The safest, fastest way to a deep dark tan.
A sunless tan is produced by a chemical reaction between the keratin proteins in the horny layer of the skin and the self-tanning agent Dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA is a monosaccharide (colorless sugar) derived from the refining vegetable based glycerin produced from sugar cane or sugar beets. It has been approved by the FDA for use in topically applied cosmetic products for over thirty years. The interaction of keratin proteins and DHA to induce darkening of the skin is called the “Maillard” reaction. DHA reacts with these proteins over time, usually three to twelve hours to darken the skin.
Many sunless tanners of the day contain bronzers that are nothing more than a blend of FD & C dyes to produce a reddish brown color. Bronzers have nothing to do with tan. They are simply included to give initial gratification to the end user and do nothing to enhance the sunless tan. IN fact, these dyes rub off on clothing and stain certain fabrics. In some cases they can be irritating to the skin and when used in hand applied products stain the palms unless gloves are used.
The longevity of a sunless or natural tan is based on lifestyle, skin condition, and the ability to follow a daily moisturizing regiment. Immersing the body in water for long periods of time, vigorous exercise causing perspiration, exposure to the elements and failure to hydrate the skin all accelerate the body’s natural exfoliation process and drastically reduce a tans longevity. For these reasons, results will vary from person to person.
In addition, different people will obtain different results from the same sunless tanning product. The reason lies in body chemistry. DHA is very sensitive to body pH levels. The more acidic the skin, (lower pH) the better the results will be from the reaction. This is why exfoliating the skin prior to applying sunless tanners is advised. The exfoliating process helps remove alkaline soap residues and dead skin cells that can directly affect results.