13 of the Finest Tanning Lotions to Get a Bronzy Glow this Summer season

13 Finest Self Tanners for 2023 – Self Tanning Lotion & SprayThe Finest Tanning Lotions

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    Benefits of Tanning Lotions

    Great news: there are no known health risks associated with tanning lotions. The Skin Cancer Foundation says excessive sun exposure can increase the risk for serious health concerns like melanoma, which means baking in the sun or at the tanning salon isn’t an ideal tanning method.

    Tanning lotions are also relatively cheap compared to other forms of fake baking. For example, liquid body bronzers, such as the NARS Monoi Body Glow, costs nearly $60 at Sephora, and a session at one tanning salon in New York costs $45. In comparison, these beauty editor-approved self-tanners start at just $12 on Amazon.

    How Tanning Lotions Work

    So, how exactly do tanning lotions work? The magic lies in an active ingredient called dihydroxyacetone — aka DHA — which, according to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman, M.D., is “a result from glycerin that interacts with the amino acids in our dead skin cells which makes the bronze color appear.” DHA only impacts the top layer of the skin and, in simplest terms, reacts similarly to a cut apple browning when exposed to oxygen.

    What to Consider

    Jaliman says tanning lotions are a much safer and time-saving alternative to sunbathing outdoors or using tanning beds. We asked Jaliman and Jordan Cook, the global tanning expert at St. Moriz, about what to consider when shopping for a tanning lotion.

    • Review the ingredients: It sounds like common sense, but reading the product’s label may mean avoiding an accidental allergic reaction. Once their self-tanner arrives, Jaliman recommends they do a patch test on their body to be sure they’re not allergic to any ingredient in the self-tanner.
    • Consider their skin tone: Many brands make self-tanners for different skin tones, ranging from fair to dark. Be sure to order a self-tanner in the recipient’s skin tone range for the most natural look, advises Cook.
    • Formulation: Tanning lotions are the best formulation for all skin types, especially anyone dealing with or concerned about body acne.

    How We Chose

    After speaking with skincare and self-tanning experts, Saunders asked them to spill the tea on their recommended products. Saunders also researched self-tanners, analyzed their ingredients list, and carefully read their online reviews to ensure our selections actually live up to the hype. Some are even editor-approved products we personally know and love. Plus, all of these self-tanners earned thousands of sparkling reviews on retailers like Amazon, Ulta, Sephora, and more.

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