The big lie about tanning lotions

Jessica admits to committing a beauty sin: she tans indoors. She’s been told that in order to maximize your skin’s ability to tan, you should use an indoor tanning lotion. They have ingredients such as Tyrosine that are supposed to make you tan faster/better, as opposed to regular body lotion. She wants to know if the ingredients in indoor tanning lotions make a difference in how you tan.

The Right Brain responds:

Jessica, Jessica, Jessica. We’ll skip the lecture about how bad tanning is for your skin and instead we’ll just jump right in and start bashing tanning accelerators. To put it scientifically, these tyrosine tanners are bulls**t. The companies that sell pills and lotions with tryosine claim that they stimulate the production of melanin, the natural pigment that makes you look tan. Unfortunately, that’s just not true.

How Tyrosine In Your Body Is Good For Your Tan

It is true that tyrosine plays a role in the tanning process. It’s an amino acid that your body forms by breaking down the protein you eat. This amino acid is then broken down by an enyzme called tryosinase that is formed by melanin-producing cells in your skin known as melanocytes. This reaction converts tyrosine into a chemical called DOPA. DOPA reacts further to form Dopaquinone which in turn forms the different types of melanin. (Eumelanin is black-brown and pheomelanin is yellow-red.) This chain reaction is triggered when your skin is exposed to UV light.

How Tyrosine in Tanning Pills and Lotions Is Bad

But taking pills with tyrosine or rubbing a tyrosine lotion on your skin doesn’t really help the process. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, Tanning accelerators, such as those formulated with the amino acid tyrosine or tyrosine derivatives, are ineffective … evidence suggests they don’t work. FDA considers them unapproved new drugs that have not been proven safe and effective. It makes sense if you think about it – swallowing a chemical like tyrosine or rubbing it on your skin doesn’t necessarily make it available to the right metabolic pathways.

So shame on all the companies out there marketing tyrosine-based products! Shame on you Hawaiin Tropic Tan 2 Max. Shame on you Reviva Sun Tan Protection Lotion. And shame on YOU, Bio-tan Sunless Tanner.

The Brains Bottom Line: Don’t waste your money on tyrosine tanning accelerators, they don’t do anything special for your tan.