Vicky asks…How does “Paint It Black” Auto-darkening Dark Tanning Lotion work?
The Left Brain responds:
Continuing the sunscreen theme from my post on Octocrylene, today I’ll explain how “auto-darkening” tanning lotions work. First, let’s talk about the Paint It Black product that Vicky asked about. This is an interesting formula that contains more (and less) than meets the eye when it comes to sunscreens.
Paint It Black Ingredients
Aqueous Infusions of Caramel Extract and Green Tea Extract (Water, Caramel, Camellia Oleifera), Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polyacrylamide, Isoparaffin, Laureth 7, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Panthenol (Provitamin B5), Potassium Caproyl Tyrosine (Tyrostan), Arginine HCL, Omithine HCL , Tyrosine, Silica (Phototan), Auto-DarkeningTM [Acetyl Hexapeptide-1, Melanin, Acetyl Tyrosine, Methylsilanol Acetyltyrosine, Adenosine Triphosphate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract, Dihydroxyacetone, Erythrulose, Juglans Nigra (Black Walnut) Leaf Extract, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate Filtrate (Biodynes O3), Cyclomethicone, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit Extract], Caffeine, Calcium Ascorbate (Ester-C), Camellia Sinensis (Black Tea) Leaf Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Betula Alba (White Birch) Bark Extract, Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), Aleurites moluccana (Kukui Nut), Oil, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Pulp Oil, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, D-Chiro-inositol (Tanositol), Perfluorodecalin, Soy Amino Acids, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Ascorbic Acid Polypeptide, Retinyl Palmitate Polypeptide, Tocopherol Nicotinate, Coelus Forskohlii Extract, Yeast extract, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben.
If I focus on just the ingredients that could be relevant totanning the list looks like this:
Caramel Extract, Potassium Caproyl Tyrosine (Tyrostan), Arginine HCL, Omithine HCL , Tyrosine, Silica (Phototan), Auto-DarkeningTM [Acetyl Hexapeptide-1, Melanin, Acetyl Tyrosine, Methylsilanol Acetyltyrosine, Adenosine Triphosphate, Dihydroxyacetone, D-Chiro-inositol (Tanositol).
The first thing you may notice is that this isn’t a sunscreen at all because it doesn’t contain an UV absorber. (Even though “50x” is displayed prominently on the front of the pack in a way that looks suspiciously like to an “SPF 50″ claim!) But what ingredients in this formula could really make your skin look tan?
3 Ways That Tanning Lotions Darken Skin
There are three ways that this product could theoretically darken your skin:
- Dye staining -The first ingredient is carmel extract which is a natural colorant. If enough carmel color is in the formula it could darken skin.
- Tanning Acceleration – the formula contains several chemical baed on tyrosine which is important in the metabolic process that creates melanin, the natural natural pigment in your skin that causes your tan. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find a single reference on Pubmed or FDA.gov that supports that these these accelerators have been proven to work in topically applied lotions or pills. (Leave a comment if you have any good references on this topic.)
- Sunless tanning – here’s the real secret to Paint It Black, Dihydroxyacetone (or DHA). This is the same ingredient used in sunless tanners. It works by reacting with the protein in your skin to form an orangish colored complex.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
There’s a lot of BS going on with the ingredient list in this product but I have to rate this as a beauty product that really works because it contains DHA which will darken skin. However, in my opinion, you should be careful with products like this because if you don’t read the label carefully you might assume it will protect you from sun burn when in fact it will not.
You can buy Paint It Black here.
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