Understanding how to use self-tanner for superb outcomes

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As we strategy summer time, we begin to see in retailers a lot of sunscreens, after-sun lotions, self-tanners and different summer time merchandise. Most of us like to have good golden tanned pores and skin however everyone knows concerning the risks of solar publicity. Nonetheless, there’s a straightforward resolution to get the specified tan – using a self-tanner. On this put up, I’m going to inform you how self-tanners work, how to use them and all you must learn about them.

What’s a self-tanner?

Self-tanners are beauty merchandise with the flexibility to present pores and skin color much like tanned pores and skin. In different phrases, a self-tanner is a product which produces a faux tan color in your pores and skin.

Using self-tanners doesn’t contain solar publicity and, due to this fact, they don’t seem to be going to supply sunburns or different solar injury to the pores and skin.

They had been first utilized by individuals with delicate pores and skin or particularly reasonable pores and skin who couldn’t expose to any photo voltaic radiation. These days, as a result of we’re involved concerning the injury solar radiation may cause to our pores and skin, physique and well being particularly UV-A and UV-B radiation, self-tanners have gotten standard and they’re a substitute for solar publicity for thus many individuals.

Tanners vs Self-Tanners

Tanners are merchandise used to extend or speed up the pure tanning course of. Any such product works over the melanin synthesis. Melanin is the molecule answerable for darkish pores and skin color. You possibly can learn extra about this course of within the put up about hyperpigmentation. In abstract, melanocytes current within the pores and skin produce melanin by means of a course of referred to as melanogenesis.

Tanner accommodates within the components parts related to the melanogenesis course of, resembling tyrosine, DOPA, tyrosinase, and many others. they usually want solar publicity to work.

The motion mode of self-tanners is totally completely different. Any such product produces pores and skin darkening with out solar publicity. The lively parts within the self-tanners components react with a specific sort of pores and skin protein, like keratin amongst others, producing a change of color. These lively components are usually hydroxy-aldehydes or hydroxy-ketones. The most typical molecule in self-tanners is Dihydroxyacetone or DHA.

Most self-tanners comprise this molecule within the components. On this put up, I’m going to be speaking primarily about DHA, however on the finish of the put up, I’ll point out different components which produce related results and that are additionally current in some self-tanners formulation.

How does a self-tanner work?

I’ve talked about that the molecule DHA performs an necessary function within the self-tanning course of, however what is that this molecule?

The scientific identify or IUPAC identify of this molecule is 1,3-dihydroxy-2-propanone. In easy phrases, DHA is a sugar molecule which accommodates 3 carbon atoms. This molecule is of course current within the physique, as it’s an intermediate in carbohydrate metabolism. It’s, due to this fact, non-toxic for human consumption.

The synthesis of DHA for beauty use consists of a fermentation course of utilizing glycerol as beginning materials and entails the micro organism Gluconobacter Oxidans.

In water resolution, DHA is a dimer type, which suggests it’s joined to a different DHA molecule as in the event that they had been Siamese twins. These two molecules will separate by heating.

The optimum pH for this molecule is between 5 and 6. Conserving in thoughts that the pores and skin pH worth is round 5.5, this molecule is right to be used in self-tanner formulation for human consumption.

How does DHA work?

DHA works on the Stratum Corneum degree. DHA molecule interacts with amine teams, peptides and free amino acids current within the outer layer of the pores and skin, by means of a course of referred to as Maillard Response. This response consists of the response of sugar with an amino acid to supply a colored product. First, DHA is transformed into piruvaldehyde and water. Then, the response of this compound with the amino group current within the keratin produces an imine (ketamine or aldimine). Lastly, after that step, a sequence of unknown reactions happen producing a sequence of cyclic and linear polymers, that are brown or golden in color.

These compounds are melanoidin and are the ultimate answerable for the faux darkish color of the pores and skin. Melanoidin is similar to melanin and, due to this fact, produces an analogous color. Nonetheless, not like melanin, melanoidin doesn’t soak up UV radiation. It’s, due to this fact, crucial to make use of solar safety when utilizing self-tanner.

