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Différentes façons de bronzer sans UV.

How To Get a Tan Without UV Rays and the Sun

Exposure of the skin to UV rays, whether natural or artificial, is often criticized, and with good reason. The sun does indeed have harmful effects on the skin, which can sometimes be quite severe. However, this does not mean that you have to give up a tanned complexion. Nowadays, there are other ways to get a tan without UV rays.

What Is Tanning?

Tan is often considered as a beautiful color that the skin takes on after sunbathing. From a biological point of view, it is actually a protective mechanism of the skin against the aggressive UV rays. These generate free radicals, unstable molecules that damage our cell membranes and DNA, which can lead to mutations and the formation of cancer cells. Free radicals can also cause denaturation and loss of function of fibrous proteins such as collagen and elastin, structural proteins of the dermis. To protect itself, the skin responds by activating melanogenesis, the process of synthesizing melanin, the brown pigment responsible for tanning. Nevertheless, this does not provide complete protection of the skin and must be supplemented by the application of a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Getting Brown Without the Sun: Using Self-Tanner

In recent years, more and more self-tanners can be found on the cosmetics market. Foam, cream, gel, serum.... these products have several advantages, including that of obtaining a beautiful tanned complexion without having to expose yourself to the UV rays of the sun and its dangers.

Most self-tanning products contain a molecule of plant origin called dihydroxyacetone (DHA). Once applied to the skin, this compound produces a brown skin tone within 4 to 6 hours by reacting with amino acids in the stratum corneum of the epidermis through a Maillard reaction to form pigments responsible for coloring the skin.

It is also common to encounter erythrulose, a sugar found in red fruits, added to self-tanning products. This compound acts similar to DHA, but slower. The combination of DHA and erythrulose provides a more natural and even tan. In addition, erythrulose has moisturizing benefits that counteract the drying effects of DHA.

At Typology, we have developed two self-tanners that provide a naturally tanned complexion. For a natural, gradual tan, you can use our self-tanning serum. It contains 10% DHA and also the pulp of the carob tree (INCI: Ceratonia Siliqua Seed Extract), a compound rich in inositol, a molecule that influences melanogenesis. We also recommend our self-tanning gel for the body, enriched with 6% DHA. It also contains aloe vera.

Note: There are also so-called self-tanning showers. These are booths where fine droplets of a self-tanning lotion are sprayed on the body and/or face. It is quite a practical and quick technique (less than ten minutes if a machine is used) that offers an even result. Still, there is a question about the risk of inhaling DHA. Ingestion or inhalation of this molecule can lead to asthma, lung disease or cancer. However, to date, no health authority has determined that self-tanning showers pose a health risk because of the product's short exposure time.

Get Brown Without UV Rays: Apply Skin Care Products That Give You a Healthy Complexion

If you want to have a natural tan that is not as strong as when you use self-tanners, you can use certain care products. These contain special active ingredients that often act on the process of melanogenesis. An example of this is carrot macerate.

This vegetable oil is slightly colored, which allows it to create a glow effect. In addition, thanks to its high content of vitamin A and carotenoids, this ingredient is an excellent antioxidant that can be used to protect the skin from free radicals. Carrot macerate also has a stimulating effect on melanogenesis. Other vegetable oils such as Buriti oil also have a light orange color that provides a light tan.

To promote melanogenesis, you can opt for carob extract as well. This ingredient contains inositol and acts on diacylglycerol/protein kinase C (DAG/PKC). This mechanism triggers a cascade of reactions that ultimately leads to the activation of tyrosinase, the key enzyme in melanogenesis.

Glycyrrhetinic acid, the active ingredient in licorice root, is an alternative to carob extract and acts in a similar way.

Getting Brown Without the Sun: Include Special Foods in Your Diet

To get a tan without UV rays, you can also adjust your diet. Eating certain foods rich in specific nutrients can promote a tanned appearance. Similar to topical care, the best-known is beta-carotene. This is converted in the intestinal mucosa to retinol, the active form of vitamin A.

Retinol in the blood stimulates melanogenesis, the synthesis of melanin. Beta-carotene is found in many fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, tomatoes, melons, apricots, peaches, mangoes, broccoli and spinach. Whether it's a cold soup, summer salad or juice, feel free to include it in your diet. Eating eggs is also recommended, as they are rich in vitamin A.

You can also turn to supplements rich in beta-carotene. These have the advantage of containing a higher concentration of beta-carotene than conventional foods, optimizing the tan. The first effect of self-tanning capsules often appears after one month. Also note that the ideal duration of a course of treatment is usually three months.


  • ZUCCA A. & al. A narrative review of the potential for self-tanning products to substitute for solaria use among people seeking a tanned appearance. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology and Photomedicine (2014).


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