The best sunless tanning products, such as bronzers and extenders, give skin a golden color. But unlike sunscreens, these products provide very little protection from UV damage.
According to many organisations, including the American Academy of Dermatology, the most effective products available for sunless tanning or self tanning lotions are those that contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the active ingredient.
Some of the best sunless tanning products use Erythrulose combined with the DHA. Erythrulose works identically to DHA on the skin surface, but develops more slowly. The two chemicals used together may produce a longer lasting sunless tan.
Dihydroxyacetone or Erythrulose have been known to cause contact dermatitis. Therefore, first time users of sunless tanning products are recommended to apply a small patch of the relevant product to their skin and wait 24 hours before embarking on a full body application.
The following organisations offer great advice and official recommendations:
Optimal results are obtained when the sunless tanning lotion is applied to clean, dry skin. Bathing and swimming should be avoided until the sunless tanning product is fully absorbed, which can vary from one to six hours. Also take care to note that more DHA will be absorbed by the thicker skin on the hands and feet, so try and avoid these areas or clean well with soap and water immediately after any sunless tanning product is applied to them.
Professional application of the best sunless tanning options are available from spas, salons and gymnasiums in the form of sunless or UV-Free spray booths. The enclosed booth, which resembles an enclosed shower stall, sprays the sunless tanning solution over your entire body.
Airbrush spray tans are applied by professional technicians using specialized equipment designed for applying self tanning sprays, such as an airbrush, LVLP spray gun, and HVLP spray gun equipment types. The technician hand sprays the client from head to toe with a gentle solution misting. The portability of the equipment allows spray tanning services in a larger variety of places, from beach kiosks and malls to a home application.