What is DHA in Tanning Lotion?



by Lydia


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DHA, or dihydro aminoglycoside, is a sugar that binds with amino acids in the top layer of the skin. DHA works with these amino acids to produce melanoidins, a pigment that gives your skin a bronze or brown tan. DHA is produced synthetically or naturally. It was approved for topical use by the FDA in 1977. It is generally considered to be nontoxic and safe for external use.

Physicochemical properties

DHA is a common ingredient in tanning lotions. It is derived primarily from sugar beets and sugar cane and is a hygroscopic, white crystalline powder with a characteristic odor. DHA is one of the simplest ketoses, exhibiting no optical activity or chiral center. It is soluble in water, ethanol, acetone, and toluene.

In 1957, German scientists recognized DHA as a skin coloring agent. DHA was then used in the X-ray process. However, it was discovered that spilled DHA turned skin surface brown. This discovery halted further research, however. In the following decades, the physicochemical properties of DHA in tanning lotions were better understood. As a result, further research has been done to improve the tanning process, increase its tolerance, and ensure uniformity.

One of the challenges facing the sunless tanning industry is the skin structure. It functions as a barrier and relies on DHA penetration to create a tanning response. However, the thickness and rate of desquamation vary across anatomical regions. Furthermore, interpersonal differences in skin pigmentation and composition complicate the process further. To overcome these challenges, the development of new DHA-based tanning lotions needs to address these issues.

The DHA pigment formation rate is remarkably similar in murine stratum corneum and PVA films. The differences are mainly due to the structures and composition of the two matrices. In the case of the stratum corneum, the structure of the stratum corneum confines water and hygroscopic free amino acids produced by proteolysis of filaggrin. This mechanism is referred to as the natural humic factor.

Skin tolerance

DHA is an ingredient found in tanning lotions. Its chemical structure combines two different hydroxy acids: hexadecyl and dihydroxyacetone. DHA can be absorbed by the skin without causing any adverse effects and is considered safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, despite its low toxicity level, some studies have shown that DHA can inhibit the formation of vitamin D from sunlight.

The use of DHA in tanning lotions is restricted because of the risk of skin cancer from the rays. Its use in cosmetics is also regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is responsible for regulating the composition of cosmetics. It is not permitted on lips or body surfaces covered with mucous membranes. Additionally, DHA is not allowed for use in cosmetics for the eye.

DHA is a component of self-tanning products, making them more susceptible to ultraviolet rays within 24 hours of application. The same is true for Amadori products, which are formed during the Maillard reaction and increase the number of free radicals in the skin after exposure to the sun. Aside from being a possible health risk, DHA can also cause an unpleasant odor.

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is a controversial ingredient in tanning lotions. The active ingredient is derived from glycerin and causes a chemical reaction with the amino acids in dead skin cells to produce a brown color. This color change is temporary, lasting about five to seven days. This ingredient is considered to be safe by the American Academy of Dermatology. However, it is still essential to remember that the best way to get a DHA-based tan is to exfoliate your skin the night before the application.


While DHA is safe for topical use, it should not be ingested or applied near mucus membranes. Exposure to this nutrient can cause oxidative stress, which attacks the cells and degrades collagen and elastin. As a result, the skin starts to show aging earlier than it would otherwise. Furthermore, DHA has been linked to genetic alterations, putting people at risk for skin cancer.

However, the safety of DHA in tanning lotion has been raised by medical experts. Some health professionals claim that DHA in self-tanners can increase the risk of developing the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and even cancer. Dermatologist Dr. Anita Cela, based in New York, says the ingredient should not reach the bloodstream, even if it penetrates the skin.

In 2011, a large chemical company developed a new formulation containing a low DHA concentration. The new formula also contained moisturizers, vitamins, botanicals, oils, and sunscreen agents. The new formulation is safer than its predecessors, according to MerckKGaA Germany. To make the safety of DHA more apparent, MerckKGaA Germany has released the results of a comprehensive study involving independent experts.

In addition to toxicity, DHA may also affect your baby's development. While the effects of spray tanning on a developing baby are unknown, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) has reported that DHA may be a mutagen that can break DNA strands and accelerate aging. It is also highly absorbable through the skin and is not recommended for pregnant women.

