This Popular DIY Self-Tanner Is Actually Really Bad For You

This is as much a surprise for me as it is for you, probably, but, apparently, there are people in the world who use Coca-Cola–as in, the carbonated beverage that can be used to clean toilet bowls and remove rust from metal–as a self-tanner.

The idea here is that you pour Coca-Cola all over your body before laying out in the sun, either in lieu of or mixed with tanning oil, and the brownish color of the soda bakes into your skin as you absorb the sun’s rays (K.) Apparently, some British reality stars started using it last summer, which started a moderate DIY trend among the tanning community.


This–applying soda to your body instead of sunscreen before exposing yourself to the sun–is, perhaps unsurprisingly, not very good for you. Allure spoke to some dermatologists about it, and found that, while the Coca-Cola does actually make skin darker due to its caramel-colored dye, it does so at a pretty hefty risk. Even if you look past the bug bites and overall sticky feeling that a sugary drink like Coke would undoubtedly inflict, the soda is acidic, which exfoliates the skin. This is fine if you are looking to slough off some dead skin cells, but it makes it so that any UV rays you’re exposed to are enhanced and make the possibility of burning a lot greater. This, in turn, increases your possibility of skin cancer and premature wrinkles.

The moral here is that laying out in the sun is pretty much always bad for you, and it’s especially bad for you if you choose to pour Coke all over your body before doing so. Please always apply a good amount of SPF before going into the sun (we happen to have some recommendations for you right here), and, if you must have a glow for the summer, try and stick to an FDA-approved self-tanner.



So, just to recap the various health breakthroughs that have rocked “everyone’s” world (read: my own, personal, microcosmic world) over the past week: Coconut oil is #actually bad for you, sleeping in is #actually good for you, and, in what should be a surprise to literally no one, using Coca-Cola as a DIY self tanner is probably not going to work out in the ways you have been promised. And, uh, that’s it. For now. Be well!


Do you use self tanner? Do you have any DIY concoctions you swear by? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

You’re Going To Be Seeing This Weird Trend Everywhere This Summer

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