Essential guide to fake tan

05/05/2020 — By Alexandra Julian

Essential guide to fake tan

This guide provides information and advice on using fake tan. We look at the range of alternatives to achieve a tan without exposure to harmful UV rays or harsh chemicals.

This guide also has some tips on the best ways to apply natural fake tan lotion and on how our ingredients work to give you a healthy, natural glow.

Green People offers two natural and organic sunless tanners:

Self Tan Lotion 150ml

Self Tan Lotion 150ml

Non-streaky self tan lotion for all skin types


Gradual Tan Moisturiser 50ml

Gradual Tan Moisturiser 50ml

A daily moisturiser for a gentle build-up of colour



How do self tan lotions work?

Sunless tanning products contain a colourless sugar called dihydroxacetone (DHA). This reacts with amino acids in the surface skin cells to produce 'melanoidin', a substance chemically similar to the natural skin pigment melanin, causing skin colouration similar to a sun tan.

DHA only affects the outermost dead cells of the epidermis and so does not damage the skin, It does not require exposure to UV light to work. The result depends on the formulation used, the user's complexion, and how it is applied.

A colour change is usually apparent within a couple of hours of application but maximum darkening can take 8-24 hours to develop. If you want a darker colour, you may need to apply several successive applications every few hours.

The tan lasts until the dead skin cells rub off, up to seven days with a single application. The same colour may be maintained with repeat applications every two to three days.

As well as cosmetic uses, sunless tanning can be used clinically to treat vitiligo, a condition causing uneven skin pigmentation, or to camouflage skin irregularities, such as leg spider veins, or for individuals with photosensitivity disorders.

The sunless tanner Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is currently the most popular way of gaining a tan-like appearance without sun exposure as it carries less health risks than any of the other available methods.

It is also to date the only active ingredient approved by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for sunless tanning.

Sunless tanning tips

These tips can help you achieve a smooth and even look to help you get best result from your sunless tanning products:

  • Prepare the skin with thorough cleansing, then exfoliate thoroughly using a loofah or dry brushing to avoid uneven colour application. Take care when exfoliating your face - use a facial micro-fibre cloth or a gentle facial scrub
  • Rinse your skin well and pat dry
  • Moisturise well, especially bony areas such as elbows, ankles, heels and knees
  • Apply Self Tan Lotion to your skin in thin layers wherever you want colour, using less on thicker skin, as colour stays longer in these areas
  • To avoid uneven darkening, use a wet cotton pad of damp flannel to remove excess cream from bony areas such as elbows, ankles, heels and knees
  • To avoid tanned palms, wash your hands immediately afterwards
  • After applying sunless tanning lotion, wait 20-30 minutes for it to dry before you get dressed.
  • Avoid shaving, showering or swimming for at least an hour after application
  • Reapply regularly (every two or three days) to maintain the colour

Natural sunless tanning with Green People

Our natural and certified organic fake tan is ideal for sensitive skin. The Self Tan Lotion contains safe, gentle ingredients that create an effective, natural tan for all skin tones.

It contains sugar-derived DHA along with organic Rosehip, Geranium and Sandalwood to give it a beautiful light scent. It can be used all over the body, including the face, for a smooth, even tan in 3-4 hours.

Looking for a facial tanner?

If you are looking for a more subtle, facial tanning product then we would suggest you try our Gradual Tan Moisturiser. Control the depth of tan over a number of days to get your perfect glow.

Please note: despite making your skin darker after using sunless tanning lotion, you are still susceptible to harmful UV rays and so sun protection is still essential.

Gradual Tan Moisturiser 50ml

Gradual Tan Moisturiser 50ml

A daily moisturiser for a gentle build-up of colour



Is self tanning safe?

Some mainstream brands of fake tan include chemicals that have been linked with hormone disruption, allergies and the release of possible carcinogenic compounds, such as formaldehyde and nitrosamines.

The list of fake tan chemicals of concern includes:

  • Cocamide DEA, DEA – skin irritant
  • Formaldehyde – skin irritant and possibly carcinogenic
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone – skin irritant
  • Oxybenzone – linked with hormone disruption
  • Pentyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl paraben – linked with hormone disruption

Green People's organic self tan lotions do not contain any of these ingredients.

Also concerns were raised over the use of DHA in spray fake tans as when inhaled DHA may have an effect on the living cells inside the body. When applied as a lotion however DHA is safe to use as it only come into contact with the outer skin cells and poses no health risk.

Our customer care team is happy to provide advice about our natural and organic self tan lotions. Please call us on 01403 740350 or leave your comment or question below.