Three products for a radiant, customizable tan — without UV rays

Three products for a radiant, customizable tan — without UV rays

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How to Choose the Best Tanning Drops?

A self-tanner gives a tan to the skin without having to expose yourself to the sun. Many products in different forms are available on the beauty market today. Find our advice on how to pick the best type of care.

Published August 17, 2023, by Sandrine, Scientific Editor — 4 min read

Self-Tanning Drops, How Do They Work?

Tanning drops are part of a larger category of self-tanning products. Indeed, there are also creams, mists, milks, gels… This type of care provides an even tan similar to a tan without having to expose yourself to the sun for several hours. Their use thus makes it possible to avoid the harmful effects generated by an exposure to the UV rays like the sunburn, the signs of premature aging of the skin (wrinkles, fine lines, cutaneous relaxation?) or the imperfections (pigmentary spots, buttons?).

Self-tanners generally contain a tanning agent called dihydroxyacetone (DHA). The DHA molecules react with amines, peptides and amino acids in the upper layer of the epidermis to form pigments called melanoidins, which are responsible for the brown color of the skin. The mode of action of self-tanners is thus based on the Maillard reaction. Nevertheless, this color gradually fades and disappears completely in 5 to 7 days. This phenomenon is explained by the frequent renewal of the horny layer (natural process of desquamation).

Note that DHA can be of vegetable or synthetic origin. We recommend that you choose a self-tanning product containing DHA of natural origin, typically derived from a biotechnological process using beet roots.

Typology Self-Tanning Drops.

When buying tanning drops it is recommended to select a shade that is close to your skin color for the most natural finish possible. Therefore, apply a small amount of the product in question to the wrist or the back of the hand beforehand, to make sure that it is not too dark or that you do not develop a skin reaction.

Self-tan drops or serums are generally divided into three shades: light, medium and dark. The difference between these three categories is the amount of DHA in the product. The best tanning drops for light skin contain between 1 and 3% DHA, while those for darker skin mostly have concentrations of over 5%. In all cases, the concentration cannot exceed 10% due to the regulations in force.

There are classic tanning products and so-called progressive self-tanners. A classic self-tanner is recommended for darker skin types who wish to tan their skin more quickly, in a few hours. On the other hand, a progressive self-tanner works slowly. This type of self-tanner is designed for fair skin, i.e., phototypes I and II according to the FITZPATRICK scale.

Note: Sensitive skin types should choose fragrance-free tanning drops to avoid the risk of allergies.

Typology Self-Tanning Drops.

The self-tanning serum with 10% DHA and carob pulp extract enhances the complexion as early as 12 hours after the first application for a gradual effect. The carob pulp present in the serum allows the healthy glow effect to last longer. Unlike chemical self-tanners, this serum does not provide artificial orange coloring.

It is worth mentioning that the tanning drops do not protect against the sun's UV rays and cannot be used as a substitute for a sun cream! Be sure to protect yourself from UV rays with a broad-spectrum sunscreen before exposure.


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