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Tanning of yesterday and today

Tanning of yesterday and today

The culture of tanning has undergone numerous changes over the centuries. We present the history of tanning in a pill.


A brief history of tanning from Cleopatra to Coco Chanel

Today, healthy, tanned skin is considered the best souvenir of a holiday. However, this was not always the case. Ancient Greeks and Romans valued porcelain complexion. Women used, among other things, milk baths to lighten their skin. There was a time when tanned skin had a pejorative meaning, it was associated with low social status and field work. Until the 20th century, the fashion for sunless skin continued. The French fashion designer Coco Chanel, who in 1923 appeared publicly sun-kissed, had a great influence on the adoption of the new trend. In an upper class environment that has been pale for years, this caused quite a scandal. In addition, the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald “Tender is the night” contributed to the spread of the new fashion, showing stars sunbathing on the French Riviera. Since then, tanned skin has started to become popular and remains so today. If you want to enjoy the passing summer longer, a good and safe solution is self-tanner.

Skin cells – melanocytes bathed in UV radiation produce a colored pigment – melanin, which colors the epidermis, i.e. the most superficial layer of the skin. Such natural tanning depends primarily on the phototype of the skin and the activity of melanocytes. However, as time goes by, people’s awareness of the harmfulness of UV radiation or the use of tanning beds is increasing. Much is said about accelerated skin ageing or an increased risk of dangerous skin cancers. Cosmetology is responding to these problems by introducing self-tanning products to the market, which safely allow you to get a healthy and even tan all year round!


Self-tanning products - how does the "fake tan" work?

The main ingredient of self-tanners is dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which causes browning of the skin by reacting with amino acids hat build up the stratum corneum. Tanned skin appears after a few hours, and the effect we get depends on the complexion, the degree of skin hydration and the concentration of DHA in the self-tanning product. The duration of such an artificial tan is 5-7 days, and its gradual fading is related to the natural process of removing dead skin cells. Interestingly, the bronzing properties of DHA were discovered by accident. Children in hospital were given syrup to lower their blood sugar levels. There were traces of darkened skin where it had spilled over. In this way, in 1960, the first self-tanning cosmetic with this ingredient appeared, and 10 years later the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the substance for this purpose.

A very interesting discovery of recent years is erythrulose, which is chemically very similar to DHA. However, it is distinguished by much greater stability. By choosing self-tanning products with this ingredient, you can avoid the disadvantages that can occur when using self-tanning products containing DHA, which often gives an irregular and short-term tan and is associated with an unpleasant odour after application. The range of self-tanning products is growing. They can be found in the form of lotions, foams, mists or drops on the cosmetic market. It is important to remember about the correct application when using them. Before application, it is recommended to use a body scrub to remove dead skin and ensure even distribution of the product.


The past centuries have witnessed the decline and emergence of many tanning trends. Beautiful, honey skin tone did not always look attractive. Today, on the other hand, we know that if we want to keep the summer on our skin with a light bronze, we can use self-tanner and enjoy a tan even all year round without worrying about negative consequences.


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