Tanning Pills Are The Biggest Joke Since… Tanning Pills?

Tanning PillsIf you’re here looking for the answer to the question, “Do Tanning Pills Work?” I’ll save you some time so you don’t have to read this entire post…

Tanning pills absolutely do not work!  They’re a waste of time and money… plain and simple.

Ok there I said it.

You see, I get really fired up about this topic because, for some reason, tanning pills are still in existence.

They’re still out there sucking up people’s money, wasting their time and giving them false hope.

Where Did These Tanning Pills Come From?

The sordid story on tanning pills takes us back about 30-40 years ago when tanning pills first popped up their ugly head.

Back then (and still today in some parts), they contained an ingredient called Canthaxanthin.

This carotene-based color additive gives food an orange tint.

Unfortunately it does the same to people!

Back in high school I remember a guy who somehow got a hold of these pills to try to get “tan”.

After a few weeks he ended up looking like this god-awful, horrible-colored orange creature from another planet.

I’m not talking about old-school, “fake tanner” orange.  I’m talking about full-on oompa loompa GLOWING orange.

He looked ridiculous (and the worst part was it took 3-4 weeks for his skin to return to normal- poor guy).

In addition to turning you orange, pills containing canthaxanthin can also cause crystalline deposits to form in your eyes.

Oh, and some other side effects include nausea, diarrhea, severe itching and welts.

Sounds pretty awesome, right?

After awhile, people realized these pills were junk (and dangerous) and the tanning pill industry kind of disappeared for awhile.

Tanning Pills Today

But lo and behold, a new form of crappy tanning pill has sprung forth from the depths.

These new pills promise to give you a dark tan, protect you from the ravages of sunlight and allow you to fly through the air like Superman (just kidding on the last one)!

Based on claims like that, we decided to take a look at the amazing ingredients that must be in these pills.  We were expecting something revolutionary!

Alas, here’s what we found most of them contain:

Vitamin D
Vitamin E
Beta Carotene

That’s right.  A bunch of common, everyday vitamins :(

I know it’s hard to believe taking some vitamins like these doesn’t magically make your skin turn tan, right?  Unfortunately they don’t.  When it comes to sunless tanning, these pills do absolutely nothing for you.

To add insult to injury, most of these tanning pill manufacturers charge between $20-$40 a bottle for a bunch of run-of-the-mill vitamins.

Kind of a letdown, huh?

On the bright side, at least these newer tanning pills don’t give you diarrhea or form crystals in your eyes ;)


The takeaway from all this:  tanning pills simply do not work.

It doesn’t matter what crazy concoction these snake oil salesman dream up next, there’s currently no legitimate pill that makes human skin turn tan.

Any doctor or medical organization will tell you exactly the same thing.

So if you’re looking to get a safe, healthy tan, the only sensible solution is self tanning lotions and sprays (duh!).

Don’t waste your time, money or health on ridiculous tanning pills.


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Category: Facts About Self Tanning, Self Tanning Safety, Self Tanning Tips

About the Author

Emily Andrews is the Editor-In-Chief of SelfTanning.com. As you can imagine, Emily loves anything and everything having to do with self tanning! She's also a big fan of shopping (duh), tiny Yorkies and football.