Being the good health educator that I am, I know all too well the dangers of getting too much sun as well as some of the unwanted cosmetic effects it can have over time.   Summer time is supposed to be a time of, well, SUN!   While I don’t hide from the sun when I am outside, I also don’t bake in it and do use my sunscreen judiciously.  But I also like a little bit of COLOR!

I am sold on the use of self-tanners.    You can do a basic Google search and do a review on ANY and all self-tanners out there.  We all are looking for different things, and what I’ve learned from talking to friends who use self-tanners, one that works for me may not work for someone else.  So if you are interested in getting a little bit of a bronze glow, but don’t want to bake in the sun, it may be worth your while to take a look at some of the reviews, and give a few of them a try. There are all kinds of varieties – lotions, gels, creams, sprays – something for everyone. There are even “professional” spray tans that are offered at tanning and beauty salons.  There are plenty of choices.

A few things to remember:

Are self-tanners safe?

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), dihydroxyacetone (DHA) – the key ingredient in sunless tanners – is safe for external application to the skin.   The FDA also states that DHA should not be inhaled or applied to areas covered by mucous membranes, which include lips, nose, or around the eyes.  The risks of exposure to these areas are not yet known. As long as you are following directions on the label and avoid the eye, nose, and mouth area, the product can be considered safe.   If you are visiting a salon, they should tell you how to protect yourself from getting the solution in your mucous membranes, but if they don’t, ASK!  Some places will offer goggles (also called “sunnies”), a nose filter, and barrier cream or lip balm.   You may have heard of “tanning pills” which is a completely separate topic. These are NOT safe!

My self-tanner usually lasts for about 3 days.  If I get a professional spray tan, it sometimes will last up to a week, but usually for at least 4-5 days.  Your results may vary, but it’s worth a try if you are looking for that sun-kissed look without the sun!

Have a wonderful sun-filled – yet sun-safe- summer, and may you find JUST the self-tanner that is right for you if you choose to get your glow from a bottle, tube, jar, or salon!


Tanning products. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed May 20, 2017.
Sunless Tanning – What You Need to Know. . Accessed May 20, 2017.
What about tanning pills and other tanning products? American Cancer Society. Accessed May 20, 2017.
How to apply self-tanner. American Academy of Dermatology. May 20, 2017.