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FDA Guidelines for DHA

In the 1970's the USDA approved DHA & added it permanently to their list of approved cosmetic ingredients.

DHA is considered the most effective sun free tanning additive.

I use Jamaica Me Tan airbrush tanning solution which is made with Eco Certified DHA. It is gluten free & vegan.

Sunless tanning products contain DHA in concentrations ranging from 1% to 15%. The artificial tan takes 2 to 4 hours to begin appearing on the skin surface, and will continue to darken for 24 to 72 hours, depending on formulation type.

Once the darkening effect has occurred, the tan will not sweat off or wash away with soap or water. It will fade gradually over 3 to 10 days, in conjunction with the skin's normal exfoliation process. Exfoliation, prolonged water submersion, or heavy sweating can lighten the tan, as these all contribute to rapid dead skin cell exfoliation (the dead skin cells are the tinted portion of the sunless tan.)

DHA does not damage the skin, and is considered a safe skin coloring agent.

DHA-based sunless tanning has been recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation, American Academy of Dermatology Association, Canadian Dermatology Association and the American Medical Association

On July 1, 2003, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released information about dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the tanning ingredient in today’s sunless products. This statement came in the shadow of the booming sunless craze and after countless questions were raised about sunless booths and handheld sprayers.

Why Does The FDA Care About DHA?

According to the July statement, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), Section 721, authorizes the regulation of color additives, including their uses and restrictions. Specifically, these regulations are found in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR), beginning at Part 70. If a color additive is not permitted by regulation or is used in a way that does not comply with the specific regulation(s) authorizing its use, it is considered unsafe under the law.

DHA is listed in the regulations as a color additive for use in adding color to the human body. However, its use in cosmetics--including sunless tanning products--is restricted to external application (21 CFR 73.2150). According to the CFR, “externally applied” cosmetics are those “applied only to external parts of the body and not to the lips or any body surface covered by mucous membrane.” (21 CFR 70.3v)

In addition, no color additive may be used in cosmetics intended for use in the area of the eye unless the color additive is permitted specifically for such use (21 CFR 70.5a). The CFR defines “area of the eye”as follows: “the area enclosed within the circumference of the supra-orbital ridge, including the eyebrow, the skin below the eyebrow, the eyelids and the eyelashes, and conjunctival sac of the eye, the eyeball, and the soft areolar tissue that lies within the perimeter of the infra-orbital ridge.” (21 CFR 70.3s)The FDA’s cautious opinion on DHA most likely stems from relying on limited information found in the product’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) originating in 1973. From its original use as a topical substance, DHA was listed with three “risk numbers”: R36, R37 and R38.

R36 Irritating to eyes.

R37 Irritating to respiratory system. R38 Irritating to skin.

These risk numbers are based on pure forms of DHA with no other additives considered such as water and so on. To put this into perspective, the purist form of many cosmetic ingredients fall under the same risk numbers.

The FDA recommends you take the following protective measures while getting a sunless tan:

Use of Protective Undergarments

Use of Protective eyewear

Use of Protective Nose Filters

Use of Protective Lip Balm

These items are available from your technician