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Ask the experts: How do self-tanners really work?

Whether you’re a self-tan obsessive or a newbie keen to dip your toe into the tanning game, rest assured that self-tanning has moved on a whole lot since the early days of self-tanning. Gone are the days of orange hues, streaky legs and blotchy palms and in their place comes products with unique formulations and made-to-measure glows that put those dodgy tans of the past to shame. Here, Rich Connell, Senior Scientist, answers your tanning questions and explains why our Dove Summer Revived gradual self-tan range is about to become your non-negotiable tanning go-to.

I’m looking for a bronzed, healthy glow – how do self-tanners actually make me look tanned?
“The secret to that glow lies in an ingredient called Dihydroxyacetone (otherwise known as DHA), which is found in our self-tanners,” explains Rich Connell, Senior Scientist. “Once applied to skin, this ingredient works with the amino groups in the top layer of skin, forming a natural tan-coloured complex. It means the DHA in tanning products essentially works with your skin and gradually creates the tanning effect or darker skin colour that you see, imitating the natural tone your skin would turn in the sun.” Clever right?

What’s the benefit to using self-tan versus a real tan?
While your new tan might look real, using self-tanner means you’re avoiding plenty of the negative effects sunbathing typically causes. Rich adds: “This means no sunburn, UV damage or premature ageing. Self-tanning with the Dove Summer Revived gradual self-tan range also enables you to conveniently tan in any weather while at home, using mess-free, non-sticky formulas that dry quickly. You can also target specific areas. On top of delivering a realistic tan without the telltale self-tan smell, you’ll enjoy up to 48 hours of moisturization.”

What’s the difference between a self-tan mousse and a lotion? How can I figure out which is right for me?
“Choosing the product that’s right for you depends on the type of application and texture that works best on your skin,” says Rich. “Both our lotions and mousses are suitable for all skin types, fast-absorbing and are dermatologically-tested, coming in two shade options – light to medium and medium to dark. If you’re a fan of lighter textures, I’d suggest you try Dove Summer Revived Gradual Tanning Mousse. If you prefer lotions, give Dove Summer Revived Gradual Tanning Lotion a go first.”

I’ve never self-tanned before and am nervous. Any advice on how to get a natural-looking glow?
“All of our Dove tanning products are gradual self-tans, meaning the colour comes on gradually over several applications, so they’re ideal for newbies,” explains Rich. “The mousse is easy to spread, so it is an easy product to use when you’re first starting out. Our lotions are moisturizing, so great for regular use to keep your skin hydrated. Whether you use a lotion or mousse, you can easily re-apply the following day if you’ve missed a spot or want a deeper glow. Plus, the formulas mean the tan fades evenly and subtly. The tanning technology of our gradual self-tanners works with the unique skin characteristics of each individual, so you’ll always achieve an incredibly natural-looking glow.”

How can I make sure my tan lasts and stays looking great?
“The key thing to remember here is what you do before and after applying your tan, whether you’re using a gradual self-tanner or a one-use tanner,” explains Rich. “If you want to shave, do it the day before. Be sure to exfoliate thoroughly in a gentle manner, using scrubs, a body brush or exfoliating gloves. Use a rich lotion to keep skin hydrated. Be sure to moisturize any particularly dry areas before tanning, too, as this stops the tan clinging to these areas. And once you’ve tanned, aim to moisturize daily – or reapply your gradual tan when the colour starts to fade – to keep it looking radiant, fresh and even.”


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