As the weather starts to warm up, it’s time to start exposing our limbs and unveiling those legs that haven’t seen daylight since September.
However, it’s not the DHA that is the cause for concern in our tanning products, it’s the cocktail of toxic ingredients that are often added to mainstream brands which need to be avoided.
While baking yourself under the sun or a few sessions on a sun bed were the top choice for many a few years ago, the figures are declining as we’re now all too aware of the irreversible damage that UV rays cause our skin. In a bid to opt for safer tanning alternatives the last couple of years it all about spray tanning booths to get a healthy glow all year round but are these really a safer option? They often contain toxic chemicals which have been linked to hormone disruption, skin irritation and even cancer.
If you want that glow factor this spring then look no further as this natural self tanning guide has got you covered.
How Does Fake Tan Work?
Whether you use a natural fake tan or a high-street fake tan, the ingredient that is responsible for the tan effect is the same. DHA (dihydroxyacetone) is a colourless sugar that reacts with the amino acids in the dead top layers of the skin to produce ‘melanoidin’, a substance chemically similar to the natural skin pigment melanin, causing skin colouration similar to a sun tan. Naturally derived DHA found in certified organic self tan lotions only affect the outermost dead cells of the epidermis and so does not damage the skin.
Is Fake Tan Safe?
While the sugar DHA can be manufactured synthetically in high-street self tanning products, it’s widely considered to be safe when applied topically in lotions and creams and has been approved for use in cosmetics since 1977. However, it’s not the DHA that is the cause for concern in our tanning products, it’s the cocktail of toxic ingredients that are often added to mainstream brands which need to be avoided.
Many ingredients used within high street brands include chemicals that have been linked with allergies and hormone disruption such as parabens, oxybenzone and methylchloroisothiazolinone.
Over recent years, some concerns have been raised over the use of spray tanners as the DHA can be inhaled which may have a dangerous effect on the cells within our body. With this in mind, it’s recommended to ditch the spray tans and use lotions or creams as these only come into contact with the outer skin cells and pose very little health risk.
While sunshine can’t be guaranteed during the spring months, you can always rely on a beautiful natural glow with these top tanning tips:
- Always exfoliate your skin thoroughly before applying fake tan and pay special attention to areas such an elbows, ankle, knees and round your hair line where more dead skin cells can accumulate. Without proper exfoliation, you run the risk of a patchy finish.
- Avoid waxing or shaving directly before applying self tan as the fake tan can pool into the pores and cause tiny brown dots over your legs.
- Always apply your fake tan to dry, moisturised skin for a smooth, even finish. Again, make sure areas such as ankles, knees and elbows are well moisturised before applying any fake tan.
- Massage the tanning lotion into your skin using a combination of patting and circular motions. this will help your skin absorb the lotion better and prevent any streaks.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly after applying fake tan and use a nail brush to remove any excess tan from under and around your nails as self tan can stain your nails too.
- Allow the lotion to fully dry before getting dressed.
- To maintain the colour of your tan, reapply a layer every 2-3 days.
- Look for self tans that are certified organic which guarantees the product has not been formulated with any synthetic ingredients, GMO’s, toxic preservatives and other nasties. Green People formulated the UK’s first ever certified organic self tan and it’s just as good as the leading non-organic, chemical-filled brands!
Don’t want to splash the cash on an organic self tan lotion? Try this simple DIY recipe!
DIY Cocoa Tanner
This is a really easy way to give your legs a hint of colour without the chemicals or the dreaded ‘biscuit smell’!
This recipe only requires a handful of things – all of which you probably have in your cupboards! This recipe won’t stain your skin long-term and will wash off in the shower.
- 6 organic black tea bags
- 1 cups water
- Spray bottle
Making The Tan:
- Start out by boiling up some water and adding 1 cup to 6 bags of organic black tea.
- Leave to steep for 10 minutes before removing the tea bags.
- Allow the mixture to completely cool.
- Transfer to a small spray bottle.
Applying The Tan:
- Prep your skin by exfoliating and moisturising before use.
- Spray the tanning mixture over the areas that you want to give a natural glow.
- Gently rub the mixture into the skin.
- Allow to full dry before applying a second layer.
- Keep applying layers until you’ve reached the desired colour.
Do you have any tips for natural tanning? Let us know using the comments box below!