A Sunless Tan - Is it Safe?

From: ONE with Earth Organics
Published: Thu Oct 27 2005

Our skin is the largest organ on our bodies and because it is external, it is exposed to more dangers than any other organ we have.

Taking care of your skin is crucial. Not only can it pose health risks when we neglect our skin, but the psychological factor of not having a desirable appearance is just as devastating to most.

 "Beauty is only skin deep," is simply a cliché to many people. When we look in the mirror everyday, we do not see our soul, our chi, our psyche, our spirit ----- we see our skin. It is the same vanity that damns us, that also saves us.

Without the concern for the appearance of fine lines or wrinkles as they may be, without the appearance of acne, Rosacea and other skin conditions that are not a compliment to our appearance, we might not be out there taking steps to treat our skin properly with proper cleansing, moisturizers and protection from that bright star we call the sun.

Genetics. Though you do not want to hear that you are destined for age spots, acne, spider veins, cellulite, stretch marks, excess body hair, skin allergies, moles, cancers, etc., the reality is that you were born with that
predisposition in your genes. Can you head it off through lifestyle changes and personal care? The good news is yes, you can.

By now, most humans are aware of the risks posed to their skin by the sun. Back in my day, it was normal to lie outside in the height of the sun's afternoon phase wearing baby oil and chanting, "Burn me, cook me, make me tan!" My mother used to wear baby oil on the beach in Florida, where I grew up, laced with iodine for color.

Now we all know better... or do we?

The irony and contradiction is that we associate a tanned body with good health in our society. Of course that is only in the short term. In the long term, sun worshippers end up looking like a dried lake bed in the summer heat.

Now the salons and stores are lining up with products that you can spray or wipe on that give you a tan. Moving past the lovely orange coating - it is actually looking a little more like a true tan.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the most effective sunless tanning products contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the active ingredient. DHA is a colorless chemical (it is derived from glycerin) that interacts with the amino acids in dead skin cells to produce a brown color change. Since these dead skin cells are constantly being shed, the color change produced by DHA usually lasts about five to seven days.

The use of DHA in cosmetics, including sunless "tanning" products, is restricted to EXTERNAL application only. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, "externally applied" cosmetics are those "applied only to external parts of the body and not to the lips or any body surface covered by mucous membrane. In addition, no color additive may be used in cosmetics intended for use in the area of the eye unless the color additive is permitted specifically for such use.

It isn't the DHA that is worrisome, at least not to THIS point has there been any evidence of dangers associated with the topical application of DHA in the use of sunless tanning products.

So for now, you should be concerned about the OTHER ingredients if you want to protect your skin. At http://www.ewg.org you will find a list of the top most dangerous sunless tanning products on the market.

Company: ONE with Earth Organics
Contact Name: Candy Loya, Editor Walking the Green Road
Contact Email: cloya@onewithearth.com
Contact Phone: 330-622-9033

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