Skincare Ingredient Spotlight: DHA

What is it?

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is a common self-tanning agent used in products which have been formulated for sunless tanning products. When combined with the amino acids in the top layer of your skin, it causes a reaction helping to form melanoids, a brown compound which makes your skin a darker colour and gives you the look of a tan. 

This is known as Maillard reaction, which we usually associate with foods like seared steaks, fried dumplings, bread and toasted marshmallows where a reaction between amino acids and sugars give these foods that distinct browned flavour and colour (although this won’t happen to your skin!).

The change in colour on your skin should start 2 hours after application of our Naturally Glowing Self-Tan products but may take up to 6 hours to fully develop in the case of our Self-Tan Drops so try not to wash your skin during this time. Each person’s individual mixture of amino acids determines the tanning effect that DHA has on your skin.  

We are constantly regenerating new skin cells, which means that the tanning effect produced by the DHA will fade, as it does not penetrate further than the top layer of the skin (stratum corneum). You will also find that it will fade when you exfoliate, and when you wash your skin. Self-tanning should last around 5 days and can be topped up.

DHA can either be synthetically made or made using naturally derived DHA. DHA is a non-toxic substance, and can’t penetrate through the skin, and it is not absorbed into the body.


How does it help my skin?

When we sunbathe, the UV rays cause the skin to increase its production of melanin which is a protective pigment (which is what gives us our tan). However, a tan is a sign of skin cell damage, which accelerates skin ageing and can also increase our risk of developing skin cancer. By using a self-tanner we are able to still get that glowing look, without the impact from harmful UV rays.

Please remember to use SPF (with both UVA and UVB protection) when outside, self-tanners should not be used as a protection from UV rays!


What Lucy Bee product uses it?

Our Lucy Bee Self-Tan Drops and Self Tan Mousse both use a 100% natural DHA


Is it suitable for my skin type?

Tanning Drops

Our tanning drops are suitable for those with dry skin as you can mix them in with your favourite moisturiser.

For those with sensitive skin, our tanning drops contain no fragrances. They contain aloe vera, rose water, orange flower and coconut water, so are hydrating and soothing.

Self-Tan Mousse

Our self-tan mousse contains coconut water, which is enriched with essential nutrients to help nourish and hydrate your skin

It can be used on both face and body

Self-tanners are generally considered safe to use during pregnancy.

If you have a known allergy to DHA then self-tanning products are not suitable.

By having them as drops you are in control of your tan, and can add as many or as little as you want.


Shop our Self-Tan Products here.

Lucy Bee is a lifestyle brand selling food, skincare and soap products all completely free from palm oil and with minimal use of plastic. Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, organic, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and empowering people to make informed choices and select quality, natural products for their food and their skin

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