How Long Do I Have to Wear a Self-Tanner?

For those who are new to the world of self-tanning, the process can be quite intimidating, and worries are certainly understandable. The most common concerns are turning orange, smelling like burnt toast, and leaving lotion stains all over the place. The good news is that you will quickly get the hang of it after a few tries, and realize that in order to have great success, you must follow three rules: 1) use a high-quality product, 2) apply it properly, and 3) leave it on long enough for it to take effect.

The latter can sometimes be the most intimidating since self-tanning products seem to come with a Catch 22: although you have to wear it long enough to do its job, you don’t want to smell bad at work or school while it’s doing it, nor do you want to wear it too long and risk looking like a carrot. Fortunately, you do not have to worry much about any of these concerns so long as you follow the three rules mentioned above; especially the rule about leaving your product on for the right amount of time.

DHA Reaction Times

If you are using a high quality product, which you should be, it will take at least 6 hours for it to begin taking effect, and at least another two or three for it to render long-lasting results. This means that most good quality self-tanners must be worn between 6 and 10 hours for best results. Why? The answer is DHA. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the most effective sunless tanning products contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the active ingredient.

Before you take a shower, go swimming, get sweaty, or come into contact with water at all, you must let the dihydroxyacetone take effect first. If you do anything that gets you wet or makes you sweat profusely before the product can work, you will not get the best color possible because the DHA didn’t have time to react with the amino acids in the upper layer of dead skin cells to produce a lasting color change.

Application Tips

To solve the concerns of smelling strange or feeling uncomfortable for an entire day, simply apply your self-tanner at night, let it fully dry, go to sleep, and then shower it off in the morning. This method gets great results. After you shower, any residual streaks and smells will be gone, and you will see nothing but luminous, glowing skin!

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