Self Tanning, also called sunless, involves applying specific chemicals to the skin in order to produce a result similar to a suntan. This practice has become more popular since the 1960s. This came after health officials were linking sun exposure and sunbeds to skin cancer.
Carotenoid-based products are the most effective for these purposes because they contain beta-carotene, which is both natural and permanent. Carotenoids are found naturally in fruits in vegetables, they are what give them strong colors.
Special pills can be consumed to change the appearance of the skin as well. Typically these pills have beta-carotene. This active ingredient has not been linked to side effects, but when taken excessively, may lead to orange or yellow skin tone.
There are also pills that contain an ingredient called canthaxanthin. This is typically used in the production of color additives for specific foods. When this ingredient has been consumed, it deposits through the body, including the fat below the skin, turning it a orange or brown shade. However, these pills have been linked with several side effects such as damage to digestive system, canthaxanthin retinopathy and hepatitis.
There are other products that can offer a sunless tan. Bronzers are a common option for a temporary tan. These products may be in gels, sprays, powders, lotions, moisturizers, or mousses. Other active ingredients found in sunless products include Tyrosine, dihydroxyacetone, or Afamelanotide.
An important fact regarding these sunless options is that they do not offer sun protection. Individuals seeking protection should invest in sunscreen products. Keep in mind that tanners may cause an allergic reaction and are likely to stain fabrics.
Self tanning is an alternative to sunbeds and outdoor tanning. It offers the same or similar results as sunbathing or sunbed usage, but do not have such harmful risks. These sunless methods may come in topical or pill form.