Medium shot of a woman with tanned skin and white marks around her eyes

What It IS: For many of us, the end of summer meant the end of any kind of golden glow from the great outdoors. Enter the spray tan: we love to keep bronzed well after the clouds have rolled in! Many tanning aficionados sing the praises of the fake n’ bake: no exposure to harmful UV rays, no tan lines, no burnt skin. But is it really a safer option? Possibly, but take a closer peek at one ingredient named dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the primary skin-darkening ingredient in a spray tan, and how it can effect your health.

Health Risk: DHA is released into the air with every pump of the airbrush, which means you’re inhaling its potentially toxic compounds. Once inside your body, DHA can cause DNA and mucous membrane damage – even cancer. Although none of the studies done on DHA have involved humans, DHA has been shown to jumble, mutate and mar the genes of multiple kinds of cells and organisms. The cosmetics industry’s jury is still out, but it’s always better to be aware and keep yourself informed.

How To Avoid It: There are a few great sunless tanners out there with naturally-derived DHA. Chocolate Sun is one of our faves using beet-sugar derived DHA. If you want to fore go any kind of glow-giving product altogether, here’s a fun fact: eating regular quantities of carotene-rich foods such as carrots, tomatoes, cantaloupe and leafy greens warm up your natural skin tone by delivering a hefty dose of the hue-friendly antioxidant straight into your skin cells. Bronzed beauty, coming right up!

Bottom banner image
From our friends


  1. Tired of being lily white I recently tried a sunless in home tan. I reacted badly to the DHA. desperately been looking for a safe product

    Judi Lewis | 08.19.2016 | Reply
  2. Can you source this?

Leave A Comment