What is DHA?
The sunless tanner Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is currently the most popular way of gaining a tan-like appearance without sun exposure as it carries less health risks than any of the other available methods.
All effective sunless tanners contain DHA. It is a colorless 3-carbon sugar that when applied to the skin causes a chemical reaction with amino acids in the surface cells of the skin producing a darkening effect DHA does not damage skin as it only affects the outermost cells of the skin
DHA has been approved for cosmetic use by the FDA, the Canadian Health Ministry, and most of the EU member nations.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the most effective sunless tanning products contain DHA as the active ingredient. DHA is a colorless chemical (it is derived from glycerin) that interacts with the amino acids in dead skin cells to produce a brown color change. Since these dead skin cells are constantly being shed, the color change produced by DHA usually lasts about five to seven days
DHA is not absorbed through the skin and it has no known toxicity. DHA was first discovered by the Germans in the late 1920's when DHA spilled on the skin produced a brown color. DHA has been listed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1973, and has been used in cosmetic preparations for almost 30 years.
Are there any restrictions about the use of DHA?
Yes, the use of DHA in cosmetics, including sunless "tanning" products, is restricted to EXTERNAL application only. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, "externally applied" cosmetics are those "applied only to external parts of the body and not to the lips or any body surface covered by mucus membrane . In addition, no color additive may be used in cosmetics intended for the area of the eye unless the color additive is permitted for that specific use.
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