7 Healthcast: Sunless tanning
Warm, beach-chair days are still months away for most Americans, but just because this is the season for sweaters and scarves, doesn't mean people don't want to "look" like they've been lounging in Laguna Beach.
"If you want to get that sun-kissed glow and get the look of having a tan -- the safest way to get it is in a bottle," advises Dr. Diane Berson of the American Academy of Dermatology.
The active skin-darkening ingredient is "dihydroxyacetone" or DHA.
It's a type of sugar.
"This sugar interacts with the proteins in the outer layer of the skin. When these combine together, they cause a darkening or a pigmentation of the skin," Dr. Berson explains.
A recent study found more than a third of sunless tanner users cut back on the time they spent in tanning beds or tanning outside, two activities that significantly increase exposure to UV rays.
Still, dermatologists say sunless tanners users should not get a false sense of security from the products.
Sunscreen is still needed.
Dermatologists say the ingredient used in spray tans is the same as that used in sunless tanners, so spray tans are equally safe.
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