Increasingly popular, sunless tanning lotion appeals to those looking for an alternative to exposing their skin to the sun's potentially harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays.
The appeal is also about wanting to obtain a beautiful, glowing, natural looking tan but not wanting to have to actually sunbathe outdoors or even go to a tanning salon.
Almost since the invention of cosmetics has there been some sort of tanning or self-tanning product available in some form or another.
Coppertone introduced its first sunless tanning product in 1960 - the one we all came to know as QT, abbreviated from Quick Tanning Lotion. Unfortunately it produced an unsightly orange effect that many still remember today and so will avoid the more modern versions.
However, the more advanced formulations of today can impart anything from a subtle "bronzed glow" to a "deep, dark sun tanned" look. There are quite a few alternative formats available too:
Most of these take about 45 minutes to an hour before they have any real effect.
All of these options are often used to jump start the outdoor tanning process. eg. Before going on holiday to a beach resort where you want to be in the sun every day.
It is vitally important to know that these sunless tanning options do not contain any sunscreen and so offer no protection from the sun's UV rays.
They do not increase the melanin levels in your skin, as with a 'real' tan. So although they create a golden skin colour, they are actually not able to protect the skin from the ultraviolet radiation in the sun's rays.
It's therefore important that users of sunless tanning lotions and such, apply sunscreen before venturing out into the sunshine.
The main ingredient that makes all of these sunless tanning products work is "dihydroxyacetone", otherwise known as DHA.
This is a fancy name for what is actually a colorless sugar that creates a change in the color of your skin's dead skin cells on the epidermis (outer layer of skin).
The more times you use them, the darker the shade of tan you will create.
Once the desired tan is obtained, you can stop applying the lotion and after about a week it will begin to fade, until you are back to your original colour.
Ingredients vary widely from brand to brand but some of the common active ingredients include melanin, L-Tyrosine, Tea oil, Copper, Green tea extract and many other natural oils for additional moisturizing.
These are needed to compensate the tanning process and leave the skin looking smooth and healthy.
Hempseed oil is a very popular moisturizing oil because it is high in fatty acids, which helps to seal in moisture and maintain longer effects from tanning.
Fragrance is another common ingredient used to differentiate products and although it offers no advantage in tanning, it often dictates a person's choice. Some may even choose a product for its aromatherapy effect.
With added moisturizing oils and antioxidants such as vitamin E and aloe, your skin will remain hydrated and full of nutrients.