It's easy to assume that self-darkening moisturizers are synonymous with self-tanners, but the two products aren't the same. While both skin-darkening moisturizers and self-tanners can give you a fake tan using the same basic ingredients, they work a little differently. The moisturizer's skin-tinting power will be very subtle. In fact, for some products, repeated use is necessary to see a visible color on your skin. On the other hand, self-tanners will give you a more pronounced color after your first use [source: Quenqa].
If it's a quick, noticeable tan you're after, a self-tanner is probably what want. But if you'd prefer not to go from pale to dark overnight, opt for the gradual tint of a skin-darkening moisturizer -- some moisturizers will take a week of daily use before you'll notice a change. Some self-tanners, on the other hand, can give you a bronzed glow in just a few hours [source: Kam]. The difference in skin-darkening speed is because moisturizers have smaller amounts of DHA than self-tanners. But because they moisturizer the skin while darkening it, moisturizers often provide a more even, natural color [source: Quenqa].
If you covet that tanned look, a skin-darkening moisturizer may be a good choice. They're safer than sunbathing, and, because they're moisturizers, they can also make your skin look and feel great. To learn more about skin-darkening moisturizers, visit the links on the following page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
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- CNNHealth.com. "Sunless Tanning: A Safe Alternative to Sunbathing." (Accessed 9/7/09)http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/sunless-tanning/SN00037.html
- Daily Beauty. "Daily Self-Tanners with Proper Protection." NewBeauty Magazine. March 26, 2009. (Accessed 9/7/09)http://www.newbeauty.com/dailybeauty/entry.aspx?id=1942
- Kam, Katherine. "Sunless Tanning: Baking Is Out, Faking Is In." WebMD. (Accessed 9/7/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/features/sunless-tanning-baking-is-out-faking-is-in
- Mann, Denise. "Summer Buyers' Guide: Sunless Tanning Lotions." (Accessed 10/7/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/guide/summer-buyers-guide-sunless-tanning-lotions
- Monroe, Val. "Are Self-Tanning Moisturizers Safe?" Oprah Magazine. (Accessed 9/7/09)http://www.oprah.com/article/omagazine/val_omag_200704_selftan
- Quenqa, Douglas. "Rub On, Spray On, or No Tan at All? The New York Times. August 12, 2009. (Accessed 9/7/09)http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/fashion/13SKIN.html?_r=1&em
- Singer, Natasha. "Beware the Afterglow." New York Times. May 3, 2007. (Accessed 9/7/09).http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/03/fashion/03skin.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print
- WebMD. "Sunless Tanning: Baking Is Out, Faking Is In." (Accessed 10/7/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/features/sunless-tanning?page=3