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Bride Wars (2009)

The UK is facing a major fake tan shortage this winter

TextHannah Bertolino

Guess it will be a white Christmas, after all

Just in time for daylight savings, cosmetics producers have reported that a fake tan shortage may hit the UK this winter.

According to The Guardian, product manufacturers are experiencing a shortage of the chemical solvent ethoxydiglycol, used to improve the texture of skincare products and help them spread evenly on skin – especially in fake tanners.

The product is typically sourced from abroad, however, disruptions in the global supply chain have left producers and pharmacists unable to obtain the solvent. In particular, Stockport-based manufacturer Sunjunkie – which produces tanning products for its own brand and a number of high street retailers – has been struggling to source the ingredient.

The company’s director, Diane Hingam, first noticed the issues while trying to restock products after summer. “It’s a total nightmare,” she told The Guardian. “It’s a product that goes into a lot of things and you just don’t think that you’re suddenly not going to be able to obtain it anywhere.”

“You can just see the product line suddenly coming to a halt if we haven’t got these major ingredients,” she added, noting that her supplies might run out after Christmas.

UK online pharmacy Medicine Direct has looked into the issue, reporting that ethoxydiglycol’s price has increased from £12 to £103 per kilogram, and that people should prepare for product shortages “within weeks”. Besides, it explained that a lack of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers to transport the goods and the growth of the beauty industry in China could be the cause.

Hussain Abdeh, clinical director and superintendent pharmacist at Medicine Direct, stated: “Ethoxydiglycol is almost single handedly responsible for how cosmetics are applied to the skin. Without it, many cosmetic products as we know them would be unusable.”

“This problem can also cause serious problems for medical treatments, particularly for conditions like eczema, acne, and psoriasis. Without an effective solvent, topical treatments will be hindered in their absorption.” 

UK-based pharmacies Boots and Superdrug, however, have not raised any concerns about the supply chain – leaving it unclear whether they will be affected by the shortage. Get stocked up while you can, we guess.

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