Without The Sun

The more we find out about tanning, the less attractive a prospect it becomes. Researchers now know that unprotected sun exposure can be a prelude to numerous problems: premature skin aging, cataracts, skin cancer, and even immune-system suppression among them.

But hang on, palefaces. The good news is that your looks can still benefit from a healthy, risk-free glow year-round thanks to botanical sunless tanning lotions. The ingredient responsible for the faux glow is dihydroxyacetone, derived from sugar beets and sugar cane, which reacts with the keratin in dead skin layers to produce quick color.

Several sunless lotions, including Alba Botanica Sun Sunless with SPF 15, Kiss My Face Natural Instant Sunless Tanner and Nature's Gate Self Tanning Lotion with SPF 15, add walnut extract as well. This staining extract helps prevent blotchiness and streaking.

Some lotions, such as Jason's Sunless SPF 16, also contain moisturizers and emollients including aloe vera, calendula, and ginkgo biloba, as well as antioxidants such as green tea extract and vitamin E, which act as free radical scavengers to help defend against sun exposure.

For best results, always clean and exfoliate your skin before applying tanning lotions. And be sure to wash your hands afterwards so your palms don't end up darker than the rest of you. Wait a few hours, and enjoy your glorious, safe "sun" tan.

—Kristine Merrill