A Guide to Sunless Tanning for Men: Endless Summer Glow

Self tanners, also known as sunless tanning lotions or fake tan products, have a fascinating history dating back to the early 20th century. The first self tanning product, called "Man-Tan," was introduced in the 1920s and consisted of a colorless liquid that produced a gradual tan when applied to the skin. Over the decades, sunless tanning formulations have evolved significantly, with advancements in ingredients, skin science and application techniques resulting in a more natural-looking tan. 

Self tanning for men has come a long way since the 1920's. Revolutionizing the way men achieve a healthy, confident bronzed Adonis complexion (fake tan) without the harmful UV effects of sun exposure. Self tanning products in 2024 are no longer defined by the slightly off color, fake-ish, orange tint and an unpleasant self tanning chemical smell.  The colors are now are much more natural looking and the formulas are sophisticated and infused with skincare ingredients that gives a natural endless summer glow. Self tanning products are a personal favorite of mine and I always have a few in my medicine cabinet. I like how it can really give me a boost of glow and confidence. 

bearded man with self tanning drops on, urth

What is a Self Tanner?

A self tanner is a skincare product that contains active ingredient dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which reacts with the amino acids in the skin's surface to produce a temporary tan that can last for 2-3 days. Self tanners provide a safe alternative for achieving a sun-kissed glow without risking sun damage or premature skin aging. It's like a year round vacation in a bottle and a product that can give men that year round endless summer glow.  

Types of Self Tanning Products

Sunless tanning formulas have evolved beyond the traditional lotions and creams to include a variety of formats to suit different preferences and lifestyles. In 2024 the different formats not only give men more options but the modern formulations are also infused with skincare ingredients to provide added nutrients and benefits for the skin. 

Self Tan Lotions: These are the classic formulations that provide hydration while delivering a gradual tan. Modern formulations have added skincare ingredients and are sometimes infused with fragrances or essential oils to mask the sunless tanning burnt skin like smell.

Self Tanning Sprays: Convenient mist sprays for quick and easy applications, ideal for imparting a healthy and gradual glow. It’s an ideal format for covering a larger area with ease and the mist minimizes streaks. 

Self Tanning Mousse: Lightweight foams that blend easily for an even tan with a fast-drying formula.

Tanning Drops: Self tanning drops is a serum like format with concentrated formulas that can be mixed with your existing face or body moisturizers or serums to customize the intensity of the tan. Self tan drops are also often infused with skincare ingredients offering multiple benefits in one product. Look for added ingredients, like vitamin C, Vitamin E, niacinamide, squalene, retinol, AHA, BHA. 

Self Tanning Wipes: Pre-soaked wipes for mess-free application, perfect for on-the-go touch-ups or travel. The application is easy and can cover a large area easier than a traditional lotion. 

Benefits of Sunless Tanning for Men

Achieve a natural looking glow: Self tanners provide a natural-looking tan and helps to minimize skin redness, uneven skin tone, and skin imperfections for a healthy and confident glow, whenever it is needed.

handsome man with sunless tanning lotion on, urth

Safe Alternative to Sun Exposure: Incidents of skin cancers are on the rise globally. By avoiding UV exposure, self tanners help prevent sunburn, premature aging, and reduce the risk of skin cancer. 

Customizable Results: With a range of formulations and application methods, men can customize their tan to achieve their desired level of tan.

Hydration and Skincare Benefits: Many self tanning products are infused with hydrating ingredients and antioxidants to nourish and protect the skin, leaving it looking healthy and radiant. Your not only getting a more bronzed look but also getting the benefits of better skin.

How to Use Self Tanner

Preparation:  Cleanse and Exfoliate with urth's Face Scrub, then moisturize dry areas like elbows and knees for a more even application.

Application: Apply the self tanner evenly to clean, dry skin using circular motions, blending well to avoid streaks. 

Blend: Use a self tanning brush, mitt or gloves to blend the product seamlessly, focusing on areas that naturally tan first, such as the face, chest, and arms.

Allow to Dry: Allow the self tanner to dry completely before dressing to prevent transfer onto clothing.

Maintenance: Maintain your tan by moisturizing daily and exfoliating regularly to ensure an even fade. Reapply every 2-3 days for maintain the sun-kissed glow.

Frequency of use: Self tanning products can be used day or night and can be used to build a deeper tan. Increase frequency of use will develop a deeper and darker tan.

Caution: Wash hands with soap and water after every application.  If self tanning product is used in the evening then consider sleeping on a darker pillow case as the self tanner may transfer and discolor lighter pillow cases.

With a range of formulations and application methods to choose from, you can fake tan a natural-looking year round tan minus the risks and skin aging associated with UV sun exposure. Self tan drops are currently my favorite because the tan drops infused with added skincare ingredients can be seamlessly incorporated into my existing daytime and nighttime skincare routines.  

urth has curated skin care kits for men to simplify men's skincare routine. These plant powered men’s skin care products are formulated with non pore clogging ingredients like chamomile, green tea, ginseng and pure essential oils to cleanse, brighten and nourish skin for a healthy and clear complexion. A healthy and clear complexion is the perfect foundation for self tanners to build a healthy and endless summer flow.