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Fact or Fiction: Self-tanners
by Staff
The self-tanners of the past could turn you orange. But they've come a long way since then -- and everyone knows now that lying in the sun is a big no-no. How much do you know about getting a tan without the sun?

The active ingredient in most self-tanners is dihydroxyacetone (DHA).

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's actually alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA).

DHA gives your skin color when it reacts with the lipids in the top layer of your skin.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: DHA reacts with the amino acids in your skin.

The average self-tan lasts up to a week.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: You won't need to reapply for two weeks.

The average cost of a spray-tanning session is around $30.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's more like $40.

Self-tanners don't provide any protection from the sun, so you still need sunscreen when you go out.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: They give you a little sun protection, but not much.

Be careful when applying self-tanner to your knees and elbows -- these areas will absorb more product and turn darker.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: You need to be careful in these areas because the skin can flake.

If you're going to put self-tanner on your legs, you should wax or shave them right before application.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: You should do it the day before using a self-tanner.

You should shower and exfoliate right before using a self-tanner.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: You should shower beforehand, but save the exfoliation for later.

You should apply self-tanner with an even, up-and-down motion.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: You should massage it in circles.

Save your hands for last.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Do your hands first.