Sun tan tattoos don’t have to be harmful if done the self-tan way


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Sun tan tattoos don’t have to be harmful if done the self-tan way

Related tags Sun tanning

Ingredient supplier DSM says that the Erythrulose self-tanning enhancement ingredient can meet the demand of people wanting to temporarily ‘tattoo’ their skin, rather than by exposing skin to dangerous levels of sun as has been shown in the recent ‘sunburn tattoo’ trend.

Earlier this summer, dermatologists condemned the ‘bizarre’ sunburn tattoo trend in which people created temporary tattoos​ by using sunscreen to either stencil or freehand designs onto their skin, before going out in the sun until the skin turns brown or red to contrast with the protected skin.

Sun exposure can be beneficial if done safely in moderation but the health risks of this ‘fad’ can be severe and certainly not temporary.

On reading this news, DSM tells that as an active ingredients supplier it feels responsible to react to ensure the safety of people’s skin when exposed to the sun, and that although this trend is questionable it has to be taken seriously as it is current consumer behaviour.

“By looking at the article we thought about alternative and safe ways to still express everyone’s individuality,”​ says Dr Mathias Gempeler, Senior Marketing Manager Skin Care at DSM Personal Care.

“There is a trend towards getting tattoos in general nowadays, and as we are also seeing a revival of the self-tanning market in Europe, we created a self-tanning formulation containing Erythrulose and UV-filters, to meet both of these demands,”​ he tells

Building on an established ingredient

Erythrulose is a natural tanning enhancer ingredient which has been around for a number of years; and in combination with DHA, gives a long lasting, homogeneous skin tone helping to overcome known disadvantages such as streaking and skin drying out, and increasing product credibility, according to DSM.

The self-tanning tattoo cream developed sees a mix of DSM’s PARSOL UV filters with the Erythrulose and a host of other compounds from other suppliers formulated for the final product.

As Dr Gempeler mentions, the company took up the challenge to create a tattoo using the formulation having read about the latest consumer behaviour.

The end product is a formula that is used as a single application on the skin and slowly darkens over a period of 24 hours (varies depending on individual's skin) to leave the desired pattern on the skin, lasting approximately a week.

“The results within 24 hours after single application were just amazing. Not to mention, that this alternative is much healthier and can be applied throughout the entire year,”​ he says.

“We looked at that trend with serious eyes, but as I said before, we need to react and deliver an alternative that is convincing enough to stop people from harming and damaging themselves.”

Sunless tanning market growth

This solution gives consumers the chance to embrace individuality but without the risk of permanent damage in a much healthier way and builds on the growing sunless tanning market.

Manufacturers such as Unilever, P&G, and Boots have all been looking at healthier tanning concepts, with sales of sunless tanning products in the UK alone reaching £3.5 million (€4.8m) in the period January to June 2015, an increase of 9.2% on the same period in 2014.

With an increasing amount of information becoming available on the risks of UV exposure, sunless tanning is becoming more and more popular as it presents a safer option.

Globally it is estimated to be worth $763 million with a forecasted annual growth of 15%, and was named as one of the ‘Top Ten Fastest-Growing Industries in America’ by Time Magazine.

This market growth and increased competition presents a good opportunity for the industry, according to DSM, as brands look to formulate the best ‘tan in a bottle’, with chemists and manufacturers constantly striving to create a better product with improved formulations.

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