The Year Round Tan is something we all desire for its ability to make us look slimmer and even healthier, but unless we earn a ton of money, a permanent lounger on the golden beaches of Miami is a little out of our budget. For many women (and becoming more popular among men), self-tan is an essential part of our body care regime. Some products are instant, some take a few hours, and some build up gradually when we use them every day. The product we use depends entirely on our taste and the colour result we hope to achieve. However, some products available to buy in stores can be very harsh on the skin when made from synthetic ingredients and potentially harmful chemicals, where others are made from natural ingredients and are much nicer all round.
Most false tans contain DHA, a natural substance that is fairly safe, although studies are in progress to determine whether it can be linked to certain cancers when present in a spray-on tanning preparation. At present, it is deemed safe if kept away from the nose and mouth where possible, and is far safer than many other ingredients included with self-tanning products.
Here are some of the nasties that may be found in the not-so-natural self-tanning preparations:
Parabens are a form of preservative with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties found in many of our toiletries. While data on parabens is not conclusive, they have been linked to allergic reactions in those with an allergy or sensitive skin, some types of breast cancer and even premature aging when applied to the skin. Parabens are always synthesised for cosmetic purposes, although they have been known to occur naturally sometimes in fruits such as blueberries.
Phthalates are an ingredient in many perfumes, tanning products and even cosmetics. Inhaling them can result in them being absorbed into the bloodstream. While it will not have an immediate effect, and you won’t feel anything, a study of 1000 people over the age of 70 with raised levels of phthalates in their blood were more likely to have developed diabetes and obesity .
Oxybenzone is an agent used to aid absorption of self-tanning lotion. It has been found in animal studies to have cardiovascular side effects, and in humans can contribute to allergies, weakening of the immune system and can even be contributory to the growth of cancers.
Propellants in home spray-on tans may be fairly safe to the skin, but can cause or worsen respiratory conditions such as asthma, not to mention the effects on the ozone layer! Check for CFC-free products.
By using self-tanning products with natural ingredients, you are doing your bit to help the environment, as the production of many synthetic chemicals results in emissions and waste products which can be harmful. Also, natural ingredients often are less harmful during animal testing.
How can your body benefit? In short, you won’t be inhaling some of the dangerous things that less natural tanning products contain, and aren’t as likely to suffer allergic reactions. It also means your colour result could appear more natural, instead of the orangey hues so many synthetic products leave you with.
Natural tanning products are available from companies such as BeauBronz, and do not contain the horrible parabens or other damaging chemicals. Tanning doesn’t just stop with the product that gives you your glow, and there are even natural ranges with products such as cruelty free exfoliators and body washes containing delicious natural butters that leave your skin beautiful prior to tan application.
Next time you buy your bottled sun-kissed glow, why not swap for a tan with natural ingredients? Do your bit for your body and the environment around us!