Okay, time for another confession…I LOVE sunless tanners! Sometimes I am complimented on my skin, or asked if I have been on a recent vacation and while the real answer is sitting in a bottle on my bathroom counter, I always just reply with a gracious “thank you”. A girl can’t always give away every secret, right?
Sunless tanners have come a long way since they were invented in the 1920’s. The active ingredient, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), is an edible sugar- based molecule. It was invented as a possible sweeteners substitute for diabetic people. It was soon discovered that when the DHA got on the skin, it would temporarily stain it a brown color. Naturally this effect would be too inconvenient as a sweetener. In the 1950’s, DHA resurfaced as a self tanning cream but was not desirable due to the alien orange color it stained the skin. Now we have better raw materials available that have produced more purified forms of DHA giving the skin a much more natural golden glow.
The DHA ingredient is used in all sunless tanning products and is 100% safe. It does bind to rough skin especially on elbows and knees, so be sure to exfoliate 24 hours before applying a sunless tanner. Always use petroleum jelly on elbows, knees and hands to prevent too much DHA from being absorbed in those areas. There are different concentrations of DHA, ranging from 3-5%. Stick with the lower percentage for a light glow or if you have very fair skin. Remember, it can take up to 24 hours to see the final color, so don’t reapply too soon. My good friend Stacey, who is an expert in sunless tanners, gave me a great tip; if you apply oil-free moisturizer immediately on top of the sunless tanning cream, the final result will be less streaky. That tip has saved me a lot of embarrassment! Here is a picture of the two of us hiking in St. Barths and showing off our sunless tans, wearing spf 30 of course!
Sunless tanners come in cream, foam, and spray. You can self- apply, go to a professional spray booth or even have a personal “air brush” session. There are so many great options of sunless tanners on the market today. I like St Tropez, which is available at beauty supply stores. Estee Lauder has developed a sunless tanner with less odor than the traditional sunless tanners, for those of you who oppose the slight odor of other sunless tanners on the market. DHA provides only 3% SPF, so you need an additional sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s harsh rays. To sustain your tan, avoid Zinc or Titanium Dioxide because they breakdown DHA and will fade your tan unevenly and quickly.
If you are thinking of picking up a little something from Victoria’s Secret for this Valentine’s Day and are worried about looking too pale in front of your spouse or partner, sunless tanners might be a good solution. I will not be expecting a lot of romance for my Valentine’s Day-my husband and I will be spending our holiday with my grandmother in Pompano Beach, FL. I do plan to apply some sunless tanner before my trip so that I can blend in with all of the elegant 85 year old snow birds!
For those of you who like to travel like I do, check out the fabulous travel and lifestyle blog written by the lovely Firestone Sisters! It is a fun escape to read about all of their travel adventures, and they have beautiful photos too! http://firestonesisters.com/
Check out the new beauty corner of the main newsletter/blog page where I will highlight a different beauty product every month! www.kaseydrapeaudamatopac.wordpress.com
I am always looking for new blog topics or interesting products. Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have been asked if I receive any financial incentive to mention products in my newsletter/blog and the answer is no. I only comment on products that I have used myself or that I recommend to patients because they have unique benefits. However, I am a clinical trainer for both Medicis (Dysport/Restylane) and Allergan (Botox/Juvederm).
For my fellow tech-y followers, I have started daily skin and lifestyle tweets on Twitter! To stay up to date on the latest, you can follow me @kaseydamatopac . For those Facebook fanatics out there, I have also created a FB fan page! Go ahead and “like” the page to stay up to date on the latest in skin care! http://www.facebook.com/KaseyDrapeauDamato
*References-Draelos, Zoe MD.”Understanding Self Tanning Preparations” Cosmetic Dermatology, 2011 vol 5 No 4