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Sunless tanning products are not the same as they were a decade ago. You no longer have to worry about orange or blotchy skin. The bronzers of the past have been replaced with lotions and sprays that actually chemically react with your skin giving you a natural-looking tan. But how exactly do they work?

Today's tanning lotions and sprays use a chemical called Dihydroxyacetone or DHA for short. DHA is a sugar that will react with amino acids. The dead cells on the surface of your skin contain amino acids and when the DHA reacts with it, it darkens your skin. It is a totally harmless process that is easier to control than bronzers of the past. You can control how dark of a tan you get by applying more or less of the product.

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The only drawback of these sunless tanning lotions and sprays is that they have a relatively short life. Because your body is constantly shedding the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, you will have to reapply the tanner often.

You should use some caution when using sunless tanners. Remember that unlike a regular tan from a tanning bed they will not protect you from sun exposure. Use sunscreen just as if you had no tan at all. Also, you should test the tanner on a hidden part of your body before applying it over all of your skin. Everyone's body is different and you do not know exactly how yours will react.

So before you go bake yourself in the sun, consider the other alternatives. You might thank yourself in ten years for the damage you didn't cause your skin.

How Sunless Tanning Products Work