Are Self Tanners Safe?

During the summer, that glistening bronzed look is totally in, but before you start sun bathing to get that glow, please do be aware that too much UV exposure can damage the dna of your skin cells. This damage increasing the chances of cancer and it also causes premature skin aging, sun spots, as well as worsening hyperpigmentation.  

self tanner

The alternative are self tanners!  There are a lot on the market and each company makes it's own formulation of ingredients but today we're just going to talk about the main active ingredient found in self tanners called DHA.  

How self tanners work

DHA is short for dihydroxyacetone which is a color additive. It binds to the amino acids on the very surface of your skin which is the layer made up of dead skin cells. When it binds, it darkens those cells to create a tanning effect.  Since we shed regularly shed dead skin cells the tan will just last a few days.  

Are there any dangers associated with self tanners?

The lotions, gels, and sprays that use DHA as the tanning agent are all generally safe since the compound isn't able to penetrate the skin's natural barrier.  However if you use a spray version, be careful not to have any of it inhaled since inhaling the chemicals in a spray tan can increase your chances of asthma, cancer, or COPD.

There  may be some self tanners in the pill form that contain canthaxanthin which are not safe in large amounts because it can cause hives, or liver damage. 

Will self tanner also darken my acne scars?

Results really vary on this since it depends on the formulation of the tanning product and how it reacts with your skin and the scars.  Either it can make acne scars appear less noticable or if you have severe scarring it may cause hyperpigmentation to darken equally along with the rest of your skin too.  If you have hyperpigmentation or acne scars on your face, it might be better to avoid using tanners on that area and find a good bronzer instead. 

Hope that this helped assuage any fears you have about self tanners and it's effect on acne scars!  What do you prefer for yourself? Tan or no tan? 


Reading next

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.