An added glow to the skin can not only positively impact your confidence, but help your summer wardrobe to look even better. Over the years we’ve all been actively encouraged to ditch the sunbeds and undertake a safer and ‘faker’ alternative; self tans have become incredibly mainstream and offer a sun-free way of achieving a golden and radiant glow. I’ve been a self-tanner for years, transforming my pasty pale skin into something a little less transparent – especially as we step into summer and start to slip into something a little more revealing. As scientific advances have made self tanners even more realistic and less troublesome to apply, the market has boomed to leave the self tanning shelves of your local Boots store bursting with newness. A little indulgent tanning time once a week can offer a golden glow, but did you know the main ingredient in the majority of your tan products is actually holding a dirty little secret?
DHA (dihydroxyacetone) is the main active ingredient in the majority of self tanning products; DHA is a colorless chemical (derived from glycerin) that interacts with the amino acids in dead skin cells to produce a brown color change. DHA has been used as the standard technology in self-tanning for years and it is the only approved ingredient to be able to make a self-tanning claim. It’s this ingredient that has the biscuity scent we so closely associate with self tan, and the ingredient that helps provide a natural glow all over the skin’s surface. However, the use of DHA brings with it two problems that are not widely reported within the beauty industry: firstly, like nearly all sugar-type compounds, it increases the presence of free radicals, and secondly, DHA is known to cause cell cycle block and cell death. That can’t be a good thing.
Put simply, the main ingredient in your self tan is actually causing the skin cells on the surface to become damaged and eventually die off. This leads to the dryness (and often uneven texture) that self-tans can cause, which is why we’re told to regularly moisturise and exfoliate skin to reveal the fresh and new skin beneath. Cell damage presents itself in the form of ageing, so if you’re a regular tanner you could start to see your skin prematurely becoming drier, crinklier and prone to pigmentation. Unsurprisingly this is an issue that’s not discussed in the beauty industry and is incredibly difficult to find too much about online, but it is absolutely based in scientific fact. (Can you imagine if this fact was widely known? The whole market would likely implode!) Although a little every so often isn’t going to make that much of a difference, if you’re a regular self tanner then it’s definitely worth understanding the potential negative impact of such a mainstream product and getting to know the alternatives. (I’m a firm believer in making informed decisions.)
Talking of which… Deciem as a company are increasingly known for pushing the boundaries, challenging the norm and refusing to just put up with what’s widely accepted within the beauty industry – which is why they’ve developed their own alternative to DHA enriched self tanners. Their Hand Chemistry Glow Oil is free from DHA and is enriched with a keto-sugar originally found in raspberries. This has been used in the past as a support mechanism to make the DHA induced tan more natural, but on its own there is very little effect from a tanning perspective. Deciem’s formula therefore uses a unique peptide technology that allows for an effect to occur from this keto sugar alone, which (like many of their advances and innovations) was discovered by accident. Melanin Hexapeptide (the peptide in question) supports the keto-sugar in forming a recognizable colour without DHA, as well as leading to production of your own melanin (which is where the natural bronze colour comes from when we’re exposed to sun.)
This means Hand Chemistry Glow Oil can create a natural bronzed look while encouraging your body to tan without exposure to sun. Bonus. Additionally, the formula helps to create an even skin tone and increase cell turnover (without peeling) to provide a healthy and even looking surface; it’s a tanning product and skincare saviour in one. It does take a little getting used to, knowing that we’ve been applying lotions, creams and mousses for decades, but the lightweight and non-greasy oil formula leaves behind a natural glow while the ingredients inside get to work; it does take some time to develop and won’t provide a drastic colour result, but it definitely adds a healthy glow to otherwise pasty pale skin. I’m not saying this will completely replace my much loved mousses, lotions and creams, but it’s worth having an option within your repertoire that provides a skin-loving alternative. Personally I only get out the tan during the short summer period we experience in the UK, but if you’re a regular year-round-tanner then it’s definitely worth picking up a little bottle of Glow Oil and seeing if it could help keep your skin looking fabulous for longer. Preventing fine lines and wrinkles on your face may be a priority, but it’s important to look after your limbs too.
Hand Chemistry Glow Oil is available to buy online, priced £20.00 for a 100ml bottle.
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