DHA (Dihydroxyacetone) This plant derived ingredient has been used as a skin safe tanning agent for over 50 years in professional and consumer sunless tanning products. The most common natural sources are Sugar cane. We use Ecocert Certified Organic DHA in our Airbrush Tanning Solutions and skincare product line.

DHA does not change one’s skin pigmentation level as a UV based “real tan” with protective melanin. Instead it will create the “tanned” appearance by way of the development of a brown skin coloring, of the dead cells on the skin surface layer. The dead skin cells actually change color, they are not painted or stained. This process is very similar to the one commonly seen when a cut apple is exposed to the air, and the visible fruit cells turn brown.

DHA action is limited to the upper dead layers of the skin and involve a harmless reaction between DHA and the natural skin surface proteins. DHA reacts with the amino acids and amino groups of the skin keratin forming brown colored compounds. The process takes place in the outer layers of the epidermis. There is much evidence to suggest that the process is similar to Maillard reaction, also known as “non-enzymatic browning”.

DHA is the active tanning agent in all of our Airbrush Tanning Solutions, and our body care extender lotion, Tan Therape’. The development of the brown or “tanned” color takes anywhere from 2 – 12 hours and the intensity is dependent on the formulation concentration of the DHA in the product. The higher the DHA percentage, the darker or more concentrated the color will be.