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Wired Magazine Decodes Self-Tanner

I never would have expected this from the tech gurus over at Wired, but the magazine has deciphered the ingredient list of L'Oréal Sublime Bronze self-tanner ($7.81). It's interesting stuff, if only to see what all of those tongue-twisting chemical names really do. For instance:

Dihydroxy Acetone: The star of the show. This carbohydrate reacts with the skin's amino acids, like arginine, in what chefs call the Maillard reaction (it's what makes cooked foods turn brown). Heat this stuff to body temperature and it produces brown polymers known as melanoidins that bind to the outer layer of the skin (and no deeper).

So that's how it works. And did you know that the same silicone compound that goes into Silly Putty goes into this lotion? I'm oddly fascinated by this parsing of the label. Are you?

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Join The Conversation
ohmbecca ohmbecca 8 years
I'm not one to spread bad cheer, but something seems a little off with our mimicking the maillard reaction. Think of this: it turns food brown, which can intensify flavor, but in nature that's a sign that a peice of fruit or a vegetable has turrned rotten. A tan is not a fresh face; wearing whatever nature gave you is how you look most beautiful. And I'd rather not share anything with Silly Putty, merci tres bien. Nonetheless, I'm still one of your biggest (most obsessed!) fans, Bella. Completely love your writing and this site. And what would it be without all the beautiful people who read the articles adding in their two cents?
girlboy girlboy 8 years
self tanner is magical
girlboy girlboy 8 years
self tanner is magical
Tech Tech 8 years
That's one of my favorite features on Wired! Good to know too, thanks Bella!
lemurian lemurian 8 years
Very interesting!! I'm always interested in cosmetic ingredients (and frightened of the, too) and what their purpose is. Thanks for posting this! I'm gonna go check out Wired :)
nikkih nikkih 8 years
I've always been a little scared to use a self-tanner.
mizz_jennii mizz_jennii 8 years
Interesting. However, every self-tanner I have used so far has turned me orange-ish. So I'd rather stay pale :)
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 8 years
I have this stuff and it turns my skin orange rather than brown.
LuciLu LuciLu 8 years
Oh wow, good to know!I did always wonder what ingredient made our skin darker... very interesting!
LuciLu LuciLu 8 years
Oh wow, good to know! I did always wonder what ingredient made our skin darker... very interesting!
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