Although recent reports indicate that a multi-country ban on specific aerosols is allowing the atmosphere to recover slowly, it will be many years before sunbathing becomes less problematic, especially in regions with the most depletion. Applying a lotion that causes lighter skin to darken evenly avoids painful burning, and the subsequent skin cell alterations triggered by exposure.
It does not take long for the epidermis to react to unfiltered sunlight, and without sunscreen any outdoor activity can encourage damage capable of altering DNA. In order to preserve and renew skin cells, the body manufactures a substance called melanin, designed to absorb radiation harmlessly. It is typically a dark red or brownish color, and is the agent that turns skin browner.
Although that look is considered healthy and youthful, unseen cellular destruction is occurring. The most prevalent side-effects include permanent and premature skin wrinkling, a weakened immune system, and a greater chance of developing melanoma, an often-deadly skin cancer. Sunless tanning products employ chemical agents that mimic the natural process without as many dangers, even though they provide no actual screening protection.
Early adapters of bronzing agents introduced sixty years ago sometimes turned bright orange, to their chagrin. Products available today mostly avoid that consequence, although some can still create a florid appearance if not used carefully. In order to attract more customers, some manufacturers have turned to pills infused with food colors unapproved for this type of use or level of consumption, and which can produce alarming side effects.
The safest products for topical application contain dihydroxyacetone, or DHA. This is not a coloring, but a type of sugar that interacts with outer layers of dead skin cells, and the resulting chemical reaction produces the color. It lasts around a week before noticeably fading, and needs consistent reapplication for maintenance. While it can irritate the eyes if used carelessly, it does not cause premature aging or increase cancer risks.
If not used according to directions, careless application causes unattractive dark blotches or strangely prominent streaks. The creams should not accompany tan accelerating products, which speed color development while increasing epidermal damage. In order to prevent burning, it is still important to apply sunscreen outdoors no matter how dark skin may already look.
Exfoliate before applying a cream or gel, and spread it onto separate skin areas for best results. After application, wipe down skin over joints like elbows or knees, and allow the product to dry at least ten minutes. Avoid getting these products in the eyes, and seer clear of tanning pills containing canthaxanthin. Compared to actual solar radiation exposure, sunless tanning products are a reasonably safe alternative.