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Natural vs. fake tan: which is better for darkening skin?
The image above contrasts photoaged skin (skin aged by sun exposure), at left, with intrinsic skin aging (e.g., aging of the skin of the armpits, which is exposed to very little sun). Intrinsic aging of the skin manifests in the form of fine wrinkles, thinning of the skin and loss of the fat deposits just below the skin. Sun-induced aging causes coarse wrinkles and furrowing, and also thickens the skin. The technical term for the process by which sun exposure ages skin is known as solar elastosis, which comprises of the accumulation of elastotic material in the skin. Elastosis is the process of loss of skin elasticity. Read more about intrinsic vs. extrinsic skin aging in an article by Jouni Uitto,(1, pdf) from which the image shown above is taken.
So which is better for skin darkening/tanning, sun exposure or dihydroxyacetone (fake tan)? The picture speaks for itself.
- Uitto, J., The role of elastin and collagen in cutaneous aging: intrinsic aging versus photoexposure, J Drugs Dermatol, 7, s12 (2008).