What’s the Difference Between Accelerator and Bronzer? Explained

So you’re planning on getting a tan on your next beach vacation or just a day of lounging by the pool. That’s great! But are you wondering which tanning product to use? Accelerators and bronzers are the two most popular tanning options in the market, but what’s the difference between them? While they both give you that sun-kissed glow, accelerator and bronzer tanning lotions have different purposes and effects on your skin. Understanding the difference between the two can help you choose the right tanning product for your needs.

Accelerators are tanning lotions that promote melanin production in your skin. Melanin is the pigment that gives your skin its natural color and helps protect it from UV damage. Accelerators typically contain ingredients that stimulate melanin production, such as tyrosine, riboflavin, or copper peptides. These tanning lotions take longer to produce results, but they help you develop a base tan that lasts longer than a superficial tan. If you have fair skin or you haven’t tanned in a while, using an accelerator can help you achieve a natural-looking tan while reducing your risk of sunburn.

Bronzers, on the other hand, are tanning lotions that contain natural or synthetic dyes that darken your skin immediately. Some bronzers also contain accelerators to enhance the tanning process. Bronzers are ideal for people who want quick results, such as for a special occasion or a last-minute vacation. However, bronzers tend to wear off more quickly than a natural tan, and some people may experience streaking or uneven color. Additionally, bronzer tanning lotions may not be suitable for very fair or sensitive skin types, as they can cause irritation or allergic reactions.

Accelerator vs. Bronzer: What’s the difference?

If you’re new to indoor tanning, you might be wondering about the difference between accelerators and bronzers. While both products can help you achieve a beautiful, bronze glow, they work in different ways. Here’s what you need to know:

Accelerators are tanning lotions that are designed to speed up the tanning process. They work by stimulating melanin production in your skin. Melanin is the pigment that gives your skin its color, and when you’re exposed to UV rays, your body produces more melanin to protect your skin from damage. Accelerators contain ingredients that help your skin produce more melanin, which can help you achieve a deep, rich tan faster than you would without using a tanning lotion.

Bronzers, on the other hand, work by adding color to your skin. They contain ingredients that temporarily darken the surface of your skin to give you an instant, natural-looking bronze glow. Some bronzers also contain DHA, a colorless ingredient that reacts with amino acids in your skin to produce a longer-lasting tan. This type of bronzer is known as a self-tanner, and it can help you maintain your tan for longer periods of time.

Accelerator vs. Bronzer: Which one should you use?

  • If you’re new to indoor tanning, an accelerator is a great option. It can help you build a base tan quickly and efficiently, and it can also help you avoid burning.
  • If you’re already somewhat tan and you want to deepen your color, a bronzer can help you achieve a darker, more natural-looking tan.
  • If you’re looking for a longer-lasting tan that doesn’t require frequent trips to the tanning salon, a self-tanning bronzer is a good choice. Just be sure to apply it evenly and give it time to dry before getting dressed.

Choosing the right product for your skin type

No matter which type of tanning lotion you choose, it’s important to select a product that’s designed for your skin type. Look for a lotion that’s formulated for sensitive skin if you’re prone to breakouts or allergic reactions. If you have dry skin, choose a lotion that contains moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera or shea butter.

Accelerator Bronzer
Speeds up the tanning process Temporarily darkens the surface of your skin
Stimulates melanin production May contain DHA for longer-lasting color
Good for building a base tan Great for deepening an existing tan

Ultimately, whether to choose an accelerator or a bronzer depends on your tanning goals and your skin type. Regardless of which product you choose, be sure to apply it evenly and follow the instructions carefully for the best results.

Ingredients Used in Accelerators and Bronzers

Accelerators and bronzers are two essential tanning products that use different ingredients to achieve their results. Accelerators are designed to speed up the tanning process, while bronzers provide an instant tan that gradually fades away. Here, we will discuss the ingredients used in accelerators and bronzers.

