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An Introduction toTanning Lotions

Tanning lotions offer a safe and effective alternative to staying under the sun. They are relatively easy to use, and will keep you away from cancer-causing UV rays. But not all tanning lotions are the same – some are safe while others have been found to have side effects. Read on to find out which ones to buy, and which ones to avoid.

Safe tanning lotions

Bronzers. Bronzers are mostly used by people who want ‘instant' tans, because they have the ability to color the skin right away upon application. Bronzers are gel lotions based on water-soluble dyes, and are generally safe. The only downside? This type of tanning lotion also fades as fast as it colors. Wash it with soap and water and the color lightens at once.

Self- tanning lotions . Self-tanning lotions are very popular because they are safe and effective. They contain dihydroxyacetone, which changes into sugar, combines with amino acids and produces melaninoids when applied to the skin. The result is a natural-looking ‘browning' effect that stays longer. Just apply the lotion and wait an hour to see tanning effect. People who do not want to spend long hours under the sun but want to stay tanned all year long prefer these kinds of tanning lotions .

Unsafe tanning lotions

Tan accelerators have been banned in some parts of the world, including the United States . These products claim to have natural enzymes that enable faster melanin production. Manufacturers of tanning lotion accelerators say that their products contain 5-methoxypsoralen, which have failed laboratory tests – they were shown to cause cancer when they were tested on mice, and acute sunburn when they were tested on human skin. A similar product in the form of pills is also banned in most countries. These pills contain carotenoid-producing chemicals called canthaxanthrin, which were proven to cause blindness and other severe side effects.

What tanning lotion should you buy?

Tanning lotions are available in different shades. It's wise to buy smaller bottles first and try which color blends into your ski best. Experts generally suggest that you start experimenting with a lighter shade first, and then just progress to heavier tints as you become more accustomed to the application.

Use only tanning lotions that have dihydroxyacetone (DHA) concentration of at least three percent to five percent of you want to avoid becoming ‘orangey.' Such lotions take longer to work, but tend to give a more even, natural-looking tan. Remember to wash your hands right after application, though, because you may stain your palms and nails of you do not.

Most tanning lotions work best when applied two to four times on the first day of application, and then repeatedly applied in the succeeding days. Apply the lotion sparingly on your face on your first try, but touch it up regularly as needed. Some brands recommend that you ‘buff' your skin with a towel and shower before you apply the product.


Reality check

Do not expect a flawless tan if your skin is already sun-damaged, molted, or freckled. A tanning lotion may be able to color over scars, but do not expect it to hide such imperfections.

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