How Self-Tanners Give Skin A Golden Glow

Every year, we can't wait to trade our sweaters and boots for tank tops and sandals; but we definitely don't look forward to that first pasty day on the beach. So if you're reluctant to saunter onto the sand looking like Casper, consider self-tanner. It's safer for your skin than the sun, and you get a jump-start on the race to look golden.

But what exactly makes self-tanners work?

The answer is a chemical called dihydroxyacetone or DHA, the key ingredient in the vast majority of self-tanning formulas. DHA begins working when oxygen hits it, creating a reaction within the top layer of your skin (the dead cells) that results in visible darkening.

This chemical reaction with your skin also helps explain that "self-tanner smell." Just like there's a noticeable smell when someone gets out of a tanning bed, there's a distinct scent associated with the activation of DHA. Luckily, the smell is only really noticeable when you first put them on, and many brands are working on ways to counteract it.

If you feel your most comfortable with a tan, self-tanners are definitely the healthiest way to reach your goal, and the only way to get a beautiful, bronzed glow without damaging your precious skin. Trust us: self-tanners fade, but leathery, sun-damaged skin doesn't!