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Sunless tanning is a method of getting a tan with no sun exposure and is becoming more and more popular. Many sunless tanning methods can give results in minimal time. Sun beds employ UV rays, which are as damaging as the sun rays and can be linked to skin cancer. Other sunless tanning methods, such as lotions, pills and sprays, may avoid the actual contact with the damaging sun rays (UV rays), but they still deliver a few consequences such as unevenly colored skin or a shade of orange.

Skin Cancer

The exposure ultraviolet (UV) rays has been proven to be among the leading causes of skin cancer. Sun beds or artificial tanning salons use UV rays as well, so the skin is under the same risk of getting sun cancer. Some studies have shown that the artificial tanning is more harmful than the sun rays. The more extensive the exposure to UV rays, the higher the chances of developing skin cancer. In addition, UV rays will also result in premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.

Orange Shade

More recently, tanning pills have been discovered, and even if they don’t have FDA approval, they may be used under supervision. Some patients that use canthaxanthin may experience an unusual tan color with an orange shade, which is due to the pigmentation of the skin. Once the pills are discontinued, the skin will lose its orange shade.

Unevenly Colored Skin

Some sunless tanning methods (i.e. self tanning lotions or tanning sprays) may cause unevenly colored skin. This may be due to the fact that you may apply more lotion or spray in one area and less in others, so the skin will not have a consistent color.

Artificial Look

Sunless tanning methods should be applied with great care, and you should never apply more than recommended. Just remember that the results will not be visible immediately, so you should wait for a few hours until seeing the actual shade of the skin. If the sunless tanning technique used gives a brown shade that is too dark, this may look artificial.

No Results

The results of a sunless tanning procedure cannot be predicted. Some people may not respond to certain tanning lotions or pills. The sunless tanning methods work best in people with blond and brown hair. Red-haired people with extremely white and freckled skin may not respond to certain methods of sunless tanning.

A testing should be performed on a small portion of the skin before the actual procedure.

Allergic Reactions

Sunless tanning methods such as tanning lotions or sprays use different chemicals, which can cause certain negative reactions on the skin. You may experience different rashes and itchy skin. In this case, you should remove the lotion or the spray using a hypoallergenic skin cleanser.

Tanning pills may also cause gastrointestinal distress manifested through vomiting or diarrhea.


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