The safest tanning lotions will give you the appearance of luminous bronzed skin, without exposure to harsh chemicals or harmful rays. The health benefits of tanning without exposure to the sun are enormous, considering the prevalence of skin cancer. Tanning beds and lamps also emit harmful UV rays, so they aren’t a safe alternative. The only safe alternative, if you desire a tan is to purchase a tanning lotion. Although non-safe lotions do exist, they’ve been banned by the FDA, and aren’t sold in the United States. The safest tanning lotions are any of the ones that bear FDA approval, because they don’t contain any known harmful chemicals.
Tanning lotions are available in lotion, cream, gel or spray-on formulas. These lotions usually contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is the active ingredient that creates the tan. Basically, the chemical reacts to your skin, and darkens it. Although laboratory tests show that the chemical can harm cells in test tubes, the product has been used for over 40 years, without any major negative side effects in human beings. There are other types of tanning products including tan accelerators, which the FDA has deemed ineffective, and tanning promoters, which the FDA has banned because of unsafe chemical content.
Prior to applying a self-tanner, it’s best to exfoliate your skin. This will help the lotion go on evenly, and make it last longer. Once you’re ready, apply the lotion. It takes about an hour for the chemical reaction to occur, so you want to wait before applying too much, or you could end up with a much darker tan than you anticipated. Additionally, the lotion sometimes streaks, and you can cover this up by applying it in stages. You also want to avoid getting the lotion on clothes, because it can cause permanent stains. Not all lotions affect every individual the same way. The same brand could turn your skin a deep bronze, while making your friend’s skin appear orange. Thus, it’s better to test a small area before tanning your entire body, and you may have to try one more than one brand.
Only buy tanning lotions that are FDA approved, and never purchase products from unknown overseas vendors, no matter what promises they offer, because they may be unsafe. Also, although the chemicals in tanning lotions aren’t going to harm your skin, they can be harmful if ingested. Always follow the directions, because properly using the product will reduce or eliminate any risks. Also avoid inhaling any spray-on lotion into your eyes, mouth, or noise. Before misting tanning lotion on yourself, or slathering lotion across your entire body, do a patch test. Apply the lotion to a small area of skin, preferably the skin on the inside of your wrist, because it’s a fairly sensitive area, and wait 24 hours to see if you have an allergic reaction to the chemicals. Even the safest tanning lotion can still cause an allergic reaction. Once you’ve determined you’re not allergic to the product, you can apply it liberally, and get that sun kissed glow.