Everyone has heard about fake tans but few people really know how it actually works. The secret behind the substance is an ingredient called Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA for short. This substance has been used for years to give people that glowing, golden color. There’s a lot of science involved in making it work, so let’s take a closer look at the ingredient to see what’s actually happening when we put it on our skin.
How exactly does it work?
DHA is spread on the skin and starts working by reacting with both the air around us and the amino acids found on our skin. When it does this, it causes the affected epidermis (the skin’s topmost layer) to darken. There’s no need for any sun at all, which makes it easy to keep a golden sheen even in rainy or winter months. It’s very similar to what happens with apples that brown when they’ve been bitten and left out: the natural sugars contained within them cause the outer layer to darken. This is a very natural process that’s found all over the place in nature. In fact, DHA is often derived from plants like sugar cane and sugar beets, or straight from fermented glycerin.
Is it safe?
When you use DHA, it isn’t actually absorbed into your skin, as it only affects the topmost layer and nothing below it. It will naturally flake off as your skin begins to regenerate its cells, which is why the process can never been permanent. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it gives you more options to try. There are tons of different DHA-based tanning solutions available in a variety of colors, which gives you the freedom to match your tan based on the weather, your mood, or even your wardrobe.
DHA is often used in formulas that have a ton of other natural ingredients and as well, like hydrating Aloe Vera or cocoa butter. In addition to that, it’s also often combined with fragrant and alluring scents like patchouli or lemongrass, which is just something a sun tan doesn’t come with. The fact that it isn’t permanent makes it an easy to use alternative to absorbing sun rays, which is what has made it a popular choice ever since its first use back in the 1920s.