Approval for external application

Although DHA is approved for external application, it's not safe for ingestion or inhalation, so it's important to avoid contact with mucous membranes and the eyes. Tanning lotions sold in retail stores are approved for external application, but they should still be used with care to protect the eyes, lips, and mucous membranes. In addition, consumers should avoid direct contact with DHA while tanning and be sure to wear protective gear when in a spray tanning booth.

While the Food and Drug Administration approved DHA as safe for use in self-tanning lotions and foams for external application, there are still concerns about its safety. In addition, although DHA content in self-tanning lotions is low enough to reduce the chances of visible streaks, higher concentrations may irritate. Therefore, DHA-containing products in the EU will be restricted to only 10% DHA.

Consumers should be careful when using DHA-based sunless tanning products. The FDA recommends shielding the lips, eyes, and mucous membranes. It is also strongly discouraged from ingesting DHA-containing products. Sunscreens are regulated as a non-prescription drug, while sunless tanning products are regulated as cosmetics. Although DHA in sunless tanning lotions cannot offer protection against ultraviolet radiation, the FDA has approved DHA for external application. However, further studies are needed to acess the safety of DHA in non-cosmetic products.

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is the common active ingredient in sunless tanning lotions. It gives skin an even natural-looking tan and is approved for external application by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the FDA warns consumers that spray application of DHA on their skin should be made with caution because DHA can cause uneven "tans" if used in combination with sunscreen.

Health risks

DHA, a common ingredient in self-tanning lotion, is safe for human skin as long as it is applied as directed. There are no documented health risks from DHA, used in self-tanning products for decades. The largest concern is the spray environment, where DHA is likely to be absorbed through the eyes. Further, a peer-reviewed controlled study of the substance in an enclosed booth environment would be beneficial.

However, DHA is not known to be dangerous to human tissues and has been linked to several diseases and conditions, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In addition, studies have shown that DHA can also be absorbed into the bloodstream by inhalation, so you should avoid spraying tan salons if possible. However, DHA is not the only component of self-tanning lotions that threaten your health.

DHA is not considered a carcinogen, although it may aggravate respiratory conditions. But the effects of exposure to tanning lotions and sprays are uncertain. According to the National Toxicology Program, DHA may have mutagenic effects, causing DNA strand breaks. This might increase the risk of skin cancer, asthma, and other diseases. Therefore, it is best to avoid DHA when tanning in the presence of pregnant women.

The FDA approved DHA as a self-tanning ingredient in the 1970s and continued to use the substance until recently. Fortunately, there are safe alternatives to DHA in self-tanning lotions. In 2011, one large chemical company introduced a new formula with low DHA concentration and added vitamins, botanicals, and oils. Its use in self-tanning products has only increased as the public has become more aware of the risks.


Is DHA in tanning lotions safe?

There is no evidence that DHA in tanning lotions is unsafe. However, there is also no evidence that it is safe. DHA has not been tested for safety in pregnant women or children.

What does DHA do in tanning?

DHA, or dihydroxyacetone, is the active ingredient in most self-tanning products. It reacts with the amino acids in the skin to produce a brown color.

What are DHA bronzers?

DHA bronzers are a self-tanning product that uses a compound called dihydroxyacetone to create a dark tan. This compound reacts with the amino acids in the skin to produce a brownish color that resembles a natural tan. DHA bronzers are considered safe and are popular among people who want to get a quick, dark tan without spending time in the sun.

Does DHA cause skin damage?

There is some concern that DHA, a key ingredient in spray tans, may cause skin damage. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. DHA is FDA approved and has been safely used in cosmetics for years.

Why is DHA in tan harmful?

DHA is in tanning beds to help people achieve a darker skin color. However, it is also harmful. DHA can cause skin cancer and other skin problems.

Is there a self-tanner without DHA?

There are self-tanners without DHA on the market, but they typically don't work as well. DHA is a key ingredient in most self-tanners because it helps create the realistic, sun-kissed look that people want. If you're looking for a self-tanner that doesn't have DHA, your best bet is to go with a gradual tanner.

Image source: privatelabeltan.com


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