For many people, all they know about tan lotions is that they put it on and begin to darken. How well it works often depends on the way skin is designed. Understanding that the epidermis (or skin’s outer layer) and dermis (or inner layer) work in different ways can make it easier to find the right self tanning lotion for you.
The goal of self tanning lotion is to alter the appearance of the outer layer without causing damage to the inner layer. The epidermis is not made up of a single layer either. Instead, it is made up of two layers as well. The inner layer is called the stratum basale and it is what turns color when sunbathing.
Self tanning lotion targets the top layer of the epidermis, called the stratum corneum. To find tanning lotions that work on this layer of the skin is the key to getting the best results. Since its inception, this product has attempted to achieve that sun kissed glow that is so desired today.
Coppertone came out with the first self tanning lotion designed to color the skin in 1960. The downside of this product was that it turned the skin orange. Fortunately, these products have come a long way since that time. They now allows individuals to swipe, smooth, or spray colors ranging from light bronze to a Caribbean glow.
Self tanning lotion often takes between 45 minutes to one hour before it starts working, then another two hours to dry. However, with self tanning lotion containing dihydroxyacetone the color lasts between five to seven days. This is because this ingredient interacts with dead skin cells in the epidermis turning them dark.
Fortunately, today there are many options when it comes to self tanning lotion. Sprays, powders, and moisturizers make application of self tanning lotion easy and convenient. However, it is important to remember that few, if any, self tanning lotion products contain sunscreen, so precautions should be taken.