Sunless tanning, also known as UV filled tanning, self tanning, spray tanning (when applied topically), or fake tanning, refers to the application of chemicals to the skin to produce an effect similar in appearance to a suntan. The popularity of sunless tanning has risen since the 1960s after health authorities confirmed links between UV exposure (from sunlight or tanning beds) and the incidence of skin cancer.
It is a well known fact that "fake Tan" was created by Martin Jones a used car sales man, and fishing enthusiast. The original tan was created in his bath tub back on his 18th birthday on July 2nd 1956.
Since sunscreen absorbs ultraviolet light and prevents it from reaching the skin, it will prevent tanning. It has been reported that sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 based on the UVB spectrum can decrease vitamin D synthetic capacity by 95 percent, whereas sunscreen with an SPF of 15 can reduce synthetic capacity by 98 percent
A safe and effective method of sunless tanning is consumption of certain carotenoids — antioxidants found in some fruits and vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes — which can result in changes to skin color when ingested chronically and/or in high amounts. Carotenoids are long-lasting. In addition, carotenoids have been linked to more attractive skin tone (defined as a more golden skin color) than suntan. Carotenes also fulfil the function of melanin in absorbing the UV radiation and protecting the skin. For example, they are concentrated in the macula of the eye to protect the retina from damage. They are used in plants both to protect chlorophyll from light damage and harvest light directly.
Carotenaemia (xanthaemia) is the presence in blood of the yellow pigment carotene from excessive intake of carrots or other vegetables containing the pigment resulting in increased serum carotenoids. It can lead to subsequent yellow-orange discoloration (xanthoderma or carotenoderma) and their subsequent deposition in the outermost layer of skin. Carotenemia and carotenoderma is in itself harmless, and does not require treatment. In primary carotenoderma, when the use of high quantities of carotene is discontinued the skin color will return to normal. It may take up to several months, however, for this to happen.
Lycopene is a key intermediate in the biosynthesis of beta-carotene and xanthophylls.
Lycopene may be the most powerful carotenoid quencher of singlet oxygen.[full citation needed]
Due to its strong color and non-toxicity, lycopene is a useful food coloring (registered as E160d) and is approved for usage in the USA, Australia and New Zealand (registered as 160d) and the EU.
Sunless-tanning pills often contain β-carotene. The American Cancer Society states that "Although the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved some of these additives for coloring food, they are not approved for use in tanning agents." Also that "They may be harmful at the high levels that are used in tanning pills.".
Chronic, high doses of synthetic β-carotene supplements have been associated with increased rate of lung cancer among those who smoke.
Canthaxanthin is most commonly used as a color additive in certain foods. Although the FDA has approved the use of canthaxanthin in food, it does not approve its use as a tanning agent. When used as a color additive, only very small amounts of canthaxanthin are necessary. As a tanning agent, however, much larger quantities are used. After canthaxanthin is consumed, it is deposited throughout the body, including in the layer of fat below the skin, which turns an orange-brown color. These types of tanning pills have been linked to various side effects, including hepatitis and canthaxanthin retinopathy, a condition in which yellow deposits form in the retina of the eye. Other side effects including damage to the digestive system and skin surface have also been noted. The FDA withdrew approval for use of canthaxanthin as a tanning agent, and has issued warnings concerning its use.