There’s just that allure that goes with having a tan. In fact, the idea of bronze beauty started in the 1920’s, popularized by renowned designer Coco Chanel. Ever since, there’s this hype in tanning, and everyone’s searching for safe tanning solutions without acquiring the harmful risks that come with it.
In light of this, science has developed a tanning solution where one doesn’t have to go out and tan naturally. Enter the so-called tanning pills. It has the promise of giving you that nice, fresh tan by just ingesting large doses of pills into your system. They claim to accelerate the body’s tanning process and also prevent photosensitivity.
Are Tanning Pills Safe to Use
Amidst all these tanning pill companies popping up, promoting its effectiveness, there’s still the question whether tanning pills are safe to use.
To know this, let’s first find out what these pills are made of, its recommended dosage, and the risks of consuming them.
Tanning Pill Ingredients
The main active ingredient of tanning pills is Canthaxanthin. It is a pigment similar to carotenoids, which are responsible for the natural red-orange coloration in fruits and vegetables. This ingredient is commonly used in small doses for coloring processed food, like barbecue sauce, soda drinks, and salad dressings. It is also added into animal feeds for animal skin color enhancement. Egg yolks, chicken, and salmon are to name a few. Although Canthaxanthin is similar to carotenoids, it does not contain Vitamin A and does not develop your melanin.
Moreover, Canthaxanthin is frequently used to remedy blood disorders that affect photosensitivity, skin discoloration disorders, and psoriasis. When consumed in large amounts, the pigment is delivered into your body. It dissolves into your adipose tissue–the layer beneath the epidermis–and imparts color onto your skin. Since it doesn’t involve melanin or UV rays, the color could go from orange to brown, depending on each person.
Aside from this ingredient, other tanning pills may also include lycopene, beta-carotene, and lutein. All of which have red-orange pigment compounds that may darken skin when ingested on a long-term basis.
Risks and Side Effects
The Food and Drug Administration deemed the use of Canthaxanthin safe, but only when used in small amounts as a food coloring. However, they don’t authorize it to be used on tanning pills, where it requires high doses.
Tanning pills contain unnatural pigments instead of developing the melanin or using UV rays or DHA, which are found in natural self-tanners. Without these, there’s also a high possibility that your skin color would turn more orange than a tan shade.
Studies have shown that high dosage use of Canthaxanthin can result to the oranging of palms, hands, and soles of the feet. It can also cause stool discoloration, dry and itchy skin, and hives.
What’s even more dangerous is the damage it could do to your eyes. There have been reports of developing a condition known as canthaxanthin retinopathy. It is a condition in which yellow crystals form in the retina, causing vision impairment and injury.
Other side effects noted are permanent liver damage, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, plasma discoloration, and aplastic anemia.
How Long Do Tanning Pills Take to Work
According to studies, you could only see results after consuming the supplement consistently in high doses. The dye sets in your system and shows changes in your skin color at least two weeks after.
Some products suggest that you must take the tanning pills several times a day for two to three weeks. Then, you must continue in smaller doses to maintain the color. However, the recommended maximum daily intake of Canthaxanthin is only 25 mg.
If you discontinue consumption of tanning pills, skin coloration lasts for only an approximate of two weeks.
Healthier Alternatives to Tanning Pills
There are far more safer and natural ways to tan aside from ingesting questionable pills.
Self-tanners are the most used method when it comes to tanning. It is cheaper and safer to do, too.
If you don’t want the hassle of self-tanning, there are always spray tanning salons you could go to. Just make sure you research the do’s and don’ts before booking your appointment.
If you want to go the natural way, you could opt to increase your melanin without using spray or self tanners. Melanin is the skin pigment, responsible for the darkening of your skin, eyes, and hair. It also helps protect the skin from cancer risk and UV rays.
Studies suggest that intaking antioxidants have a high potential in increasing your melanin. This includes eating foods and supplements rich in Vitamins A, C, and E. These are good for melanin production, increase in melanin levels, and skin protection, respectively. This method, however, takes longer than others.
While we may want that instant, natural-looking bronze glow, remember that taking these tanning pills is anything but natural. While we may want to do anything for beauty, it’s not worth risking your health and bodily functions. Instead, there are always healthier alternatives to achieve that bronze beauty. And, of course, always remember that everything should be done in moderation.
If you still want to try out using tanning pills, remember to take it with caution. It’s also important to consider the risks and side effects mentioned above. Don’t forget to do your research, too!