  • Accelerators: Most accelerators use ingredients such as tyrosine, amino acids, and copper peptides. These ingredients work together to stimulate the production of melanin in the skin, which leads to a faster, darker tan. Tyrosine is an amino acid that helps in the production of melanin, while copper peptides work to boost collagen and elastin production in the skin, leading to tanning. Amino acids strengthen the skin’s barrier function and improve moisture retention, ultimately resulting in a darker tan.
  • Bronzers: Bronzers use ingredients that give an instant tan and gradually fade off over time. These ingredients include dihydroxyacetone (DHA), erythrulose, and caramel. DHA is the most commonly used ingredient in bronzers. It reacts with amino acids on the skin’s surface and produces a brown color that mimics a natural tan. Erythrulose is a sugar derivative that reacts with DHA to produce a long-lasting tan. Caramel is a natural ingredient that provides an immediate bronze effect and gives a natural-looking glow to the skin.

It’s important to note that while accelerators and bronzers may contain different ingredients, they both require proper use for the best possible results. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully for best practices and avoid using too much product, which could lead to streaking or an orange-looking tan.

How are Accelerators and Bronzers applied?

When it comes to tanning lotions, the application process is just as important as the formula and ingredients included. The application process can make all the difference in terms of achieving your desired results. Accelerators and bronzers are applied differently due to their unique formulations and goals.

  • Accelerators: Accelerators are designed to speed up the tanning process by stimulating the production of melanin in the skin. To apply an accelerator, start by exfoliating the skin to remove any dead skin cells and ensure an even application. Apply the accelerator evenly to the skin, making sure to rub it in thoroughly. Wait a few minutes for the lotion to fully absorb before getting dressed or going into the sun.
  • Bronzers: Bronzers are designed to immediately darken the skin for a temporary tanning effect, while also providing long-lasting color and hydration. Bronzers contain a tint or color additive that gives an immediate tan appearance, as well as DHA (dihydroxyacetone) that provides the lasting color. To apply a bronzer, start by exfoliating and moisturizing the skin. Apply the bronzer evenly to the skin, making sure to blend it in well around dry areas such as elbows and knees. Wait a few minutes for the lotion to dry and avoid getting dressed until it has fully absorbed.

It is important to remember to always apply tanning lotions evenly and carefully to avoid streaks or blotchiness. It is also important to give the lotion time to fully absorb before any physical activity or contact with water to ensure maximum effectiveness. With proper application, both accelerators and bronzers can lead to a beautiful, natural-looking tan that lasts for days.

The Benefits of Using a Tanning Mitt

Using a tanning mitt can make the application process of accelerators and bronzers even easier and more effective. A tanning mitt is a soft, foam glove that helps to evenly distribute the lotion across the skin with minimal rubbing or streaking. Using a mitt can also prevent the lotion from staining the palms of the hands or in between fingers, which can be a common issue when applying bronzers. Simply apply the lotion to the mitt and then apply the mitt to the skin, working from the center of the body outwards. A tanning mitt can also be washed after use and reused, making it a sustainable and cost-effective solution for achieving an even, streak-free tan.

Pros of using a Tanning Mitt Cons of using a Tanning Mitt
Helps to achieve an even application of tanning lotion. May require additional investment if tanning mitt is not included with lotion.
Prevents lotion from staining palms and in between fingers. May take longer to apply lotion due to more gentle rubbing motions.
Can be reused and washed for sustainable use. May not be suitable for those with latex allergies.

Overall, using a tanning mitt can make the application process easier, more even, and less messy, leading to a more flawless and natural-looking tan.

The effects of Accelerators and Bronzers on different skin types

Accelerators and bronzers are two popular products in the world of tanning. While they both have the same objective (to help you achieve a tan), they work differently and can have different effects on your skin depending on your skin type. Here are some things you need to know about how accelerators and bronzers work on different skin types.

