What You Need To Know About Organic Self Tanners

What You Need To Know About Organic Self TannersAs many of you know, anything with the word “organic” in it tends to sell very well these days.

But just because a product claims to be “organic” does that mean it really is?

And what exactly does that mean in regards to self tanners?

Supposedly organic brands are popping up all over the place.  Brands like Lavera, True Natural, Green People’s Oy! and Chocolate Sun.

But what does it mean to be an organic self tanner?  Are the chemicals in regular self tanners really all that bad?

Let’s start at the beginning…

Organic self tanners can legally be considered natural because they use water- and plant-based ingredients in lieu of combinations of chemicals that are said to be harmful to the environment and possibly people.

Having said that…

If you prefer to spend the extra money for organic and natural self tanning products be sure that you’re getting what you pay for.

Understand that self tanners can tout their use of organic ingredients and still have up to 30% synthetic materials, even the ones labeled “organic” or “made with organic ingredients.”

The only way to be sure that the product you are purchasing is, in fact, organic is to look for the USDA Organic Seal on the label.  This seal guarantees that every ingredient is organically produced, which bans the use of harmful pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and genetic engineering.

Here are other ways that self tanners are going green…

  • Creating paraben-free self tanners:  Parabens are a family of preservatives which can affect the endocrine system that produces the body’s hormones.  Studies have shown that some parabens can mimic estrogen in the body.
  • Eliminating the ingredient 1,4 Dioxane:  Since 1,4-dioxane is used in a chemical conversion in the manufacture of products, it’s not listed as an ingredient.  In some scientific studies, 1,4-Dioxane has caused cancer in animals.  Scientists have not yet confirmed the long-term effects on humans.
  • Scenting self-tanners with plant-based oils rather than chemical fragrances:  An estimated 5.72 million Americans have skin allergies to fragrance.  Around 72 percent of those suffering from asthma claim that their condition can be triggered by synthetic fragrance.
  • Cruelty-free self tanners do not employ animal testing:  A company may claim that they don’t employ animal testing for their products.  But without third-party verification (like the Leaping Bunny Logo or the Certified Vegan Logo) it’s hard to know whether these statements are in fact completely true.

Although most self tanners are finding new ways to be “natural” it’s the un-natural ingredients (specifically DHA) that are responsible for tanning your skin.  (As a side note, many companies claim DHA is organic because it can come from beets– but we think that’s a little misleading).

So bottom line:  we don’t really think there’s such a thing as an “organic” self tanner.  However, some of them are more “organic” than others.

Start by looking for products that don’t contain parabens, mineral oil, phenoxyethanols and triethanolamines.

Then look for ingredients that are proven to be good for your skin (things like Aloe Vera, Vitamin E and plant extracts).

Finally, don’t use products that are tested on animals.

If you do these things, you’ll get a much better-looking tan, and your skin will be much better off too.

And try not to pay too much attention to the word “organic” when evaluating self tanners. As you can see, the word can be a little misleading :)

For our list of the best self tanners (many of which have organic ingredients), click here.

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Category: Facts About Self Tanning

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.