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Do you know what's hiding in your tanning products?

Date Posted:7 October 2021 

Have you ever stopped to think about what’s in your fake tan? Although self-tanner is much safer than sunbaking, it’s important you avoid harsh chemicals and toxins and instead opt for all-natural and organic self-tanners.


What goes into fake tan?

Although fake tan is common, many of us have never stopped to think about how a product can turn our skin a beautiful bronze shade. DHA is the chemical used in fake tans to turn the skin a darker colour. The chemically-made DHA – not to be confused with docosahexaenoic acid (an essential fatty acid found in fish) which also goes by the acronym DHA – has been shown in lab testing to damage and change cell DNA. However, not all DHA is made equally. Commercial spray tans and aerosol tanning bottles can be risky, as the DHA particles are not only absorbed through the skin, but also through mucous membranes (eyes and mouth) and inhaled, where the chemical can lodge in the lungs. The good news is you can significantly reduce your exposure to these chemicals by choosing natural and organic fake tan like Eco Tan. Eco Tan uses naturally-derived DHA that has been extensively tested for its safety. Some other chemicals to avoid in fake tan are propylene glycol (a petrochemical), phenoxyethanol, parabens, and artificial dyes and fragrances.


Is it bad to breathe in fake tan?

Fake tans that use lots of chemicals and an aerosol function, such as some salon fake tans could be harmful to breathe in. Some studies have shown that chemical DHA can enter the lungs and interact or alter cells and organisms inside the body. The risk of this when using a natural tanning lotion, however, is significantly low. Wotnot is a brand that uses only natural ingredients in its tanning range. The Wotnot gradual tan and tanning mousse are both certified organic and natural, making them more than safe for home applications.  


Can fake tan permanently stain your skin?

The short answer? No. There’s an interesting science to fake tan. Essentially the DHA in fake tan starts off colourless but then, when applied to your skin, reacts with the amino acids on your skin’s surface, staining them brown. The DHA only penetrates the top layer of your skin, which is made up of dead skin cells. This is why fake tan only lasts about a week at most. After a week the stained skin will naturally flake away, as our skin is always turning over new skin cells and shedding dead ones.  

Does fake tanning have side effects?

For the most part, no. The main side effects of tanning could come from inhaling toxins in a harsh or chemical-based tan. Or, some have reported digestion issues after tanning which has been linked to the smell of self-tanners and others have experienced aches and pains after using fake tan. The chance of any side effects is low and this is particularly true when you use a natural and organic tan like those from Wotnot or Eco Tan.


Is getting a fake tan bad for your skin?

Although it might seem like fake tan damages your skin, most dermatologists agree that fake tan is harmless on your skin. As long as you take care not to inhale or consume the fake tan, and it’s a natural and/or organic fake tan then you can be confident your skin will be just fine. In fact, dermatologists would prefer that you use a self-tanning lotion rather than one for sun-baking. The sun is one of the most harmful things for our skin as it can cause burns and potentially skin cancer.


Is it bad to fake tan every week?

If you’re exfoliating and moisturising your skin alongside your tanning routine, as well as using natural and organic fake tan, then no it is safe to use fake tan regularly. If you’re concerned however and feel your tanning routine is leaving your natural skin a tad neglected or dry, we recommend trying something like a gradual tan. Eco Tan Winter Skin is a gradual tan cream that works like a regular moisturiser only, after each use it slightly darkens the shade of your skin. Eco Tan Winter Skin is the best gradual tan for those who don’t want a strong tan, want to still have a bronze look in winter or want to take care of their skin with a hydrating and nourishing gradual tan.


Do self-tanners age your skin?

The trick of preventing ageing on your skin is nourishing it with micronutrients like vitamin C and antioxidants. The risk with using fake tan is that you’ll love your tan look but forget to nourish your skin underneath. A good solution is to use a body lotion like the Coconut Body Milk from Eco Tan which not only hydrates your skin but keeps your tan looking nicer for longer. Some self-tanning products like Eco Tan Face Water are actually good for anti-ageing. Eco Tan face water contains hyaluronic acid which actively brings moisture to the skin and plumps it to prevent the signs of ageing. Using Eco Tan Face Water is also recommended for those wanting to match their body shade to their face without the use of foundation.  

Introducing Eco Tan

Over the years, we’ve tried many fake tans at Sassy Organics. The trouble with many natural brands is the colour can sometimes not be as rich or long-lasting as the chemical-ridden tanners. This isn’t the case with Eco Tan – one of the best natural and organic self-tanning brands in Australia. With Eco Tan you can say goodbye to streakiness, smelly odours, stains on sheets and clothing and instead enjoy a beautiful, long-lasting tan. The DHA used in the Eco Tan range is organic certified from natural non GMO vegetable sources. Having been scientifically tested specifically for carcinogenic and mutagenic effects, it has been approved as safe for application on the skin. The FDA in America has approved natural DHA as non-toxic, non-carcinogenic and therefore safe for use in cosmetics. One of our favourites is the Eco Tan Invisible Tan – the best tanning lotion for both face and body. Eco Tan Invisible Tan is as nourishing as a moisturiser but products a medium/dark tan. One of the common issues with using fake tan is not matching your face to the rest of your body. Eco Tan Face Water solves this problem. You can use Eco Tan Face Water like a regular toner, however, it will gradually tan your face so you can say goodbye to obvious tan lines around the neck and jaw.


DHA free instant tan

Some people like to avoid DHA altogether, even the natural and organic kind. For a long time that wasn’t possible – you needed DHA to produce that colour changing effect. Aussie Bronze Instant Tan contains no DHA. Being an instant tan, and DHA-free, you don’t need to wait for Aussie Bronze tans to develop. You can simply apply and head out to show off that all-over glow. An instant tan without DHA will last about 24 hours on the skin and wash off in the shower.