This full course of could be very sophisticated, however in frequent phrases, the DHA contained within the self-tanners reacts with the proteins current within the pores and skin and produces a compound similar to melanin which supplies a pure tan color to the pores and skin.

How to use self-tanner?

It is rather necessary to use self-tanner in the precise manner. In any other case, you’ll find yourself with patches of actually darkish areas whereas different areas don’t have any color.

For those who observe these steps you’ll get a pleasant, pure and even tan in your pores and skin.


It is rather necessary to get easy and hydrated pores and skin earlier than making use of the self-tanner. It is best to exfoliate your pores and skin 24 hours earlier than the appliance of the product and use moisturiser. Pay particular consideration to the driest areas of the physique resembling elbows, knees and ankles.

Learn fastidiously the knowledge coming with the product

Every product could have a particular software mode. A few of them ought to keep on the pores and skin someday earlier than rinsing, others have rapid results and even they need to be on the pores and skin in a single day.

Apply the product

I counsel you to make use of a self-tanner glove to use the product. You’re going to get a extra even software and keep away from staining your arms with the surplus product. I exploit the St Tropez Utility Glove which is actually gentle and apply the product even and easily.

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Apply the product with a round therapeutic massage. I like to start out from the underside to the highest, however that basically doesn’t matter. The necessary level is to not overlook any space and watch out to not depart any line with out product.

Be further cautious with areas resembling ankles, knees, elbows and armpits. I usually apply an additional quantity of product to those areas and later take away the surplus with a cotton pad.

The again and the neck are additionally sophisticated areas, primarily the again should you stay alone. Attempt to get some assist on this space.


Now, it’s time to wait. It is best to look forward to the time the maker advises, which, as talked about beforehand, could range from 1 hour to in a single day. If the product requires in a single day software, wait not less than 5 minutes earlier than sporting something or going to mattress.

Rinse the product

Rinse all of the product after the advisable time and you’re carried out, you will notice a stunning brown or golden color in your pores and skin.

Attempt to hold your pores and skin hydrated and the tone will look extra pure and delightful. If you wish to hold the color you need to re-apply the product after just a few days, as it’s utterly secure to take action.

It is best to always remember that regardless of your pores and skin wanting tanned, it isn’t protected towards dangerous UV radiation. It is best to put on solar safety to keep away from any sort of solar injury.

Execs and Cons of utilizing self-tanner

The whole lot in life has two sides, together with using self-tanners, and you need to know each earlier than utilizing the sort of product.


  • They’re secure for the pores and skin
  • These days, you get a pure color, much like the tan you get by means of a standard tanning course of
  • You’re going to get a pleasant color with out getting any sunburns or any pores and skin injury as you aren’t uncovered to the solar’s radiation.
  • Cons

  • You aren’t protected towards UV radiation
  • Your pores and skin can turn into dry. If in case you have very dry pores and skin you need to keep away from self-tanners or hold hydrating routine.
  • Some merchandise aren’t sweating or waterproof.
  • For those who don’t apply the product evenly you will get patches
  • The tanned impact could be very brief and solely lasts between 3 to 10 days, relying in your pores and skin sort and the product you employ.
  • Self-tanner sort

    Relying on the DHA focus

  • Gradual. The DHA focus is under 2.5%. They’re primarily moisturising lotions which deliver some color. For those who apply it day-after-day to the pores and skin you will get gradual tanning which can final by means of all of the summer time should you proceed utilizing the product.
  • Prompt. Any such self-tanner has a better DHA focus, usually between 2.5 to eight%. They’re excellent to get fast tanning for an important day. They supply fast and deep pores and skin tanning.
  • Relying on the feel

