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The Damage of Sunless Tanning: Dihydroxyacetone (DHA)

The Damage of Sunless Tanning: Dihydroxyacetone (DHA)

Sunless tanning has famously been marketed as a healthy alternative to tanning induced by ultraviolet radiation. However, there is data to support that dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the active tanning agent in spray tans and self tanning lotions, may have adverse health effects.

There is no such thing as a healthy tan.

DHA causes a "Malliard reaction" when contacting proteins in the outer layer of the epidermis. During the Malliard reaction, sugars in DHA react with keratinocyte proteins causing oxidation of the sugar derivatives. This oxidation causes chain reactions, causing free radical injury to the skin.

DNA glycation is a process of reducing sugars that damage nucleic acids that create Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). AGEs are formed via the Maillard reaction caused by DHA.

Excessive amounts of AGES in body tissues or circulation can become pathogenic, causing oxidative stress and inflammation, which alter the structure and function of proteins. AGEs have been associated with the development of chronic degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and cardiovascular disease.

Aside from the damage our DNA takes on from DHA, there are other risks associated with spray tanning. The FDA has not approved the use of DHA products applied via aerosols because of exposure to areas such as eyes, lips, nose, mouth and mucous membranes. Some physicians have expressed concern about spray tan use increasing the risk of pulmonary diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and cancer.

Clearly, there are consequences that come with fake tanning, whether it comes as a lotion or an aerosol.

So what can we do?

Throw away the mindset that tanning is an ideal beauty standard, and start to see it for what it really is. It's an injury. It's damage that leads to premature aging.

Remember to always wear protective clothing, sunscreen, and get your skin checked regularly by a dermatologist. Your natural skin tone is beautiful, and your health should always be your first choice.

Bursting your Bubble With Love, 


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