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How Sunless Tanning Works

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
by John Doe

Put simply, the sunless tanning products only affect the dead skin cells on the top layer of your body. Although they react with proteins within the dead skin cells in order to turn them brown, they do not do anything to the live skin cells.

If you took a peek at your skin under a microscope you’ll see that it’s surface isn’t smooth at all, due to the build up of dead skins cells on the top layer. But don’t worry once the dead skills build up to a certain point the skin exfoliates itself naturally.

What’s important to remember is that when apply a sunless tanning solution to the skin, the tan is likely to be uneven if the skin isn’t exfoliated enough, with more solution being absorbed into the ridges of your build up. With all these “mountain peaks” on your skin, when you begin to naturally exfoliate the tan will begin to unevenly come off. So prior to applying any sunless tanning products to your skin ensure that you have exfoliated to reduce those “mountain peaks” and get you that flawless looking even tan result.

Before going in so a sunless tanning session or doing it at home yourself, always begin your preparation with exfoliating and letting your skin cool down.

So how do sunless tanning products work?

The skin has got two main layers; the epidermis, which is on the outside, and the dermis, which is on the inside. Sunless tanning takes place on the outside layer of the skin. DHA – Didydroxyacetone – which is found in most tanning products is a colourless sugar that interacts with the dead cells that are found in the outer layer of the skin. As this sugar interacts with the dead cells of your skin, a colour change which often lasts for about 5-7 days from the initial application occurs.

Remember that millions of dead skin cells are worn away from the surface of your skin every day. This explains why sunless tanning products will gradually fade. Therefore, to maintain your tan you should reapply sunless tanning every 3 days. Some of the various sunless tanning products available in the market include; gels, lotions, sprays, tanning accelerators, the bronzer and tanning pills among others.

But don’t forget that unless sunless tanning products contain an added sunscreen, they will not protect you from the UV rays of the sun. So if you plan to go out and show off your new glow from sunless tanning, be sure to apply some sunscreen every couple of hours as recommended on the packaging!