The Composition of Sunless Tanning Lotio
The typical composition of a sunless tanning lotion includes chemicals and natural ingredients, which together, produce a natural tan color to the outer layer of skin. There are usually two main ingredients, or active ingredients.
These include Erythrulose and Dihydroxyacetone. Both work very similar to each other. They, apart or together, work to react with the free amino groups of the amino acid, otherwise known as proteins and peptides, on the upper most layer of the skin, called the stratum corneum.
Erythrulose produces a slower developing but lighter tan. It can take up to 48 hours to complete development of the tan color. When it’s used alone, it fades twice as fast as a DHA, or Dihydroxyacetone, based sunless tanning lotion.
Some people have indicated that the final tone derived from Erythrulose is somewhat redder and less bronze than DHA. In addition, Erythrulose helps to provide a smoother fading tint because it causes less contact drying to the skin’s surface.
When both chemicals are combined though, the resulting tan has been found to on average last longer as well as fade better and provide a tone that is more pleasing to the eye.
Dihydroxyacetone, which is also known as glycerone, is a simple carbohydrate that is the most common active ingredient in tanning lotions. It is most often derived from plant sources such as sugar cane and sugar beets with the inclusion of fermented glycerin.
Today, DHA is considered by many dermatologists to be the most effective sun-free tanning additive. When a DHA-based product is used, it usually takes about 2 to 4 hours for the tan to begin to develop on the skin. Once the development phase is complete, anywhere between 24 and 72 hours later, the tan won’t wash away or sweat off.
The color will thereafter fade gradually over the next 3 to 10 days, in accordance with a person’s normal exfoliation process. Further, DHA doesn’t damage the skin and most allergic reactions due to using a DHA-based sunless tanning lotion is usually more from other ingredients such as plant extracts, fragrances, dies and/or preservatives.
It has been recommended as a safe solution to tanning by the American Medical Association, the Canadian Dermatology Association, the American Academy of Dermatology Association and the Skin Cancer Foundation.
When either, or both, of these chemicals are used, the non-toxic reaction between the sugars and the dead skin cells produces a completely temporary browning effect similar to what’s called the Maillard reaction. Neither chemical should be confused with a dye or stain.
The reaction each one of these chemicals produces is similar to the browning effect you see when you leave a slice of apple sitting out in the open air too long.
Throughout the years, many a sunless tanning lotion has come onto the market purporting to give the best results in the fastest times possible. Claims on the product doesn’t matter, it’s the product that is inside the bottle that does.