Essential DHA Tanning Information
What is DHA?
Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), also known as glycerone, is the active ingredient in the majority of spray tans and self-tanning products. Dihydroxyacetone is responsible for creating colour by interacting with the top layers of your skin. The reaction happens when the chemical comes in contact with naturally dead skin cells.
Because DHA tanning only affects the upper layers of your skin, known as the epidermis, colour develops and fades much faster than it does when you lay out in the sun. On the other hand, DHA tanning is a lot safer than traditional tanning because it only affects cells your body does not actually use. Fading can be prevented and reversed by applying DHA-based tanners on a regular basis.
Does DHA Tanning Have Any Risks?
Dihydroxyacetone has been recommended as a safe alternative to traditional tanning for decades, and there is no strong evidence that links it to any serious health risks as long as it is used topically. There has been some controversy with spray tanning, but it is mostly focused on what happens when DHA is accidentally absorbed into the bloodstream. While more research is needed, recent studies have shown that ingesting large amounts of DHA-based mist can lead to internal cell damage.
While that sounds a little intimidating, remember that spray tans are still considered to be completely safe as long as they stay on your skin. You can rule out potential side effects or complications from any type of self-tanning solution by taking precautions like covering your nose, mouth and eyes during the application. Your salon should have everything you need to spray tan safely, and you can do the same at home by following the directions on your tanner’s back label.
Another minor problem you need to watch out for is skin irritation. If you have sensitive skin, try lighter formulas with a small amount of dihydroxyacetone before you move on to darker tanners. Most people with sensitive skin have no issues with any DHA-based products, but you might want to do a test patch to stay on the safe side.
Tips for Choosing the Right DHA Level for Your Skin Tone
Too much DHA and your skin can end up dark or orange. Too little and your tanning session can turn out to be a complete waste. Using the simple DHA tanning guidelines below can help you find your perfect colour match in professional salons and on store shelves.
- Look at percentages. The greater the percentage of dihydroxyacetone, the darker your colour will be. Most spray tans and self-tanning lotions contain anywhere from 5 to 15 percent DHA. As a general rule, you want to pick a product with a smaller percentage if you have fair skin and a product with a larger percentage if your natural skin tone is medium or dark.
- Use premium products. High-end products are more likely to stay true to their colour description. Choose a brand that offers a wide selection of colours to find a shade that fits your skin. For example, the luxurious Mine Tan range is available in a variety of shades that are tailored to different skin types and tones.
- Decide between instant bronzer or clear gel. While most self-tanners share dihydroxyacetone as their active ingredient, some are tinted while others are clear. Choose a tinted solution when you want an instant colour boost.