Is Sunless Tanning Safer Than Traditional Tanning?


Who doesn’t love the look of a great tan? We’ve all spent hours laying out in the sun chasing the perfect tan, but all that time in the sun leaves lasting damage on your skin. At Fake Bake, we offer a safer alternative to traditional tanning methods with a selection of self-tanners. Our sunless tanning products offer the golden hue you love with zero sun exposure. Choose from any of our tanning mousses, liquids, sprays and lotions to use right at home and get the sun-kissed look you crave quickly and safely.

How Does Traditional Tanning Work?

You may not realize that traditional tanning (i.e., laying out in the sun) involves intentional and lasting skin cell damage. When you expose your skin to the sun, harmful UV rays penetrate your skin’s outer layer, increasing the production of the protective pigment melanin. This pigment has a brown color and when the amount of pigment in the skin is increased, it looks like what we know as a tan. While many associate tan skin with good looks and good health, a natural tan is actually the physical result of skin cell damage. As an alternative to traditional tanning methods, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using self-tanning products for a quick bronze glow without any negative long-term effects on health.

How Do Sunless Tanners Work? 

Sunless tanning is easy and can be done at home or at the salon. The process involves applying a mousse, spray, lotion or wipe to the surface of the skin and allowing the product to penetrate before wiping it off. All sunless tanners contain a special color additive called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA for short. DHA is a chemical that is derived from glycerin and causes the skin to temporarily darken, giving the appearance of a tan.

Unlike a natural tan, sunless tanning products only interact with amino acids on the outermost layer of skin. This interaction causes a temporary browning, which naturally fades over time as the outmost layer of skin is shed. This natural shedding cycle is why the effects of a self-tanner fade over the course of only about a week. (Want your tan to last longer? Discover ways to extend the life of your sunless tan.)

Self-tanners are applied directly to the skin and can be used at home or in a salon. Depending on the type of tanner used, the product may be sprayed or wiped on and may need to sit for a few minutes, but then any extra tanner can just be wiped off — it’s that easy! The exact application method will change depending on the type of sunless tanner you choose, but each tanning product should come with its own set of step-by-step application instructions. Once applied, you’ll notice that your skin will start darkening almost immediately, resulting in a sun-kissed glow in just a few minutes.

Is Sunless Tanning Safe? 

If you’re thinking about using a sunless tanner, you’re on the right path. Choosing a Fake Bake sunless tanner is a much safer alternative to traditional tanning methods and won’t cause skin damage or problems down the road. Even the American Academy of Dermatology is on board with sunless tanners and recommends using them over traditional tanning methods because sunless tanners won’t damage your skin cells. Choosing a tanning option that doesn’t involve the sun is the safest way to get the golden glow you want, and those with sensitive skin can do a patch test to make sure the product they choose will work for them. We suggest starting with mousses, lotions or tanning water as self-tanners for sensitive skin and avoiding tanner liquids.

Of course, everything in life comes with a risk and self-tanners are no different. Read the ingredients carefully before using a sunless tanner, especially if you have a history of allergic reactions. It’s important to also keep using sunscreen after applying a sunless tanning product in order to protect skin against the sun, since sunless tanners don’t provide any UV protection. Sunscreen can usually be applied after the sunless tanner is dry (avoid formulas with oils to protect your self-tan).

What Type of Sunless Tanner Should I Choose?

Sunless tanners are all pretty safe, so choosing one depends on your individual needs and application preference. Sunless tanners come in many forms, including wipes, sprays, lotions and creams. They all deliver a healthy-looking glow quickly, ranging from a matter of minutes up to several hours. The type of self-tanner you choose will probably depend on your personal preference and the level of tan you hope to achieve. We recommend trying a few different types to find out what works the best for you and which level of tan you prefer.

The bottom line is that sunless tanning products offer a safe way to get the bronze skin you want without the risk of exposing yourself to damaging UV rays. Sunless tanners are easy to use and come in the form of creams, lotions, sprays and liquids, so there’s a convenient option available for you no matter what your lifestyle is like. Shop at Fake Bake to get premium sunless tanners at great prices and be sure to take a peek at our deals and offers page while you’re here.

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