  • Accelerators – Accelerators are designed to speed up the tanning process. They activate the melanin-producing cells in your skin, which helps you develop a tan faster. Accelerators usually contain ingredients like tyrosine, which is an amino acid that stimulates melanin production, and copper, which helps your skin produce more melanin. Accelerators are ideal for people with fair skin who don’t tan easily. However, people with darker skin can also benefit from accelerators as they help you achieve a deeper, longer-lasting tan. If you have sensitive skin, it’s important to look for an accelerator that is hypoallergenic and free of fragrances and other irritants.
  • Bronzers – Bronzers are designed to add color to your skin without having to spend hours in the sun. They contain ingredients like dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which reacts with the amino acids in the top layer of your skin to produce a temporary brown color. Bronzers usually come in the form of lotions, sprays, or powders and are available in a range of shades to suit different skin tones. Bronzers work well for people who want an instant tan without having to wait for one to develop. However, they can be tricky to apply evenly, and if you have dry or sensitive skin, they can sometimes leave you looking streaky or patchy.

If you have dry skin, it’s important to moisturize regularly when using accelerators or bronzers. Both products can be drying, and if your skin is already dry, you may experience flakiness or irritation. You should also avoid using accelerators or bronzers if you have sensitive skin or a history of skin allergies. Always do a patch test before using a new product and stop using it if you experience any adverse reactions.

If you are not sure which product is best for you, it’s a good idea to consult a dermatologist or esthetician. They can help you determine your skin type and recommend products that will work best for you. Regardless of which product you choose, it’s important to apply it properly and follow the instructions carefully to avoid any negative effects on your skin.

Skin Type Best Product
Fair Skin Accelerator
Medium Skin Accelerator or Bronzer
Olive Skin Bronzer
Dark Skin Accelerator

Ultimately, the best product for you depends on your skin type and personal preference. By understanding how accelerators and bronzers work, you can make an informed decision and achieve a beautiful, natural-looking tan.

Can Accelerators and Bronzers be used together?

If you want to achieve a deeper and longer-lasting tan, using both accelerators and bronzers together can help enhance your results. However, it’s important to understand the difference between the two and know how to use them correctly.

  • Accelerators – These lotions contain ingredients that stimulate the production of melanin in the skin, which is responsible for the tanning process. They typically do not contain any added color or tint to the skin.
  • Bronzers – These lotions contain a temporary color that darkens the skin immediately upon application. They work by adding depth and darkness to an already existing tan.

When using both accelerators and bronzers, it’s important to apply the accelerator first and give it time to fully absorb into the skin before applying the bronzer. This will ensure that the accelerator can work its magic and produce as much melanin as possible. Once the accelerator has fully absorbed, apply the bronzer to add extra color and depth to your already deep, dark tan.

It’s also important to note that not all accelerators and bronzers are created equal. Some products may contain certain ingredients that may not be compatible with each other or with your skin. It’s always a good idea to patch test new products before using them on a larger area of your skin.

Accelerators Bronzers
Work by stimulating melanin production Add temporary color to the skin immediately upon application
Do not contain added color or tint Can contain added color or tint
Best applied first, followed by bronzers Should be applied after accelerators have fully absorbed into the skin

In conclusion, accelerators and bronzers can be used together to enhance a deep and long-lasting tan. However, it’s important to understand the difference between the two and how to use them correctly. Follow the proper application steps and always patch test new products to ensure the best results for your skin.

The Best Accelerators and Bronzers on the Market

When it comes to achieving that perfect tan, there are two essential products to consider: accelerators and bronzers. Accelerators are lotions or oils that boost the production of melanin in the skin, which in turn speeds up the tanning process. Bronzers, on the other hand, are cosmetic products that contain pigments or dyes to darken the skin tone temporarily. While both products are designed to enhance tanning results, they work differently and produce varied outcomes.

The Best Accelerators on the Market

  • Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator Lotion: This lotion contains native Australian oils and vitamins that help stimulate the skin’s melanin production, resulting in a faster and darker tan. It also moisturizes and nourishes the skin, leaving it smooth and radiant.
  • Hempz Dark Tan Maximizer: This lotion is rich in hemp seed oil and other natural ingredients that condition and hydrate the skin. It also contains tyrosine, an amino acid that helps accelerate melanin synthesis and promote a deeper, longer-lasting tan.
  • Banana Boat Deep Tanning Oil Spray: This oil-based spray is infused with carrot and banana extracts that boost skin cell regeneration and melanin production. It provides a natural-looking golden tan and helps prevent sunburn and skin damage.

