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The Different Forms of Self-Tanning Products

Self-tanner is the ideal companion if you want to have a sun-tanned complexion all year round, without being exposed to the unpleasant effects of UV radiation. Self-tanners come in different varieties to suit all needs. In this article, we will take a look at the pros and cons of each form and texture.

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Published February 29, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 8 min read

Self-Tanners in Different Forms

Spray, cream, milk, gel, wipes... Self-tanners come in many different variations. It is helpful to know their respective advantages and disadvantages before deciding on a particular form of self-tanner.

  • The self-tanning sprays

    Self-tanning sprays have an airy texture and are very easy to use. They are convenient and can be taken anywhere. To get an even tan, simply spray the spray on your face and gently rub it in. Another advantage of sprays is the small amount of product that is delivered, so you can dose the intensity of the tan. They also absorb quickly and leave a natural finish. However, care should be taken when using self-tanning sprays on the face: Inhaling this type of skin care product is harmful to your health and can cause asthma, lung disease and even cancer.

  • Self-tanning creams and foams

    Self-tanning creams and foams are more classic formats and have the advantage of being easy to use. They are pleasant to apply and have a creamy, smooth texture that is especially suitable for normal to dry skin. These formulas usually contain moisturizing active ingredients and thus offer dual benefits.

  • Self-tanning oils and serums

    The rich formula of oils and serums gives the skin a silky glow and provides a natural, modulable result. Another benefit is that self-tanning oils and serums can be applied alone or mixed with a day cream for better application.

    At Typology, we offer a self-tanning serum for the face with a high concentration of DHA (10%). It also contains an extract from the pulp of the carob tree, which is rich in inositol. This molecule influences the process of melanogenesis to activate the natural tanning of the skin. Through the number of drops applied and the frequency of application of the serum, you can regulate the intensity of tanning.

  • The self-tanning milk

    These products are liquid, can be applied quickly, and are suitable for both the face and body. They are generally very pleasant to apply and often contain moisturizing and nourishing ingredients, which are very popular among people with dry skin. Nevertheless, some milks have a very light formulation and can evaporate if left in the sun for a long time.

  • Self-tanning wipes

    As a portable solution, the wipes do not leave stains or marks and can be packed into a bag or suitcase with a single movement. They are generally easy to use and provide a consistent result. However, their light texture does not provide long-lasting hold. In addition, this solution is not very environmentally friendly, as the wipes are discarded after one application.

  • The self-tanning gels

    Self-tanning gels are very popular due to their fresh, oil-free texture. For this reason, they are especially suitable for people with combination or oily skin. Gels are quickly absorbed into the skin, but can sometimes dry out the skin. Therefore, they are not suitable for people with dry skin. They are applied to the face or body by massaging them in with the palms of the hands until they are fully absorbed.

    Typology has developed a self-tanning gel with a DHA content of 6% and Aloe vera, known for its soothing and moisturizing properties. It provides a natural and modulable tan thanks to the combination of plant-based self-tanning molecules.

  • The self-tanning capsules

    Self-tanning capsules are often based on beta-carotenes and help prevent pressure points and an inhomogeneous tan. Beta-carotenes are a potent form of vitamin A and become active when they reach the intestinal mucosa. They then stimulate the synthesis of melanin, pigmenting the skin. Typically, treatment is effective after one month and is often continued for up to three months.

  • The self-tanning showers

    These are booths where fine droplets of a self-tanning lotion are sprayed on the body and/or face. This technique is quite practical and fast (less than ten minutes if a machine is used) and provides an even result. Nevertheless, there is a question about the risk of inhaling DHA. Ingestion or inhalation of this molecule can lead to asthma, lung disease or cancer. However, to date, no health authority has determined that self-tanning showers pose a health risk due to the short exposure time of the product.

Choosing a Self-Tanner: What Criteria Should I Look For?

To achieve an even and delicate tan, you should consider two things when choosing a self-tanner:

  • The skin tone

  • First, it is important to choose a self-tanner that matches your skin tone. Lighter skin types should choose a self-tanner with a gradual tan to achieve a natural finish. Self-tanners with an intense tan are more suitable for darker skin types and combination skin.

    When choosing a self-tanner, pay attention to the composition. Most self-tanners contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), but only some use it in combination with erythrulose. These compounds are responsible for coloring the skin. They work similarly, but erythrulose often provides a more natural and lighter result.

    Self-tanners with DHA and erythrulose are therefore more suitable for people with fair skin, while self-tanners consisting only of DHA are more suitable for people with dark skin.

  • The type of your skin

    The different forms of self-tanners make it possible to adapt to all skin types. If you have oily skin, we recommend you go for a self-tanner with a light texture that softens the shine of the covered areas. Gels are among the most suitable textures. For dry skin, self-tanners in the form of foam, milk or cream are suitable, which moisturize and provide a tanning effect.

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