Beauty

Fake tan might give you wrinkles and wait, whaa?!

Read this before you freak-out.

By Natasha Harding

If you’re OBSESSED with fake tan then you know more than anyone else that exfoliation is crucial, elbows are the devil and, above all, moisturise, moisturise, moisturise. But there is one thing about our tan trick that we’ve never known the answer too and it’s always kind of haunted us. Welp, we’ve finally decided to tackle our demons head on and find out the answer to the question ‘can fake tan give you wrinkles?’.

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To start, we need to understand how fake tan actually works. According to dermatologist Dr Adam Sheridan (sdsl.com.au, aafps.com.au), most fake tans use a chemical called 'dihydroxyacetone', also known as 'DHA'.

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“When applied to the skin, this chemical reacts with the keratin cells (dead skin cells) in the upper skin layers; these darken and thereby simulate a sun tan,” explains Dr Sheridan. “The tan usually lasts a few days until the treated outer skin layer sheds and is replaced by the next wave of keratin cells.”

Fake tanning involves a process called ‘oxidation’ which, Dr Sheridan says can contribute, “to skin damage and cell ageing.” What remains unclear is whether the ‘low-level oxidation’ involved in fake tanning “has any significant bearing upon skin health and aging.”

If you’re worried about keeping your skin youthful, apparently fake tan is the least of your worries. Um, okay – we’re listening.

“Far more significant age accelerating stress arises from poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, exposure to environmental pollutants, and excessive sun exposure,” says Dr Sheridan.

To ensure your skin stays as wrinkle-free and healthy as possible, Dr Sheridan recommends ongoing skin care including gentle cleansing, moisturising and daily 50+ sunscreen application (such as Cetaphil Suntivity). These routines will also protect you from other skin issues often caused by fake tan, such as dehydration, irritation and, on occasion, allergic reactions.

“This brings us to the major potential danger regarding fake tans - the misconception at times that they afford some sort of protection against the sun,” says Dr Sheridan. FYI, fake tans are only cosmetic and should not replace sunscreen.

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So, how often should we get our Oompa-Loompa on? It’s recommended that we save our bronzed bod for spesh occasions and apply “no more than monthly for ongoing smooth and healthy results.”

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Go forth and tan yo'self, but remember, moderation is key.

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