rays of the sun. They come in different forms such as lotions, creams, and sprays that you can easily apply on your skin yourself. 

What’s in it?

The active ingredient for most self-tanners is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). It’s a color additive that, when applied to the skin, reacts with the dead cells on your skin’s top layer and temporarily darkens the skin and simulates a tan. The coloring is temporary and typically fades off after a few days so you don’t have to worry about any permanent staining.

Are they safe to use?

We can never stress enough that staying under the heat and UV rays of the sun is very bad for the skin. The sun’s harmful rays break down the collagen and elastin in the skin and cause hyper-pigmentation over time along with premature ageing.

The “tan” achieved with sunless tanners and self-tanning products is very similar to nature’s tan; however, it is much safer than going sunbathing. Topical self-tanning products are considered a safe alternative when used properly.

Most self-tanners do not have sunscreen in them, so it won’t protect you from being sunburned whatsoever. You still need to apply sunscreen daily (even when it’s cloudy) especially if you head outdoors.

How to use it properly to avoid damaging the skin

  • Exfoliate first. This is a key factor according to dermatologists. Otherwise, callous or thickened skin like the elbows, ankles, knees and wrists will soak up more product. It will appear darker than the surrounding skin. Exfoliate and let skin dry for at least 15 minutes before applying any self-tanner.
  • Apply in sections. Massage product into your skin in circular motion. Apply tanners in sections such as arms, legs and torso. Wash your hands after applying each section so as to not discolor your palms.
  • Wipe joint areas. The knees, elbows and ankles tend to absorb more because of the thickened skin, so gently rub them with a damp towel. You may also apply some lotion on top of the self-tanning product.
  • Let it dry for at least 10 minutes before getting dressed. Wear loose clothes and avoid sweating.

The FDA or the Food and Drug Administration has approved DHA for topical application to the skin, but these products should not be inhaled or applied to areas such as the lips, nose or the eye area because of unknown risks. If you’re going to use self-tanner products, it is advisable to always follow the directions indicated on the product labels.

Happy self-tanning!

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