How to Prevent - and Fix - Self-Tanning Disasters
Retinal damage, skin cancer, sunspots, wrinkles, dry and leathery skin -- the list of reasons not to slather yourself in tanning oil and lie in the sun are endless. But a girl's gotta have her summertime glow, and that's what self-tanners are for, if used properly. We'll show you how to fix self-tanning disasters, and better yet, how to prevent a streaky, splotchy mess in the first place.
First, the basics: Sunless tanning products work on the top layer of skin (the dead cells you slough off when you exfoliate.) The dihydroxyacetone (DHA) in the product reacts with the amino acids in the dead skin cells to produce melaninoids, which result in increased pigmentation in that top layer. So, a sunless tan lives in the top layer of your skin, and does not extend any further. A good tan then, starts with an even top layer, and a bad tan can be faded out by exfoliating the top layer away. Beyond exfoliating, here are some tips for avoiding catastrophe.