We all love the healthy glow a suntan provides, but the irony is that it’s actually not healthy at all. When you tan, your skin produces melanin (pigment) to protect the skin and prevent injury from the sun. This process causes genetic damage to the outermost layers of the skin and – get this – a tan is actually a visible sign of damage that not only increases the speed at which you develop wrinkles and pigmentation, but it is also responsible for that weathered look that the skin takes on after one too many suntans.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, sun tanning can also lead to skin cancer, and, shockingly, there are more causes of sun-induced skin cancer worldwide than there are of smoking-induced lung cancer!
According to CANSA, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in South Africa, with about 20 000 reported cases annually. This means we have the second highest rate of skin cancer in the world (Australia comes out tops).
The truth is that there is no such thing as a safe tan, and the risks associated with tanning are just not worth the results. Luckily, that doesn’t mean that the fair-skinned among us are doomed to pasty skin all year round. Faux tanning products have come a long way, and modern formulations are not just easier to apply, but also look more “real” and have added skincare benefits.
Here’s a roundup of some of the very best faux tan products we recommend trying this summer.
Vita Liberata Phenomenal Organic Tan Infused Cloth, R550.00 (available at vitaliberata.co.za)
Non-toxic, cruelty-free and natural certified organic, Vita Liberata manufactures tanning products that are kind to the skin and kind to the environment. These convenient tanning cloths are infused with the Vita Liberata pHenomenal formula to ensure a long-lasting, natural looking tan. These biodegradable cloths are enriched with certified organic botanicals and are free from harsh and harmful chemicals, so your skin is nourished and conditioned while showing off a beautiful glow.
Le Tan Moroccan Argan Oil Gradual Tanning Lotion, R300.00 (available at Dis-Chem and Takealot)
Australia has given us some amazing beauty products, and this is no exception! This ultra-hydrating lotion is formulated to enhance and extend your colour. It develops gradually (so you can control how deep the colour gets) and is vegan and cruelty-free. Infused with Moroccan argan oil, antioxidants and vitamin E, it protects and moisturises the skin while giving you a beautiful glow.
Caribbeantan Gradual Bronzing Mousse, R99.95 (available at https://caribbeantan.online/)
Locally-manufactured Caribbeantan offers great quality tanning products at a really affordable price. This luxurious, lightweight mousse smooths onto the skin and develops into a gorgeous natural-looking tan over eight hours. This quick-drying and alcohol-free formulation is really easy to use and doesn’t leave skin looking streaky or blotchy. Approved by PETA and paraben-free, it’s a winner in our books.
Vichy Ideal Soleil Moisturizing Self-Tanning Milk, R245.00 (available at Clicks and Dis-Chem)
We’ve trusted Vichy with sun protection products for years, so it’s only natural that we’d give their sunless tanning products a go too. This tanning milk is suitable for use on the face and the body, and provides a natural-looking radiant and progressive tan without any streaks. It’s suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin.
Do you have any favourites we’ve left out?