Hanneke Wander En Eva Van Zanten Cultural Studies Essay

1. Introduction: 1.1 Information on the self-tanning lotions. 1.2 Questions and sub-questions in this paper.

2. Theory on the mechanism of the lotion: 2.1 How self-tanning lotions work. 2.2 Safety of sunless tanners. 2.3 History of the tanning lotion.

3. Hypotheses on the questions: 3.1 What is the effect of self-tanning crèmes on different skin colours?/ Is the effect of self-tanning crèmes bigger on light-coloured skin compared to dark coloured skin? 3.2 When applied on a skin with freckles, does the self-tanning crème result in mottled skin? 3.3 Is the duration of the effect of self-tanning crème the same on different skin colours? 3.4 What is the effect of self-tanning crèmes on different skin types? 3.5 Will the lotion slip off sooner on a greasy skin? 3.6 Will people with a dry skin get a stained skin? 3.7 Will the effect be the same on the skin of an other mammal, a pig for example?

4. Experiment 4.1 Blank experiment 4.2 Method blank experiment 4.3 Experiment with self-tanning lotion 4.4 Method experiment with self-tanning lotion 4.5 Supplementary information on the method with regard to the measurement of the RGB-intensity

5. Results 5.1 Individuals with a freckled skin 5.2 Individuals with a yellowish skin 5.3 Individuals with a light skin 5.4 Individuals with a dark skin

6. Conclusion

1. Introduction

1.1 Information on the self-tanning lotions

The last decades the demand for sunless tanning products have risen incredibly. This is all due to the Western ideal of beauty. The pressure of the media and the environment they are in have caused more and more people to want to be tanned. This started from the 20th century onwards, before that a white skin was actually beautiful. Communism was rising and the boundaries between the lower and higher class were blurred, causing a tanned skin to be more common. When Coco Chanel used tanned models in their advertisements, the desire for a tan grew even more despite the risks of premature aging and skin cancer associated with tanning. Skin-care manufactures have searched for ways to achieve a tanned skin without the risks.

The first self tanning product was put on the market in 1960 by the company Coppertone and was named Quick Tanning Lotion. Unfortunately this lotion produced an extremely orange colour, which wasn’t very flattering. Since then huge improvements have been made on the sunless-tanning front. These days, there are several ways to get your tan: tanning pills, sunless- or self-tanners and bronzers. In this paper we will be focussing on the self-tanners. Plenty of brands provide self tanners, the prices vary from about €4,60 to €95,00.

Although each brand claims to have developed the perfect and unique formula, they all use the same active ingredient: Dihydroxyacetone, also known as DHA. The browning property of the chemical was discovered in the 1920s by accident, when DHA was used as a substitute for sweetener in diabetic diets. The DHA was chewed in concentrated form and it was noted that the saliva turned the skin brown, which made it unsuitable as a glucose substitute. DHA was marketed again in the 1960s when the first self tanning cream was introduced.

1.2 Questions in this paper

In this paper we will answer the question: What is the influence of self tanning lotions on the skin? We will include the theory behind self tanners and we will answer a couple of questions concerning self tanners by use of an experiment.

These questions are:

What is the effect of self-tanning crèmes on different skin colours?

Sub questions:

Is the effect of self-tanning crèmes bigger on light-coloured skin compared to dark-coloured skin?

When applied on a skin with freckles, does the self-tanning crème result in mottled skin?

Is the duration of the effect of self-tanning crème the same on different skin colours?

What is the effect of self-tanning crèmes on different skin types?

Sub questions:

Does the crème cause a mottled skin when applied on a dry skin?

Is the duration of the effect of self-tanning crème the same on different skin types?

2. Theory.

2.1 How self tanning lotions work:

There are numerous brands of self tanning products on the market which all claim to have found a unique formulation, but they all use the same active ingredient: Dihydroxyacetone, with the empirical formula C3H6O3 also known as DHA. (figure 1)  It belongs to the substance class of carbohydrates and has a sweet taste.

Figure 1

Our skin is made up of two main layers, the dermis on the inside and the epidermis on the outside.(figure 2) The epidermis on his turn consists of the stratum basale, which is the deepest layer of the epidermis, and the stratum corneum, the outermost layer. During sun tanning the stratum basale is affected while self tanning products affect the stratum corneum.

