We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Tanning Pills?

By Laura Evans
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
BeautyAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At BeautyAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Many have tried tanning pills in the quest for the perfect, sunless tan. Tanning without exposure to sunlight would reduce the chances developing prematurely aged skin or developing life-threatening skin cancer. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any tanning pills as being effective. Tanning pills can also have potentially dangerous side effects.

Human beings need sunlight in order to survive. For example, UVB rays, one of the ultraviolet ray types in sunlight, helps the body to produce vitamin D, an important vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium. Both UVA rays, which affect the outer layers of skin, and UVB rays, which penetrate into deeper tissues, cause tanning. These ultraviolet rays can also damage the skin and lead to the development of melanoma, a potentially life threatening cancer.

The skin cells that are involved in the tanning process are called menanocytes. Menanocytes produce a chemical called melanin, a brown pigment, after being exposed to ultraviolet rays. This brown color helps protect the skin from getting burned as a result of overexposure to ultraviolet rays.

Canthaxanthin is a color additive that the FDA has approved for usage in foods in small amounts. This additive is not approved for sunless tanning pills, although many companies offer "natural supplements" as "tanning enhancers" which include canthaxanthin. Side effects of taking canthaxanthin can include having orange colored skin, developing crystals in the eyes, developing liver damage, and getting hives.

Another ingredient that is used in tanning pills is L-tyrosine, an amino acid. The body uses L-tyrosine, or tyrosine, in melanin production. Because the body uses L-tyrosine to produce melanin, the theory is that consuming L-tyrosine will stimulate melanin production. Manufacturers of tanning pills that include L-tyrosine often suggest taking the supplement in addition to sitting in the sun. Science does not support the claims that pills with L-tyrosine will enhance tanning and the FDA does not approve L-tyrosine for use as a tanning agent. Possible side effects of taking L-tyrosine can include chest pain, hives, or swollen skin. People who take L-tyrosine may get rarer side effects such as headaches, mood changes, or heartburn.

The FDA does approve tanning lotions or sprays that include dihydroxyacetone (DHA). This chemical works by turning dead skin cells on the surface of the body darker. A faux tan will last about three days. Those with faux tans should also wear sunscreen when outside to help prevent skin damage from the sun.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments

BeautyAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

BeautyAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.