The history of self tanning

Coco Chanel turns tanning chic

Fake tan is many a girls’ best friend, with 41% of women in Britain using self-tanning products. However this hasn’t always been the case - fake tan doesn’t have a very big history!

Up until the 1920s tanned skin was considered a sign of poverty - pale skin was a sign of wealth and defined beauty and glamour.Coco Chanel changed everything when she returned from a yachting holiday in the French Riviera showcasing her new bronzed look having ‘accidentally caught too much sun’ – and accidentally starting the trend for tanning. (Thank you Coco Chanel!) Her friend Prince Jean-Louis de Faucigny-Lucigne later said ‘I think she may have invented sunbathing. At that time, she invented everything.’ Being the style icon that she was, Coco Chanel created a new precedent of beauty with men and women prepared to do almost anything for a golden tan…some ladies even went to the extent of using tea bags to stain their skin for a ‘tan’ complexion!

Fake tan was born

The tanned look became increasingly popular and people were happy to lie out in the sun for hours to get their desired glow,but it wasn’t until the 1950s when the first self-tan product hit the market. Miss Mantan, a moisturising foundation ‘for that young outdoor tan look’ used dihydroxyacetone (DHA) to tan the skin rather than just stain it. DHA is still used in self-tan products today.

The discovery of sun damage risks

Over the years, as knowledge and research into skin cancer became more advanced, it was clear that over exposure to the sun brings with it potentially fatal consequences such as skin cancer and a host of other physical conditions. Recent statistics from Cancer Research UK state that using the sunbeds under the age of 30 increases the risk of skin cancer by 75% - over the years many campaigns have highlighted these shocking facts in the media to make people more aware of the damage that too much sun can do!

So what does this mean for tan-seekers? Thankfully fake tan has developed dramatically over the years, so there is no more ‘fake tan smell’ or orange tones! You can achieve a naturally sun kissed glow without damaging your skin!


Sun Awareness Week

Did you know that Sun Awareness week is 4th- 11th May?It's time to get your shades, sun cream…and of course favourite Xen-Tan product at the ready to prepare yourself for a safe summer of fun in the sun! Organised by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), the week aims to create awareness of skin cancer and the damage that can be caused by over exposure to the sun. 

As a self-tanning brand we are all about safe tanning and offer a range of tans so you can achieve a beautiful golden glow, without putting your skin or your health at risk! Thanks to our unique moisture-rich formulas even the fairest of skin can enjoy a long lasting,natural golden glow (safely). 

To celebrate Sun Awareness Week, we're giving you an amazing £15 offer every day and we'll also be giving you the chance to win your favourite Xen-Tan product - follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out more!



12 Dec 2019 - 10:29 pm

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