Sunscreens and Sunless Tanners

Sunscreens: How to Read a Label, Expert Tips, etc.

How do sunscreens work?

Sunscreens are topically applied products that protect the skin from the sun's damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sunscreens work by including active ingredients that remain on the surface of the skin that absorb, scatter, or reflect the UV radiation before it reaches the skin. By filtering out harmful UV rays, sunscreens help to reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging, as well as help prevent sunburn. 

Sunless Tanners

The term, “sunless tanners” (also known as self-tanning, or UV-free tanning) refers to products that are applied to the skin to produce an effect similar in appearance to a traditional suntan without exposure to UV light. Achieving a sunless tanned appearance can be accomplished in a number of ways. Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) based products are sunless tanning or self-tanning lotions that contain this FDA approved color additive that, when applied to the skin, imparts a brownish color similar to a sun tan.  The tan is not a dye, stain or paint, but a chemical reaction between the DHA and the amino acids in the outer layer of the skin surface.  DHA has been approved for cosmetic use by the U.S.