In 1923 style icon Coco Chanel enjoyed copious amounts of sunshine on a Mediterranean yacht. When she disembarked in Cannes, the world went crazy over her bronzed skin. Her accidental tan marked the birth of sunbathing.
The suntanned look has now dominated summer style for decades. However, sunbathing is not without its risks. Many turn to fake tan products to get the look without the sometimes harmful effects of UV rays.
If you've ever wondered, "can you tan with fake tan on?" you're not alone. So keep reading to answer that and more of your most pressing questions about sunless tanning.
Can You Tan With Fake Tan On?
It's possible, but you still need to take precautions. First, you must remember that although the tanner browns your skin, it does not produce any melanin (your skin's natural UV protectant.)
Furthermore, most sunless tanning products don't contain SPF protection. This means that you'll still need to slather on that sunscreen.
When your skin is artificially tanned, it's easy to miss your bodies cues for when you've had enough sun. For example, with your natural fake tan, you might not notice a sunburn until it's too late. So, follow these rules if you plan to catch some rays after sunless tanning.
- Apply a minimum of 30 SPF every two hours, after swimming or sweating for 30 minutes, or after towelling off.
- Take breaks in the shade when you start to feel hot and drink plenty of water.
Remember, sunscreen only works when it's applied correctly. Unfortunately, 80% of Australians apply sunscreen wrong - the most common mistake is using too little.
To clear any confusion: you need one teaspoon of sunscreen for every limb and about seven teaspoons overall. Depending on your size, you might need more or less. The goal here is total coverage.
Now that you're no longer wondering, "can you tan with fake tan on?" it's time to get to your other fake tan questions.
How Does Fake Tan Work?
The chemical dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is the primary ingredient in most sunless tanning products to bronze your skin. DHA produces a tan colour when it reacts with the amino acids on your skin. It has a long history in medicine, and much like most groundbreaking science, scientists discovered its tanning effects by accident.
The Origin Story of Fake Tan
In the 1930s, doctors were studying DHA as a treatment for diabetes. Patients in the study took DHA pills. Unfortunately, the oral administration turned the patient's gums yellow.
Decades later, in 1953, researchers used DHA in another clinical trial. This time with children suffering from glycogen storage disorders. Everyone's skin turned brown who came in contact with the chemical, but their clothes stayed stain-free.
By 1960, scientists figured out why. They deduced DHA's bronzing properties and dubbed their study the "tanning study." That year tanning products were stocked at every major cosmetic retailer around the world.
How Long Does A Fake Tan Last?
Fake tans fade as dead skin cells slough off.
Most brands report that their colour lasts for ten days. However, the exact length depends on a few factors. Fake tan products containing higher DHA levels or darker shades of tan will last longer than low levels of DHA and light tones of tan.
How you apply the tanning product and treat your skin after application also impact the longevity of your tan. Here are some tips to follow to extend your tan's life.
- Wash and exfoliate everywhere you'll apply the tanner
- Allow your tan to dry before you put on clothes
- Leave the product on for a minimum of 6 hours
- During the 6 hours, try not to apply any lotion, makeup, or perfume as some ingredients affect the integrity of the DHA on your skin.
Alternatively, when tanning mishaps happen, the fading process can seem excruciatingly long. Read this post if you can't wait another minute for your fake tan to disappear.
Fake Tan Vs. Real Tan
We’ve discussed how fake tans colour your skin, but do you know the process behind real tans? Although fake tans and suntans produce the same golden effects, there are some crucial differences.
When you tan, the sun's UV rays damage your cells. In response to this perceived attack, your melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) release melanin to help protect your body from excess rays. Unfortunately, by the time your tan develops, the damage is already done.
Many tanners cite vitamin D as a reason to avoid sunscreens. However, the amount of sunlight needed to produce vitamin D is far lower than the levels that cause your tan.
The bottom line is that there is no safe way to tan without sunscreen and other protective measures. Luckily, there is a way to achieve a glow with natural fake tan products while staying safe.
What Types of Fake Tan Products Are There?
The best fake tan is an undetectable one.
So, when searching for the best skin care products in Australia, consult customer reviews. The main characteristic to look for is its ease of application. Of course, humans aren't perfect, so your sunless tanner should be forgiving.
You can avoid tiger stripes by only using high-quality skincare products. Fake tanner comes in many different forms; there is mousse, lotion, and sprays (oh my!) Everybody has their individual preference, but some find that foams and creams are easier to apply.
If you care about what goes in your body, you should care about what goes on it. Organic skincare in Australia answers those concerns. When shopping, it's essential to know the difference between organic and natural.
Companies declare their products "natural" when they contain several natural ingredients. However, the process for organic certification is much more rigorous. In Australia, certified organic skincare must contain a minimum of 70% organics. All remaining ingredients have to be natural.
It's easy to find organic tanning products. Australian organic skincare brands will be labelled with "certified organic" or "Toxic-Free Safe Cosmetics Australia council."
Natural Fake Tan in Australia
Congratulations, you are an official tanning expert. So now, the next time you hear someone asking, "can you tan with fake tan on?" you'll answer their question with confidence.
Armed with newfound knowledge, you're ready to make informed decisions about your skincare.
At Three Warriors, we take your skin seriously.
If you're serious about it too, visit our shop for vegan, cruelty-free skincare products with certifications from the OFC (organic food chain) and the Toxic-Free Safe Cosmetics Australia council.