The self-tanner is a cosmetic product that, when applied several times, leads to a darker skin color. Compared to conventional sunbathing or a visit to the solarium, self-tanning has the advantage that you do not have to expose yourself to harmful UV rays.

Effect of the self-tanner

Self-tanners color them Horny layer (Stratum corneum) of the skin, i.e. the outermost layer of skin, which can be up to several millimeters thick. The thicker the horny layer, the more intensely the self-tanner stains, which is why it is mainly used hands, Feet and Kneel to unwanted dark spots can lead. The tanning intensity increases with the Number of uses and usually disappears a few days after the last application due to the natural flaking of the top layer of the cornea.

Self-tanners contain as an active ingredient Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a colorless simple sugar that reacts with the free amino groups of proteins and amino acids in the skin. A chemical reaction turns brown pigments, so-called Melanoids, which give the outermost layer of skin a brown tint. This reaction starts immediately after applying the tanning cream and is about after 6 to 8 hours completed. As a result, a natural-looking tan can be achieved without sunlight.

The cornea consists of dead skin cells that gradually peel off and thus make an important contribution to skin renewal. This natural process means that the melanoids formed by tanning creams decrease after a few days and the skin pales again. In order to achieve a constant tan, self-tanners must therefore regularly be applied.

Self-tanners are in different intensity levels sold. In general, the higher the DHA content, the more intense and darker the tan achieved.

Side effects of the self-tanner

In general, the artificial tan from the tube is considered less harmful as extensive sunbathing or frequent visits to the solarium. It should be noted, however, that self-tanners despite tanning no protection from UV light offer and a sunburn is still possible. In addition, a resulting sunburn is often noticed too late due to the darker skin color. Additional UV protection is therefore absolutely necessary and essential before sunbathing.

Additives contained in the self-tanner, such as Fragrances, can lead to intolerance and allergies. Some products contain greatly increased amounts of diethyl phthalate (DEP), an organic compound that is often used as a softener and fixer for fragrances in cosmetics. The biggest problem with self-tanners, however, is caused by the active ingredient DHA itself. If stored for too long, the harmless DHA breaks down into formaldehydethat is suspected carcinogenic to be.

Can self-tanner also be harmful?

The use of self-tanner generally harbors few risks. The use is usually harmless, as only the outermost layer of skin is colored and the agent not in the circulatory system can arrive.

For children is self-tanner absolutely not suitable, as children's skin behaves differently than adult skin. People with skin diseases like Eczema, Neurodermatitis or psoriasis must be careful with the use of self-tanners and should only use them after consulting their doctor. Patient with chronic skin diseases should do without it completely. If you have known allergies or hypersensitivity reactions to an ingredient, self-tanner can be harmful and it is not recommended to use it.

Products that Psoralen contain, should be avoided. Psoralen is used as a tanning accelerator and is therefore contained in many tanning creams. However, it is suspected carcinogenic to be. Experts also advise against buying products that contain Silicone oils or dangerous parabens are offset to buy.

Therefore, you should pay close attention to the ingredients before buying!

How often can I use self-tanner?

Tanning creams can be used depending on the desired tanning intensity as often as you like be applied. The artificial tan disappears on its own after three to five days, as the colored skin flakes detach from the skin's cell structure and fall off. Hence, you can use self-tanners regularly apply in order to achieve a constant result.

What is DHA and should I avoid it?

Self-tanners contain an essential active ingredient Dihydroxyacetone. This organic compound is for humans not harmful, as it is also produced in the body's natural metabolism and is widespread in nature. DHA is a monosaccharide, i.e. a simple sugar that is colorless and, thanks to its characteristic scent, defines the typical smell of tanning creams. Self-tanners usually contain, depending on the intensity 2-5% DHA; a higher proportion of DHA leads to a darker skin tone. DHA works by chemically reacting with proteins and amino acids in the cornea of ​​the epidermis. The result is brown pigments, which are deposited in the cells of the cornea and thus lead to the desired tanning effect.

DHA is a harmless substance and harmless to humans. However, it becomes problematic when self-tanning during a longer time stored, because then DHA breaks down and formaldehyde arises. The action of heat accelerates this process, which is why self-tanners always work on a dark and cool place, without direct sunlight should be kept. Formaldehyde is considered carcinogenic, can to Skin irritation and Allergies lead and is banned in the EU as an additive in cosmetics. The breakdown of DHA to formaldehyde in self-tanners goes unnoticed by the consumer. In order not to take any risks, tanning creams should therefore a maximum of three months be disposed of after opening.

Can I use self-tanners during pregnancy?

Self-tanners are considered safe for the fetus, however experts advise against it, Tanning creams in the critical first three months to use. Through the Increase in hormones the skin of pregnant women changes, the nipples become darker and pigment spots can appear. This can be intensified by using a self-tanner. In addition, the typical odor of tanning creams Morning sickness aggravate. After the first trimester, there is generally nothing against using self-tanner. However, care should be taken that the self-tanning creams no tanning-accelerating psorals included, as these are suspected carcinogenic to be. Breastfeeding mothers should also avoid using their breasts and nipples when tanning, since traces of self-tanner could otherwise be swallowed by the baby.

How can I best remove self-tanners?

Self-tanning creams and lotions stain areas that have a thicker cornea to have, particularly intense. This often leads to unwanted and unsightly dark spots on hands, knees or feet. Normally, the artificial tan disappears by itself after a few days due to the natural flaking of the outermost layer of the skin. In general, self-tanner cannot be completely removed immediately, as the brown pigments are embedded in the cells of the cornea, but there are some ways to lighten dark areas and help the natural peeling of the skin.

Body scrubs or a homemade mixture of coarse sea-salt and olive oil remove the tanned cornea, which makes dark spots disappear. A special Peeling glove be used. You can also use the affected areas whitening toothpaste or one sliced ​​lemon rub in, the skin is gently lightened by the fruit acid contained in the citrus fruit. Frequent showering or a hot bubble bath soften the skin, which accelerates the fading of the artificially tanned skin.

Annoying orange spots Tanning accidents can also be mitigated and partially removed by one Cotton pad with nail polish remover wets and rubs over the affected areas. The acetone contained in the nail polish remover removes the self-tanner. With acetone, however, should economical be handled as it is very aggressive and too Skin irritation and Dehydration can lead.