Friday, March 6, 2009

Reader Questions: Is There a Safe Self-Tanner?

I caught this reader question as a comment that was posted. The reader had been using a Neutrogena self-tanner (Neutrogena is an AWFUL brand if you are trying to avoid chemicals), but since it is full of Parabens, switched to their new one called 'Sun Fresh'. It IS Paraben-Free, but still has other harmful ingredients. The reader had a reaction to the Witch Hazel.

I am a fair-skinned redhead and used Estee Lauder tanner and later one made by Jergens back in the day. I just remember them smelling horrible and they always made me orange and not tan. I eventually stopped and embraced the pale.

Much like with sunscreens, it is just about impossible to find a self-tanner that isn't full of harmful chemicals. Even if you can dodge the Parabens, there are still plenty of other chemicals that they are banned in other countries outside the US. See some sunless tanners ranked by danger level.

  • Embrace the pale. Those nicely baked co-eds that make us so jealous will be paying for it when they look like leather wallets in a few years - plus the additional skin cancer risk.
  • Try using a slightly darker paraben-free foundation. Remember to keep an eye on your neck, you don't want mismatched body parts.
  • Try using a mineral bronzer.
  • Eat less processed foods and more fruits and vegetables. Good nutrition will increase the blood flow and health of your skin. Mine has changed two shades from very pale to rosy glow since January by eating right.
If I still can't convince you to forgo the chemical dye job, here is a list the products least likely to make you drop dead.

Coppertone Endless Summer

Short list, ain't it?


  1. Bare Escentuals 'faux tan' is advertised as a "healthy" paraben free self tanner..I'm just curious if you've invested it's ingredient list?


    Three that are definitely paraben-free, just a little pricey..