Figure 2

DHA is a 3-carbon colourless sugar which interacts with peptides, amino acids and proteins in the skin. DHA then forms chromophobes known as melanoidins. Melanoidins are polymeric compounds that are linked by lysine side chains to the proteins of the stratum corneum. This is done by condensation of the sugar molecule with an amino group, typically on an amino acid, as shown for DHA in figure 3.

Figure 3

Melanoidins have some structure similarities to skin melanin. The browning reaction that occurs is known as the Maillard reaction, as the DHA is exposed to keratin protein. The DHA reacts with amino acids in the layer of dead skin cells, causing a browning effect. This effect usually lasts about five to seven days from the application.

The Maillard reaction is a process, named after Louis-Camille Maillard, who first described it in 1912. Amino acids interact with sugars to create brown or golden brown compounds. This type of interaction is the cause of much of the browning that occurs during manufacture and storage of foods. It also makes beer golden brown.

The difference between effectiveness of different self tanning lotions is caused by the DHA concentration in the cream. In cosmetic products the concentration is around 3 to 5 % while in professional products it varies between 5 and 15 %. A higher concentration results in a greater darkening. This makes it possible for companies to formulate self tanning creams in light, medium and dark shades. Cheaper self tanning creams contain low percentages of DHA, making you have to build up your tan applying the cream over a several days. More expensive products like St. Tropez contain higher percentages of DHA and makes your skin darker in one time.

According to the theory, one receives the tanned skin due to the chemical reaction between DHA and the proteins on the skin. With this in mind, it is logical that people with many proteins on their skin get a bigger effect. However, every human being has the same amount of proteins on the skin, which would make this hypothesis false. Nevertheless, the skin can be treated with amino acids before one puts on the self-tanning lotion. Researchers have proved that the tan gets more intense when the skin is treated with methionine, lysine, glycine or histidine beforehand.

A sunless tan only lasts a couple of days after you have applied a self tanning cream. This is due to the fact that the cream is applied to the very top layer of the skin, which is totally renewed every 35 to 45 days. As the skin naturally exfoliates itself your dead skin cells with which the cream has reacted will disappear and your tan will be gone.

2.2 Safety of sunless tanners

The Federal food, drug and cosmetic act (FD&C Act), Section 721 authorizes the use of colour additives , if it’s used under the specific regulations. One of these regulations is that DHA can only be applied to the external body, and not to the lips or any body surface covered by mucous membrane. This is because the FDA has not yet received safety data from the industry in order for the agency to consider approving it for use on these other body parts. With other words, there have only been a few safety studies regarding self tanners. Long-term effects are still unknown, but since DHA has been put into use in sunless tanners, only a few allergic reactions have been recorded. One study found that DHA added to skin cells damaged the cells’ DNA, which suggests that more research is needed before DHA can be declared safe for long-term use.

One danger of self tanners is that many people think they also work as sun protection, which is absolutely false. Unless it says on the bottle it provides sun protection, self tanners only offer SPF 2 or 3.

2.3 History of the tanning lotion:

In the past, a very pale skin was beautiful. A tan was considered as a 'no-go', but in the 1920's, Coco Chanel changed that tradition. Accidentally, in the exact same year, a German scientist discovered that DHA gave the skin a brown colour. Several scientists went investigating the DHA and they found that the browning effect was a consist result. In the 1960's, Coppertone was the first company to launch a sunless tanning lotion named QT (Quick Tan).

In 1973, the FDA (Food and Drug administration) added DHA to their list of approved cosmetic ingredients.

After these developments, the tanning lotions only became better and better and, of course, more popular. Today, a tanning lotion is hotter than ever. That's probably because (often) the women want to look like the models on the billboards. They change their looks by plastic surgery and of course, a sunless tan.

3. Hypotheses on the questions.

3.1 What is the effect of self-tanning crèmes on different skin colours?/ Is the effect of self-tanning crèmes bigger on light-coloured skin compared to dark coloured skin? Our hypothesis on this question is that we think there will be no difference between the effects. The only difference will be that one can see the tan better on a light skin than on a dark skin, simply because the dark skin is already tanned from itself.

