Before the 1920s powdery pale skin that rarely saw the sun was a sign of glamour and was the epitome of beauty. Tanned skin was a sign of poverty.
Then along came Coco Chanel. In 1923 on a yacht trip in the Cannes the fashion icon had a little too much sun and returned to the spotlight with a bronze golden glow. The public and celebrities alike went wild for the sun kissed look and so the need to achieve a perfect tan began.
Soon it wasn’t just Coco’s adoring fans that wanted a glow, the tan ‘fad’ turned into a long term trend among women of all socioeconomic levels. So much so that during WWII women went as far as using teabags to minic a tan! Instead of faking it with teabags celebrities and socialites would flock to tropical destinations and use sunlamps to darken their skin.
To fuel the tan seekers lust for a golden glow, the first fake tan hit the market in the late 1950’s. Rather than staining the skin ‘Man Tan’ used Dihydroxyacetone (DHA as its more commonly known) to cause a browning effect in the amino acids on the skins surface.
DHA was approved by the FDA for fake tanning in the 1970s and is still used in most self tan products today!