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Dihydroxyacetone

* Also known as DHA * The primary active ingredient in sunless tanners * See TIA's article that explains Dihydroxyacetone

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is a simple carbohydrate that is primarily used as an ingredient in sunless tanning products. It is often derived from plant sources such as sugar beets and sugar cane, by the fermentation of glycerin. DHA is the only FDA approved sunless tanning ingredient and can be found in all sunless tanners. Products contain DHA in concentrations ranging from 1% to 15%, according to The New Zealand Dermatological Society. The artificial tan takes 2 to 4 hours to begin appearing on the skin surface, and will continue to darken for 24 to 72 hours, depending on formulation type.

* Also known as DHA

* The primary active ingredient in sunless tanners

* See TIA's article that explains Dihydroxyacetone

Functions:

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is a simple carbohydrate that is primarily used as an ingredient in sunless tanning products. It is often derived from plant sources such as sugar beets and sugar cane, by the fermentation of glycerin. DHA is the only FDA approved sunless tanning ingredient and can be found in all sunless tanners. Products contain DHA in concentrations ranging from 1% to 15%, according to The New Zealand Dermatological Society. The artificial tan takes 2 to 4 hours to begin appearing on the skin surface, and will continue to darken for 24 to 72 hours, depending on formulation type.

The most important thing to remember when using DHA self-tanners is that they do not protect your skin against the sun. If the product lists an SPF component, the UV protection provided is much more short-lived than the skin color change. The stated SPF for the product is only applicable for a few hours after application of the self-tanner. (See warnings below for more information on DHA and sun protection)

DHA causes a chemical reaction with amino acids in the surface cells of the skin producing a darkening effect, but does not damage skin as it only affects the outermost cells of the epidermis (Source).

Safety Measures/Side Effects:

According to a study at the Gematria Test Lab in Berlin, 24 hours after self-tanner is applied, the skin is especially susceptible to free-radical damage from sunlight. Forty minutes after the researchers treated skin samples with DHA they found that more than 180 percent additional free radicals formed during sun exposure compared with untreated skin. For a day after self-tanner application, excessive sun exposure should be avoided and sunscreen should be worn outdoors; an antioxidant cream could also minimize free radical production.

Recommended Products w/ Dihydroxyacetone (DHA):

Aviva Organics Sunless Tanning Trio, Xen-Tan Transform Gradual Self-Tan, Neutrogena Micromist Tanning Sunless Spray
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