The Best Bronzers on the Market

Bronzers are ideal for those who want an instant, streak-free tan without having to spend hours in the sun. Here are some of the best bronzers available:

  • L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes: These towelettes are easy to use and provide a natural-looking tan within a few hours. They are infused with an advanced formula that adapts to the skin’s natural tone and adjusts the color accordingly.
  • Tarte Brazilliance Plus+ Self-Tanner: This self-tanner contains maracuja and coconut oil that nourish and hydrate the skin while delivering a deep, natural-looking tan. It is also free of harsh chemicals and sulfates, making it ideal for sensitive skin.
  • Dior Bronze Self-Tanning Jelly: This luxurious self-tanner glides smoothly onto the skin and blends effortlessly for a streak-free, radiant glow. It contains plant-based ingredients that provide a long-lasting, even tan that fades naturally.

Comparison Table: Accelerators vs. Bronzers

Accelerators Bronzers
Application: Applied before sun exposure to enhance tanning results. Applied after cleansing and exfoliating for an instant tan.
Active Ingredients: Stimulate melanin production in the skin. Contain pigments or dyes to darken the skin temporarily.
Results: Produces a deeper, longer-lasting tan. Delivers an instant, temporary tan that lasts for a few days.
Usage: Recommended for people who want to spend more time in the sun and achieve a natural-looking tan. Recommended for people who want an instant tan without exposure to the sun or harmful UV rays.

Ultimately, whether you choose an accelerator or a bronzer depends on your personal preference and tanning goals. Both products can be effective in producing a beautiful, sun-kissed glow that enhances your natural beauty.

Precautions when using Accelerators and Bronzers

Accelerators and bronzers are popular products used in tanning beds to help achieve that golden glow. It’s important to use these products safely to avoid any negative side effects. Here are some precautions to take when using accelerators and bronzers:

  • Always read the label and follow instructions carefully.
  • Test the product on a small area of skin first to check for any allergic reactions or skin irritations.
  • Do not use on broken or damaged skin as this can lead to further irritation or infection.

It’s important to note that accelerators and bronzers do not provide protection from the sun’s harmful rays, so it’s still important to use sunscreen when tanning outdoors.

Here’s a comparison table of accelerators and bronzers to help differentiate between the two:

Accelerators Bronzers
Speeds up the tanning process Provides instant color
Designed to enhance your natural tan Provides an artificial tan
Contains amino acids to help the skin produce melanin Contains DHA (Dihydroxyacetone), which tints the skin brown temporarily

Remember to always use accelerators and bronzers safely to avoid any negative side effects and to achieve that perfect tan.

What’s the Difference Between Accelerator and Bronzer?

Q: What is an accelerator?
An accelerator is a tanning lotion that should be applied before heading out in the sun or tanning bed. It helps enhance the body’s natural production of melanin, darkening the skin faster and reducing the time required to develop a tan.

Q: What is a bronzer?
A bronzer is a type of tanning lotion that we apply directly onto the skin to achieve an instant temporary glow. It contains ingredients that darken the skin immediately or “fake tan” by means of dyes or pigments.

Q: What is the difference between accelerator and bronzer?
Accelerators promote the natural tanning process by boosting melanin production, while bronzers only create an artificial darkening of the skin. Accelerators are more suitable for tanners who want to achieve a deeper and longer-lasting tan naturally, while bronzers are great for maintaining or increasing color during the off-season or when you need some glamor without being outside for too long.

Q: Can accelerator and bronzer be used together?
Yes, you can use accelerator and bronzer together to achieve both a long-lasting and instant color. Apply accelerator first, and then bronzer on top of the skin to create a darker, more radiant complexion.

Q: What should I apply first, accelerator or bronzer?
It would be best if you applied accelerator first, as it will help your skin prepare for the tanning process by increasing melanin secretion. After that, you can apply a bronzer to get an instant, natural-looking tan.


We hope you have found this article helpful in distinguishing between accelerators and bronzers. Always make sure to read the instructions and follow them carefully when using these tanning lotions. Thank you for reading, and make sure to come back for more fantastic articles!