  • Cream. Initially, all of the self-tanners had been in a cream texture and even now this texture is the preferred. They usually comprise moisturising brokers within the components.
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  • Mousse. They really feel very nice on the pores and skin and produce a luminous and even tone. A lot of the mousse self-tanners comprise a marker, which is a darkish pigment with no impact and which can go once you rinse. This marker lets you know the areas the place you utilized the product, making the appliance a lot simpler. It’s higher to use the sort of product with a mitt. They usually present outcomes between 4 and 6 hours.
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  • Spray. They’re very fast to use and dry in a short time additionally. They’re superb for essentially the most sophisticated areas of the physique. Nonetheless, they are often actually messy on the physique (the appliance will not be even) in addition to all over the place across the place the place you apply.
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  • Oil. They’re moisturising merchandise additionally and hydrate the pores and skin similtaneously they tan it. That is the perfect sort to make use of in sunny and heat climate locations.
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  • Tanning Drops. They permit managed stepwise tanning on the pores and skin. The best way you employ them is by including just a few drops to your moisturiser and making use of them day-after-day. I like the sort of self-tanners for the face.
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  • Wipes. These are a really helpful self-tanner sort for small areas of the physique because the face. They permit a really even software. Nonetheless, they produce a lot of residue and waste.
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    Fundamental components in self-tanner

    The particular components of the self-tanners will rely upon the product. I all the time suggest studying the ingredient record for any pores and skin product earlier than utilizing it for the primary time in addition to making a patch check. Impartial of the precise components, all of the self-tanners comprise the identical sort of components:

  • Emulsifier. They’re usually non-ionic emulsifiers to extend DHA stability.
  • Emollient. There are completely different compounds with emollient properties resembling esters, waxes, fatty acids, mineral oils or silicones. The preferred emollients are esters and silicones just like the highly regarded dimethicone and Cyclomethicone.
  • Thickeners. A lot of the thickeners aren’t appropriate with the DHA molecule. Hydroxycellulose, methylcellulose and silica are the commonest thickeners used but additionally xantham gum and polyquaternium-10 are appropriate with DHA.
  • Moisturiser. DHA wants water to supply the color and the pores and skin water content material shouldn’t be sufficient for that. Some brokers, resembling sorbitol or propylene glycol in 20% focus are added to the formulation to supply the water wanted.
  • Preservatives. The self-tanner formulation should comprise preservatives to keep away from bacterial development. The most typical preservatives are parabens, although they’re polemic components.
  • Sunscreens. Some self-tanners comprise sunscreen compounds to guard towards UV radiation. The most typical sunscreens are ethyl-hexyl-methoxicine, ethyl-hexyl-salicylate, homosalate, and octocrylene amongst others. Bodily filters resembling titanium or zinc oxides could degrade DHA and it’s higher to keep away from them within the components.
  • Some merchandise may additionally comprise perfumes, colourants, and many others. to make them extra enticing. They aren’t crucial components and I’m not going to speak about them.

    Different self-tanner molecules

    I’ve been speaking about DHA throughout all this put up and you could be asking now if that is the distinctive molecule which produces a faux tanning impact. The reply isn’t any, there are different substances which produce related results, although DHA is the preferred.

    Amongst different molecules producing the sort of impact, it’s value mentioning:

    Juglone and Lawsone

    They’re vegetable pigments used primarily to dye the hair however may be additionally used on the pores and skin. The primary downside we are able to discover utilizing these molecules is that the color they produce seems to be actually faux and never much like the pure pores and skin tan. Juglone produces an orange tan whereas lawsone produces a brown-greenish color.


    It’s the preferred molecule utilized in self-tanners after the DHA. Erythrulose is a sugar veery much like DHA (erythrulose is 1,3,4-Trihydroxybutan-2-one) and likewise produces Maillard Response. The focus of erythrulose wanted is between 0.5 to 10% and permits the simultaneous use with bodily UV filters.



    It is a vegetal ingredient which produces the identical impact as DHA. Mahakanni-STLC is a concentrated tanning liposome which accommodates a pores and skin pure pigment. This pigment comes from the genetically modified plant Eclipta alba. It is rather costly and there’s a debate about if utilizing GMOs in cosmetics is moral or not. I’m not going to say something about that, I’ll depart that debate to individuals who know greater than me.

    In abstract, using self-tanners permits to indicate off stunning tanned pores and skin which seems to be actually pure. These days it’s tough to know if the tan color is pure or faux, because the merchandise obtainable are prime quality. They’re a secure different to pure tan, the place you must expose your pores and skin to dangerous solar radiation to get the color.

    Do you employ self-tanners? Let me know within the feedback.

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