Sunless Tans

Written by Stacy Chbosky
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The only safe tans are sunless tans, and by sunless tans, I don't mean the kind you get in a tanning booth. I'm talking about self tanning wipes, creams, mousses or lotions. This may seem like bad news to sun worshipers, but take heart, there's plenty of good news to go around.

The best news of all is that sunless tans have actually gotten really good. Are you skeptical? Perhaps, like me, you've endured a disastrous encounter with an old-school self tanning cream. I once sprayed on a self tanner before meeting my then-boyfriend's parents. His mom thought I had a disease, I was so streaked and freaky looking.

Improved Sunless Tans

A lot of tanners use the same active ingredient, DHA. DHA is also known as Dihydroxyacetone. They've been using DHA in self tanners since 1960, when Coppertone introduced Coppertone QuickTan. The FDA approved DHA in the 1970s. Dihydroxyacetone has been around for a long time, but it wasn't perfected until very recently. DHA has finally been refined to the point where you can use it without fear of streaking.

The most important consideration in choosing a tanner is its application method. You want to pick a tanner that is easy to apply, and which dries quickly. You also want to pick one that doesn't stain your clothes. Some tanners take as long as 10 minutes to dry, whereas others take seconds. I highly recommend buying tanners in wipe forms. They're just so much easier to handle than mousses or sprays.

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