Difference Between Self-Tanner & Bronzer

The difference between self-tanners and bronzers is the amount of time each product stays on the skin and the ingredients in the products. Bronzers and self-tanners affect the skin very differently and are used for different reasons.

Self-Tanner: Ingredients

Self-tanners include DHA, an active self-tanning ingredient that reacts to the skin's keratin and darkens the pigment. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to be safe for use on the skin.

Bronzer: Ingredients

A bronzer is an iridescent powder meant to mimic a tanned look. Ingredients include mica, talc and mineral oil. This is similar to what is found in any powder make-up.

Self-Tanner: Staying Power

Self-tanners last up to seven days. There are self-tanner lotions, creams and sprays. The more frequent the product is applied, the longer it will stay on the skin.

Bronzer: Staying Power

Bronzers are meant to stay on skin for the duration of a few hours to a full day. Bronzers are easily washed away with soap and water.


Types of bronzers are light-, medium- to dark-coloured powders. Some have a glow or dewy effect on the skin. Self-tanners have longer lasting formulas and usually come in light, medium and dark skin tones.

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