Professional Tips & Advice

The golden history of fake tan

2 Min Read Wednesday 9th March 2011

Sienna X tanning experts share the history of fake tanning.

Spray tan professionals at Sienna X tell us all about the beginnings of fake tan in the beauty industry.

Ever wondered how the practise of using fake tan (excuse the pun) developed? Well, the tanning specialists at Sienna X explain how sunless tanning first got started and document its rise to becoming an iconic beauty staple across the world.

Sunless tanning first took roots in the 1920s when the active ingredient DHA (dihydroxyacetone) was found by German scientists working with X-rays to cause a chemical reaction which causes the top layer of the skin to turn brown, mimicking the effects of a natural sun tan.

Self-tanning doesn’t involve painting or dyeing colour onto the skin, but rather it is a more complex chemical reaction. Unlike exposing the skin to ultraviolet light which works on a much deeper level, the chemical DHA safely reacts with oxygen in the air and amino acids on the skin in order to create colour.

Ever since fashion pioneer Coco Chanel returned from a holiday on the French Riviera with a sun tan after accidentally getting sunburnt the fashionable masses saw tanning as being in vogue. But it wasn’t until the swinging Sixties that a safe alternative to sun damage was found and fake tanning lotions began to gain popularity as a beauty product.

Nowadays, professional spray tanning and self-tanning products are part of a booming industry in the UK. The market for fake tan has even seen a 10 per cent rise in growth since last year, showing that we are most definitely in a golden age of spray tanning!

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