The joy of warmer weather is accompanied by the fear of having to bare my pasty needles, which have not seen the light of the world for far too long!
Many turn to the trustworthy fake tan to fake this bronzed glow, but unfortunately it turns me into a fiery red than the desired golden brown .
I often hear from customers who have had similar reactions to gradual tanners. So what makes them so irritating?
What's in a fake tan?
The active ingredient in a fake tan is dihydroxyacetone (DHA) – which can be produced synthetically or obtained from natural sources such as sugar beet and sugar cane.
DHA reacts with the amino acids on the top layer of the skin and produces a brown color pigment called melanoid. It is this chemical reaction that creates the characteristic "cookie flavor" associated with tanning!
Is Tanning Safe for Sensitive Skin?
There were concerns about the safety of artificial tans, with several reports being published and still ongoing.
Until recently, spray tans were considered the most controversial – since studies have shown that inhalation of DHA can cause DNA damage and worsen asthma symptoms.
Last year, ABC News published a separate study indicating that DHA may also get into the bloodstream through products applied to the skin.
It is important to emphasize that these are new findings and that further research and more in-depth clinical studies need to be carried out.
One thing that is clear is that DHA is a known irritant and definitely one you should avoid if you have sensitive skin. Fake tanning products are also generally highly perfumed (to mask the smell), which can also trigger a reaction.
What are the alternatives?
There are some great tans to wash off – be sure to read the ingredients list before buying!
Dusting the face with mineral bronze provides a subtle glow and you get the additional bonus of a natural sun protection factor.