Most people would like to be tan year round and who really enjoys laying out in the sun for hours and hours on end? Within the last 20 years, we have learned about the damaging effects the sun can have on our skin. Sure laying out for 15-20 minutes usually won't cause too many problems especially to those who lack Vitamin D. Spray tanning or sunless tanning provides a perfect glow without the damaging effects but how does it work? How does spraying sugar make me tan?
- Let me give you a little background on the discovery of DHA.
DHA was discovered by accident in the mid 1950's in a children's hospital at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Eva Wittgenstein was testing large doses of DHA on children who had glycogen storage disease. The dosage of DHA was dripping onto the children's skin and creating brown spots all over their skin. Dr. Eva decided to try it on her own skin and from there DHA was discovered and used in self tanners and other tanning products.
Airbrush tanning is the application of self-tanners through a spray gun or HVLP (high volume, low pressure) system. Self-tanning spray includes DHA (Dihydroxyacetone), which is a colorless sugar that makes the magic happen in the self-tanning process. DHA color is derived from the sugar-cane plant and is FDA approved for cosmetic purposes since 1973.
- How does DHA turn the skin brown?
DHA reacts with skin proteins, including amino acids, in the outermost layer of skin. The reaction develops brown skin coloring that looks very similar to a natural tan. The tan fades as the dead layers of skin slough off, just as in normal tanning.
Some sunless products contain an immediate cosmetic bronzer which shows an immediate tan after being sprayed. This color is not permanent and will wash off with the first shower. However, after the shower you will see a different tan which was developed by the self tanning solution (approximately 6 - 10 hours later depending on the solution being used).
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