Today, I’d like to share my experience about self-tanning. While my mom keeps reminding me to put on hats, visors, jackets, etc. since we are Asians, my classmates freely enjoy stripping down their bathing suits and lie on beaches. Eventually, I gave myself courage to show up with my parents my self-tanned skin because I found myself prettier in a darker skin tone. Fortunately, they did not give any offensive feedback, and surprisingly my mom offered to help me apply to avoid streaks. Since that time, I’ve tried many organic sunless tanners and DHA free self-tanning products to make my skin tone darker, and I can’t wait more to share them with you.
Why Is Tanned Skin Fashionable?
Have you ever asked why tanned skin is more preferable?
Historically, possessing a pale skin was a sign of high social status and wealthiness. However, this conception was changed due to the Industrial Revolution.
At that time, hordes of people in the US packed up and left the rural for the urban. The poor at a time spent their days out of the sun and deep underground in coal mines or crammed into factories for 12 to 13 hours. In turn, the poor became pale. Doctors recognized the benefits of sunlight in staving off diseases like rickets in tuberculosis and emphasized that the alcoholism and depression of the urban lower class was caused by having too little UV radiation.
But why does sun tan become fashionable?
The person who was a pioneer of the tanning trend is a French fashion designer Coco Chanel. She was a trendsetter in the beauty industry. In 1923, she got sunburnt on a trip to the French Riviera and sparked instantly an international beauty trend. A tan complexion became more fashionable when Chanel claimed that “The 1929 girls must be tanned. A golden tan is the index of chic”.
How To Get A Tan?
To date, besides getting a real tan by laying under the sun, sunless tanning is an effective method. There are two main types of tanning products which are bronzers and self-tanning. Both of them provide a short-term tanned skin. However, bronzers can be cleansed with water, and it is often used as a makeup product. Besides, self-tanners create and maintain a tan up to 10 days. There are few self-tanner options for you to go for such as tanning bed lotion, organic spray tan or air-brush tan, tanning cream or pill, etc.
What Is DHA And How Do Self-Tanners Work?
To have a clear view about how self-tanners work, let’s start with the main ingredient contained in pretty much tanning products which is dihydroxyacetone abbreviated as DHA. It is the only FDA approved additive for sun-free skin dyeing. These products are managed in the way of cosmetics, not in the way of supplements or drugs.
DHA is actually a three-carbon sugar that reacts with amino acids or proteins in the skin. This reaction is called Maillard which yields the pigments called melanoidins to produce the brown color of the skin.
DHA is added to a variety of lotions, sprays, creams and foams that are applied or sprayed onto the skin, all with the aim of making the skin look darker than usual. Skin-dyeing spray is popular because it is fast and helps to achieve an even skin tone, without missing out on hard-to-reach spots.
Is DHA Safe?
There are many myths about DHA, and the most common we may hear is that DHA is carcinogenic, and it might cause changes in DNA as well.
However, based on the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety on Dihydroxyacetone in 2010, the concentration of DHA in any dihydroxyacetone tanning products can be up to 10% without causing any health risks to consumers.
Because there are studies about the negative effects of DHA although they haven’t given sufficient evidence yet, as a smart user, we must be more cautious when applying DHA tanning products.
How Do Self-Tanning Without DHA Products Work?
Since the allergy to dihydroxyacetone tanning products has warned a red flag to users, “DHA-free self-tanning” or “self-tanning without DHA” have become a favorite keyword for any tanned-skin lovers.
To create a brown color skin, DHA is replaced by other substitutes which can react to amino acids in the skin top layer. The most popular substitute for DHA is Erythrulose.
Erythrulose, which can be found in red raspberries, has the same chemical structure. Moreover, it takes longer to create a tan and fades quickly as well.
From my own experience, I had thought that it was easy to go for DHA free self-tanning since there are many over-the-counter self-tanners, and definitely there should be some good DHA free options for me to try. However, I am not lucky yet to find a suitable one.
Luckily, I found 2 self-tanners which are Skinerals Self-Tanner and Just Nutritive Sunless Tanning Lotion. For me, they are the best alternatives for DHA-free self-tanning. They wonderfully match my desire to get a flawless tan without forcing my skin to absorb too many harmful chemicals. Therefore, even though they are not DHA free self-tanning products, they do have many natural ingredients which are significantly beneficial to our skins.
Skinerals Self-Tanner Reviews
From Skinerals’s official website, we can easily find many natural ingredients in this organic sunless tanner. Besides having DHA, it is formulated with acai berries, goji berries and other natural extracts, which is good for anti-aging. Moreover, it says no to “parabens, petroleum, butylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfates, pesticides, phthalates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances”. Thus, Skinerals is a good brand for those who are vegan or only for gluten-free products. It claims that all its products are not engaged in animal testing, which is totally cruelty-free.
Erythrulose is also used in conjunction with DHA, which creates an effective combination. It might be thought that Erythrulose seems nothing as there is DHA already; however, this combination creates such an amazingly real tan on my skin. Moreover, I was surprised that this organic sunless tanner brings a long-lasting outcome. My tan started fading from the 4th day and finally returning to my natural skin tone on the 7th day.
Interestingly, I decided to get a Skinerals self tanner because I can somehow donate to skin cancer research for a better skincare industry. How meaningful it is!
Just Nutritive Tanning Reviews
Same as Skinerals Organic Self Tanner, Just Nutritive Sunless Tanning Lotion is made with all-natural ingredients such as Avocado oil, Kokum Butter, Borage seed oil, Argan, Oat Kernel, coffee, etc., which is assured that the product can both nourish and hydrate skins well for long hours.
In addition, it claims not to contain mineral oil, petrolatum, alcohol, and fillers. That is why I feel quite comfortable when applying this lotion on my skin. Although this organic tanning lotion’s consistency is quite thick, it is easy to blend evenly all over your skin without creating any streaky lines after it dries. Additionally, I can use my bare hands to apply it comfortably, and there is no problem with staining. I think because this lotion is in white color.
The product is claimed to need from 12 to 24 hours for the color development. However, it needs only 20 minutes to dry out, and it does not fade away much after a 4-hour application. A plus of Just Nutritive Sunless Tanning Lotion is that you have 2 options to go for: dark tone and light to medium tone. Therefore, for those who have light skin tone like mine, you will not worry whether the result is too different to your natural skin or not.
Overall, DHA free self-tanning is a perfect answer for the non-toxic self-tanning. However, it seems challenging to get a suitable self-tanning without DHA. Although we are overwhelmed by many myths about DHA, it is undeniable that it is the best additive for tanning. To extricate myself from this tough challenge, an organic sunless tanner is the best alternative of DHA free self-tanning products. Thanks to technological advances, an organic sunless tanner avoids irritations and reduces skin damages by infusing many natural ingredients.
I am still on my way to find out the best DHA free self-tanning product. If you have tried any self-tanners without DHA, please do not hesitate to share with me. Your favourite will be mine as well.
Today, there have been more unknown risks from DHA for long-term use. Therefore, tanned-skin lovers are encouraged to go for DHA free self-tanning products.