How It Works

What’s in fake tan that makes our skin go brown/orange?

There are many different fake self-tan products on the market but the most effective lotions and sprays contain Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a non-toxic, colourless sugar. The skin has two main layers: the epidermis on the outside and the dermis on the inside. DHA works by interacting with the proteins in the dead skin cells in the epidermis. The reaction results in a pigment called melanoidin, which makes your skin look brown. Even though your skin looks brown, it will not protect you from the Sun’s harmful UV rays, which penetrate deep into the dermis layer of the skin damaging the cells and putting you at risk of skin cancer. Also, your fake tan will only last five to seven days because as your skin renews itself the dead skin cells wear away and so does your tan. Make sure you reapply every three days to keep your tan topped up and don’t forget the suncream.

Answered by Alice Holloway.