PSA: Using Self-Tanners May Cause “Brownheads”

If you’re secretly a fan of tanning in our fair skin-obsessed society, you may have considered using self-tanning products because you can’t always hit a few hours on the beach, as much as you’d like to.

Do we really know how they work, though, and if they’re safe to use? Technically, you don’t have to be exposed to the sun for a long time if you use self-tanners.

Basically, these are fake tanners, but they’re not much safer than sun exposure.

How do self-tanners work?

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Most self-tanners have at most, 2% DHA which binds amino acids in the skin to form melanoidins (which should not be confused with melanin). Melanoidins form at the surface of your skin to create a bronze sheen that doesn’t wash off unless you exfoliate really hard.

Tanning products may cause “brownheads”

“Brownheads” form when one’s pores get so clogged up, they form a layer of skin that bears the resemblance of freckles. In actual fact, they’re clogged pores, and much harder to extract than blackheads. Regular use of self-tanners may cause that for people who don’t exfoliate after, because you don’t want to take off the tan.

Can you use tanning products and sunblock together?

It sounds pretty logical – just block out the UV rays and tan altogether. Unfortunately, according to an article by Refinery29, the DHA in tanning products really undermines protection from UV rays. Essentially, DHA cancels out sun protection.

So, if you really want to get a good tan the safe way, we’d suggest basking in the warmth of sunny vitamin D with your sunblock. At least you’ll be safe from brownheads!