There are many kinds of products that can get you an artificial tan, and DHA-based ones are the most popular today, due to their great effectiveness. DHA products are most commonly available in the form of sprays or lotions – and if you’re not really experienced in sunless tanning, it would probably be a good idea to start with a spray at first.
Many people wrongly believe that DHA sprays work by staining your skin. This is in fact false, and there’s a very different mechanism behind the effect. Your skin is divided into several layers – the one on the top, on the outside of your body, is called the epidermis. The epidermis itself is separated into a few layers, with the top one being commonly referred to as the horny layer.
The horny layer contains dead skin cells – your skin continuously changes its cells with new ones, and pushes the dead ones out of your body. This is exactly where DHA acts – by interacting with those dead cells, the chemical causes their color to change without the need for any pigments for this purpose.
There’s one major downside to this method though – as your body keeps shedding those dead cells off, you’ll gradually lose your tan over the course of a few days. Normally DHA-based tans last for about one week, though some people with more special body types can go for up to 10 days with a good tan.
If you’re not satisfied with the results of your DHA tanning spray, you may throw in a tanning pill into the mix – those most contain canthaxanthin, a food color additive. Consuming it in increased quantities causes color changes in your skin – though there’s a lot of controversy surrounding the safety of using canthaxanthin for the purpose of fake tanning. The FDA do not approve of it, for one, so this should raise some eyebrows – although, noone’s really reported any adverse side effects yet, so it’s considered safe by most.
Tanning accelerators are available as well, and they can boost the effects of your DHA tanning spray – they contain tyrosine, which contributes to the body’s production of melanin – and this causes your skin to darken. Given, those are just the claims of the products’ authors and there hasn’t been solid evidence to back them up yet – so proceed with a bit of caution when going for tanning accelerators.
Don’t forget the conditions surrounding your tanning too – while picking a product is important, you can easily ruin the whole process by making a simple mistake – like taking a shower too early. You need to let the product get absorbed by your skin completely before you expose yourself to water – otherwise you risk compromising your results, as water can affect the tanning sprays. This goes for the preparation period as well – make sure your skin’s been dried up and doesn’t hold a lot of moisture. Afterwards, ensure that you’ve taken the appropriate safety precautions and proceed with the tanning.