A tanning product favoured by celebrities including Olly Murs, David Hasselhoff and Geri Halliwell has become available in the UAE.
Citing a "gap in the market for sunless tanning", Shauna Ramskill says Dubai is just the place to launch the brand Vita Liberata. "Dubai is a very beauty-orientated city. We live in a hot climate and everyone likes to be tanned. This is a healthy alternative to sunbathing, which attracts skin cancer risks."
Many people in the UAE still use tanning booths, she says, exposing their bodies to harmful UV rays, many remaining unaware of the dangers.
"It's our mission to raise the awareness of the dangers and that sunless tanning is the healthy alternative," she says.
Dr Hassan Galadari, a dermatologist and assistant professor at UAE University, says the brand's coming to the UAE is a good thing. "The trend is very much for tanning here," he says. "So many of the local ladies love to tan and a lot also go in the tanning booths, which is even more dangerous than tanning. Very few use the tanning lotions. I guess not a lot of them know about it."
He says that since Vita Liberata is favoured by celebrities, it has more chance of taking off: "This will help raise awareness. It's very media affected. They see people in the media such as Jennifer Lopez so they really want to get tanned."
Spending time in the sun is not the only way to get the body's required vitamin D, Galadari says, adding that vitamin D deficiency is common in the UAE.
"It's easier through supplements," he says. "In the long run, exposing yourself to the sun, you're risking developing cancer, too.
"We say around 15 minutes of sun a day is sufficient but even that isn't enough to get the body's required vitamin D so we still need supplements."
In addition to being less risky Ramskill says that this is simply a good product. "After endless research I found that Vita Liberata was the best in the market: organic and the only non-toxic product out there," she says.
To minimise the risk of orangey hues often associated with self-tanning lotion, Vita Liberata comes in two shades that take to the skin according to its tone and pigmentation.
"It definitely looks more natural on the skin, like you have just come from the beach," Ramskill says. "It dries much quicker on the skin, not giving that sticky feeling for hours after and the smell is much milder and very tolerable."
Nadine Tamer, the manager at Dial A Nail in Tecom, brought the product to the spa in December. She says the ability to simply erect a fold-down tent in any of the treatment rooms has made it a very viable option. Although tanning is popular among her clients, she does not have space for a tanning booth.
"For the last six or seven years people have been looking at celebrities like Kim Kardashian and JLo and they want to tan," Tamer says. "We have a lot of European and Lebanese customers. They love tanning but they are conscious of the health effects of sitting in the sun. This is the guilt-free way of doing it."
The fact that Vita Liberata is organic is an additional selling point. "We've been using many organic and toxin-free products, from face scrubs to nail polish, and they're really popular with our customers," she adds.
Tried and tested
In the UAE, going to the beach or pool to get a tan is an easy option but with factors such as skin damage and high summer temperatures, fake tanning is a good alternative.
Sprayed on in just 10 minutes, Vita Liberata is far easier than home tanning products, which can be awkward to apply and difficult to spread evenly. It is much less messy with an expert there to protect the parts more prone to going darker. Vita Liberata dried quickly, too.
The smell was pretty strong at first but after 24 hours it faded to nothing, even though the colour was still strong and lasted for several days.
Be warned: the morning after the spray the colour is quite bold but the shade really suited me after a shower.
Most important is the preparation. Make sure your hands, feet and any other dry spots such as elbows have been well moisturised in the days running up to the treatment, and then do a good, all-over exfoliation the night before.
After the treatment, wear dark clothes because some colour will initially rub off. Buy the Vita Liberata moisturiser, which prolongs and enhances the tan.
Tans start at Dh180. For more information on suppliers and products go to www.vitaliberata.ae