Ask the Expert: Are Tanning Lotions Safe?

Stephanie Hunstad MD from TriHealth Physician Partner Western Family Physicians answers a Local 12 viewer question on self-tanners as part of their Ask the Expert segment.

How Do Tanning Lotions Work?

"The DHA – or dihydroxyacetone – actually causes a chemical reaction in the protein layer of the top layer – or the dead layer – of the skin, and that causes the protein to brown, or darken," Dr. Hunstad tells Local 12's Liz Bonis.

Achieve a Safe, Healthy Glow

Safer tanning options for those looking to achieve a healthy glow, include bronzers that work right away, glows that set in over a few days, or bronzers that give the skin a temporary tan until they are washed off.

Dr. Hunstad says to remember that even if you think self-tanning lotion results are not as pretty as a sun tan, "As far as what we know now, it's a pretty good alternative."

Tips for best sunless tanning lotion results:

  • Use self-tanners from top to bottom, starting with the legs and working up to the arms
  • Do not use them every day
  • Wash your hands really well after each use and exfoliate your skin

Learn more about sun safety tips in our Health Library:

Tags: Skin Health

Last Updated: February 22, 2014