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Self-Tanner Formulations Remain the Same After 40 Years

After 40 Years, Self-Tanners Are Relatively Unchanged

Back in the '60s, Coppertone launched QT, the first sunless tanning lotion ever. And to this day, over 40 years later, the main ingredients used in most self-tanners to bronze the skin are still dihydroxyacetone (DHA) and erythrulose. While DHA has been refined over the years to streak and stink less, self-tanners have essentially changed very little. What has changed: formulas are scented, more moisturizing, and available in different textures.

Most self-tans last for about a week, so if you're simply looking for a run-of-the-mill temporary tan, inexpensive drugstore products get the job done. If you seek a more luxurious experience, there's no shortage of scented treats out there. And to make that tan last a little longer, follow these three easy steps: exfoliate before application, put on a little lotion before you begin, and apply a moisturizing self-tanner.


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