It is a little-known fact that self-tanners can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage. With dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the main ingredient in most self-tanners, the respected journal Spectrochimica Acta has found DHA in sunless tanners can increase free radicals by 180% upon getting sun exposure in the first 24 hours after application. Free radicals are responsible for oxidative damage within the skin as well as the rest of the body, and can result in lasting skin and DNA damage.
How to Protect Yourself: Amino Acids, Antioxidants, and Sunscreen
Certain amino acids may help to guard against free radical-induced UVA/UVB damage exacerbated by the use of self-tanners. For instance, L-leucine, L-glycine, L-isoleucine may improve the appearance of damaged skin cells (Wilderness and Environmental Damage, 2014; JPEN, 2014, Eksp Klin Pharmacol, 2014, Minerva Pediatrica, 2014), whereas L-histidine itself is a potent antioxidant that may help to boost UV protection when used in conjunction with sunscreen. As an added bonus, L-tyrosine may help amino acids and other beneficial agents penetrate the skin (International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 2008).
Amino acids may also help with damage after wrinkles occur. For instance, L-leucine, L-glycine, and L-proline have been found to improve the appearance of wrinkles (European Journal of Dermatology, 2013), whereas L-lysine is useful in increasing hydration of the skin (Journal of Peptide Science, 2012).
Another way to protect yourself when applying a self-tanner with DHA is be sure that you apply antioxidants to the skin, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and other antioxidant-rich foods, and use sunscreen. Be sure you keep up with your application of antioxidant serums and sunscreen throughout the day, particularly in the first few days after DHA-containing self-tanner application.
Another way to protect yourself while applying a self-tanner is to avoid them — or any other product with DHA — altogether. DHA is the culprit here, but similar effects can be obtained by using a bronzer or slightly darker foundation.
If You Are a Tanner Here is a Suggestion
Based on these studies, a strategy of using amino acids could be very beneficial in after using self-tanners. We recommend AminoGenesis Photolagen-AGF Full-Strength Non-Prescription Intensive Serum for Sun- and Environmentally-Damaged Skin. It is a superior daily serum that is loaded with amino acids like L-lysine, L-leucine, and L-proline perfect for those seeking that glowing and radiant look whether in the sun or using self tanners.
Self-tanners with DHA are safer than tanning or tanning beds, but they still have been found to increase free radical-induced UV damage for the next 24 hours after application. As a result, it’s a great idea to use products like sunscreen, antioxidants, and amino acids. We recommend AminoGenesis Photolagen-AGF Full-Strength Non-Prescription Intensive Serum for Sun- and Environmentally-Damaged Skin for a superior daily serum that is loaded with tan-enhancing amino acids and may help to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sunspots, and other signs of UV damage.