Sunless Tanning Myths

With the high UV rays and the increasing dangers of skin cancer, more and more people are opting for sunless tanning. These can range from gels and lotions to mousses and sprays (tanning booths), tanning pills and also cosmetic bronzers. There is a lot of different information out there about these quick tanning products, but what is actual facts and myths?

Myth: Products Containing DHA (dihydroxyacetone) were Introduced in the 1990s

Fact: This skin coloring agent was invented in the 1920s by a German scientist. DHA is a colorless sugar derived from sugar cane or sugar beets, when together with the amino acids of the dead skin cells, produces a chemical effect and browning process.

Myth: Effects of Sunless Tanning Products Take 24 Hours

Fact: Sunless tanning products take 45 minutes to 1 hour for the tan to begin to show. It does become darker with repeat applications. Most companies recommend to reapply the products every 3 days, but a minimum weekly reapplication is advised to maintain a golden tan. Cosmetic bronzers show a tanned glow instantly.

Myth: Today’s Sunless Tanning Items Contain SPF with No Sunscreen Required

Fact: Today’s sunless tanning items on the market do not contain enough SPF to be protected from the strong UV rays. Even the best sunless tanning products currently available usually only contain a SPF 2 percent rather than a SPF 30 to SPF 50.

Myth: All Sunless Tanners Are Approved as Safe

Fact: Many tanners have been approved as safe products to use, but there is not enough medical and scientific studies that have been performed to determine if sunless tanners are safe with no long term effects. Tanning pills are still not approved by the FDA, as previously they have been known to cause crystal deposits in the eyes, along with nausea and cramping, diarrhea and itching. This does not conclude the fact that tanning under direct sunlight without protection should be done. Limited exposure during the hours when there is weaker sunlight is the best way. After all, vitamin D from the sun is important for optimal health.

Myth: A Sunless Tan will Last for Months

Fact: A sunless tan will remain usually for 1 week with the possibility to last up to 2 weeks. It is a temporary tan. Cosmetic bronzers last only until the time they are washed off.

Myth: Fair Skinned People Should Begin with Darker Products to Appear Tan Faster

Fact: An individual with fair skin should begin with a lighter sunless tanning product that corresponds with the skin tone, and gradually work up to a medium color. Fair-skinned people should not use dark or extra-dark sunless tanning products.

Myth: Last Year’s Sunless Tanner Is Still Effective

Fact: Never use old sunless tanning products, especially not the ones from previous years. These tanners contain DHA, which when is subjected to air, compromises the integrity of the products.

Myth: Swimming or Washing Is Okay after 8 Hours

Fact: Swimming or washing and lotions may be applied within 3 hours from the time that the sunless tanners are applied, to allow the products to be absorbed and to perform its tanning process. An 8-hour wait is not necessary.

Have specific questions?
ASK A DOCTOR

All Article Categories

Before & After Photos

Suggested Doctors

Recently Asked Questions