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28. Therapist Thursday- Conversations with a Skin Therapist: Self Tan Q&A

Updated: Mar 21

This week I had the wonderful opportunity to be on a panel of experts talking about 'All Things Under the Sun' with the emphasis on the importance of sun protection. Years ago it was popular to have a very dark tan, but now the fashion has changed with education about sun awareness. Working in the beauty industry I am in regular contact with clients about their skin health. They all know what will come out of my mouth, "Wear your sun screen and a big floppy hat!" I may sound like a nagging mother, but they are pleased to let me know that between appointments they have indeed been wearing their daily spf.

Two of the ladies (Gillian Robson and Katy Foxcroft) on the panel were founders of Tancream, the first self tan with a sun protection factor 50! I met them three years ago when they were just launching Tancream and they have gone on to win numerous industry awards and even be supported by Dragon's Den.

Gillian is a skin cancer survivor and has had over 14 moles removed over the past few years, as a model and leggy blonde being tan all year round was a necessity and unfortunately she's had to pay the ultimate price. Through adversity comes opportunity and she and Katy noticed a gap in the market for a self tan with sun protection and bronzer.

Ironically this week, I also had a message seeking advice for the following 3 questions about self tanning, so thought I would share my advice.

1. Is it safe to use self tanner repetitively?

Yes, the ingredients are not harmful. The dihydroxyacetone (DHA) found in most self tanning products is often made up of a sugary plant based substance that simulates the oxidisation of an apple, and that's what gives you the sunless tan. So, using this product again and again won't cause your body any harm, and it is a much safer way of sporting a tan that sunbathing!

2. How do you avoid the "orange" oompa loopa results some self tanning products give? The best way to avoid the orange outcome is to patch test the product first.  Also many salon brands have researched and tested their self tanners so ensure that the result is not orange.  Some store bought product ranges don't specialise in self tanning products, so the products often don't create the desired result.

3. If I have a special occasion I want to use a product for, how far in advance do you recommend I try the product for a 'test run'? I would recommend a tanning trial at least two weeks in advance because that should be long enough for the sunless tan to wear off completely and if there is an allergic reaction then the skin should have calmed down before the event.  If you want to be overly cautious then try the product one month in advance, and if you're tanning yourself then it gives you a few chances to work on the application technique!

If you have any questions about tanning or skincare, please get in touch and if you would like to purchase Tancream or other sun protection products, there are a variety on my website

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