The active ingredient most often used in all sunless tanners including tinted moisturizers, self-tanners, and spray tan solution is called Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA. DHA is a carbohydrate (monosaccharide sugar) compound approved by the FDA for use in externally applied sunless tanning solutions. For misting applications, the FDA recommends protective measures to prevent eye contact, inhalation or ingestion. DHA is often derived from a vegetable source like beets or sugar cane. The FDA added DHA to the list of approved colors for cosmetic products in the 1970s.
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