3.2 When applied on a skin with freckles, does the self-tanning crème result in mottled skin? We think that that will be the case indeed. A freckle is, obviously, an accumulation of pigment on the skin. So, a tan will be less visible on a part which is already darker/more tanned. Due to this, freckled people will get a mottled skin.

3.3 Is the duration of the effect of self-tanning crème the same on different skin colours? The duration of the effect will be the same because the rate of cell division is the same on every person, no matter what the skin colour is.

3.4 What is the effect of self-tanning crèmes on different skin types?

We expect the tan to last longer on a dry skin, because the dry skin absorbs the lotion better in relation to a greasy skin. On the other hand, the dry skin will be more visible because the lotion will not spread solid on the skin. The best effect can be obtained with a healthy skin with a moisture percentage of 84%. The least effect is obtained with a moisture percentage of 0% and 100%.

3.5 Will the lotion slip off sooner on a greasy skin?

On a greasy skin, the self-tanning lotion will slip off sooner because due to the greasy layer on the skin, the reaction between the skin and the lotion is obstruct. Also, the grease on the skin can be mixed up with the lotion. As a consequence, one will have a lotion with more grease in it and because of that, the lotion itself will slip off sooner.

3.6 Will people with a dry skin get a stained skin?

People with dry patches on the skin will get a stained skin. The lotion will sink in the dry places easier and on these places, the tan will last longer.

3.7 Will the effect be the same on the skin of an other mammal, a pig for example?

We think the effect will be similar, but not exactly the same because the rate of cell division is different.

4. Experiment.

4.1 Blank experiment

Requirements:

- Individual with a freckled skin

- Individual with a light skin

- Individual with a yellowish skin

- Individual with a dark skin

- Individual with a dry skin

- Individual with a normal skin

- Individual with a greasy skin

- Digital camera

- Laptop

- Program which can measure the RGB-intensity.

4.2 Method blank experiment

1. We take a part on the skin of the underarm.

2. We take a picture of the skin

3. We send the picture to a laptop. On the laptop, a program named Colorcop can measure the RGB-intensity of the skin.

4. We write down the RGB-values.

4.3 Experiment with tanning lotion.

Requirements:

- Individual with a freckled skin

- Individual with a light skin

- Individual with a yellowish skin

- Individual with a dark skin

- Individual with a dry skin

- Individual with a normal skin

- Individual with a greasy skin

- Digital camera

- Laptop

- Program which can measure the RGB-intensity

- Self-tanning lotion

- Measuring cup

4.4 Method experiment with tanning lotion

1. We put the same amount of the lotion on every person.

2. After 24 hours, we make another picture of the test persons.

3. We send the picture to the laptop.

4. We write down the RGB-values.

5. We compare the values of the blank experiment and the experiment with the tanning lotion.

6. We calculate the average colouration per group.

4.5 Supplementary information on the method with regard to the measurement of the RGB-intensity:

The RGB-intensity works as following:

One can 'measure' the composition of a colour with RGB. At first glance, a purple spot is just 'purple', as you can see, but in that colour blue there is also a little bit red or maybe a little bit of green. The intensity values of the red, the green and the blue are from 0 to 255. 255 is the colour in its purest form.

Example:

The RGB-intensity of this colour is:

R: 126

G: 11

B: 128

On the skin, we can measure the RGB-intensity too. When the skin became a little bit more tanned, we can see that in the values. The transformation from a light skin tone to a darker skin tone means: a little decrease of the red colour, a large decrease of the green colour and a very large decrease of the blue colour.

5. Results (not finished yet)

5.1 Individuals with a freckled skin (average):

5.2 Individuals with a yellowish skin (average):

5.3 Individuals with a light skin (average):

5.4 Individuals with a dark skin (average):

6. Conclusion (not finished yet):

As you can see, people with a yellowish skin have the biggest change in their skin colour. People with a light skin tone have also a big change. This is because the tan is more visible on a light, clear skin. With that in mind, we can also explain the relatively little change in tan with the freckled person and the dark person: they already have more pigment in their skin, so the change will not be that dramatically.

With the people with freckles, the skin became mottled indeed. That is probably because the light parts of the skin become more tanned compared to the freckles.