Want an attractive golden tan this summer? Discover the key substances for activating or prolonging your suntan.
Depending on the dose and formulation, tanning supplements have two primary functions: to boost a suntan by ‘prepping’ the skin for exposure to the sun (preparatory capsules), or to color the skin without necessarily requiring UV exposure to do so (self-tanning capsules).
By directly influencing the mechanisms responsible for skin pigmentation, these supplements help to enhance the complexion by producing a gradual, natural, and lasting tan. A genuine ‘just back from holiday’ look!
Take care though: while some manufacturers might suggest otherwise, these tanning supplements do not protect the skin against UV damage such as sunburn. They do not, therefore, provide appropriate sun protection.
What do bright orange carrots, sunshine yellow corn and vibrant red tomatoes have in common? In each case, the radiance they bring to our supermarket shelves comes from their carotenoids, colored pigments involved in photosynthesis. In plants, the role of carotenoids is primarily to harvest light energy from the sun, while at the same time exerting a photoprotective effect (1). There are more than 600 known carotenoids, including beta-carotene, astaxanthin, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Consumed regularly, these substances give the skin an attractive golden glow (2). Supplementing with carotenoids (such as the powerful product Carottol, which combines alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene and astaxanthin) will thus help to restore color to your skin.
To prepare for and stimulate the tanning process, add grapefruit to your shopping list, its pinky-red flesh reflecting the fruit’s lycopene content. It’s also popular for its skin-purifying and skin-regenerating properties. Positive effects on individual sensitivity to UV have been observed from a combination of grapefruit and rosemary (3).
While it does not in itself initiate tanning, borage is great for preparing dry skin for the sun, mainly because of the richness of its oil in omega-6 fatty acids (4).
Though UV rays might bring a welcome golden shimmer to our skin, they also generate free radicals which damage cell integrity. Over time, this manifests in the skin as the much-dreaded signs of photoaging like liver (aging) spots and wrinkles (5).
In helping to protect cells against oxidative stress and maintain normal skin, vitamin C acts like a a natural parasol (6). An excellent reason to load up your shopping trolley with citrus fruit, peppers, kiwi fruit and broccoli in the months before you head off to the sun-lounger!
And to supercharge your intake, it’s worth considering supplementing with vitamin C (protected from gastric juices by a phospholipid layer, the vitamin C in the supplement Liposomal Vitamin C offers optimal uptake).
If you want to accelerate or intensify your tan, choose keratin hydrolysate, the most effective tanning supplement around. Obtained from black sheep wool, this complex combines exceptional nutrients with tanning precursors (7). It’s notable for its high content of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color.
As you know, melanin, ultraviolet rays and tanning are all intrinsically linked. In deeply penetrating the dermis, UVA rays activate the melanin already present in the skin, producing an immediate tanning effect. Meanwhile, a small amount of UVB rays cross the epidermal barrier, stimulating the production of new melanin by melanocytes, and this produces a subsequent tanning effect (which generally appears 24 to 72 hours after exposure) (8).
A number of studies have highlighted keratin hydrolysate’s efficacy in relation to both immediate and subsequent pigmentation, and it thus helps you achieve a deeper, longer-lasting tan with each exposure to the sun. To get the most out of your sunbathing sessions, try taking supplements that contain keratin hydrolysate (such as Tan-Aid, based on the patented ingredient Melaline®, supported by several clinical studies).
As we’ve said, tanning accelerators are not designed to protect your skin from the sun. So if you want to go brown safely (without peeling or burning), adopt the following common-sense measures:
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