What is DHA?

What is DHA?


Imagine having a cream you could apply regularly that nourished your skin, was free of nasty ingredients, and that would have you waking up looking like a tanned, golden goddess. Or better yet, a lightweight mousse or spray that would make the world think you just got off a plane from Bali where you spent the last month basking in the sun and chilling in downward dog poses all day long. In case you didn’t already know, these heavenly products do exist, babe. And when you stop to think about it, it is pretty magical that a product can do so much – all without the harmful effects of the sun. Truthfully, this is largely due to one interesting and somewhat controversial ingredient called DHA. So what exactly is DHA? Well babe, let us fill you in on everything you ever wanted to know about self tanning’s most mysterious ingredient.

Simply put, DHA is…

Dihydroxyacetone (also known as DHA) is an active ingredient derived by the fermentation of glycerol that is used in most self tanners to get you dark. We must admit that the way this ingredient works is definitely interesting. When applied, DHA reacts with dead cells in the surface layer of your skin and temporarily darkens it. As you probably already know, this usually wears off in a few days. At which point, you’re left wanting to self tan again (totally normal and understandable, we get it!). This is because your skin naturally sheds within 1-2 weeks, meaning your tan will naturally fade as well.

Hands holding beauty by earth's self tanning line around one woman

The downsides of this mysterious ingredient…

If the description above has you thinking that DHA is this fabulous little scientific beauty experiment you can have at home (along with the reward of a deep, dark tan), think again, babe.

As intriguing as this ingredient may sound, there are indeed some negative downsides to it. Even though the FDA hasn’t flagged the topical application of DHA as harmful, sensitive babes can attest that this isn’t always the case. And, if you tend to have dry skin, DHA can be irritating to it. On top of all of that, inhaling DHA can cause serious harm to your respiratory system and increase risks for asthma. In fact, some research has even shown that this ingredient could increase your risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). All and all, we think we’d like to pass on all of that. And, we’re sure you would too.

The not so cute side effects some DHA can leave behind…

You’ve likely heard this one before. Many babes who know about traditional DHA associate it with orange palms and oompa loompa-like tanning results. And honestly, we can’t blame them for it. Finding a product with the right self tanning formula is no easy feat, and orange results are definitely a reality in some cases. But before you go writing off self tanner altogether or thinking you have no choice but to bake out in the sun to look glowing, hear us out, babe. We’re going to give you all of the insight you need on how to work around this not so stellar ingredient.

Suffice it to say, there is a better alternative to traditional DHA that you can be sure won’t bother your precious skin or be harmful to your overall health. So now that we’ve answered that burning “what on earth is DHA?!” question, we’re ready to teach you a little more on this way popular topic. Because c’mon babe, we wouldn’t bring you a beauty conundrum without a beautiful solution.

The natural alternative to traditional DHA that will make you glow instead of cringe…

Babe, by now, you know us. When we find a nasty beauty gap, we like to fill it! With a safer, and more natural alternative (duh!). There is no denying how amazing a little self tanner can make you look and feel, so we had to create one (well actually, *a few*) that would be safe for sensitive babes, that would nourish and protect skin, oh and that would deliver Fiji beach worthy results.

beauty by earth's self tanning lotion and kabuki body blending brush

So here’s what we did. If you check out our ingredient lists, you’ll notice that our self tanners contain “sugar beet derived DHA”. What you won’t notice, are parabens, sulfates, fillers, or any other nasty junk you wouldn’t want to touch with a 10-foot pole. At this point, you’re probably wondering what is sugar beet derived DHA, and how is it different from regular old DHA?

Here’s the lowdown. Sugar beet derived DHA is widely considered non-toxic when applied to the skin yet will give you just as good a glow as the other stuff. We should also mention that self tanners that are made with this more natural version of DHA often come with a slew of other beneficial ingredients for your skin. Think moisturizing jojoba oil, coconut oil, and even aloe vera. What’s more, a *huge* bonus that comes with using the sugar beet version of DHA is that you’ll avoid smelling umm… not so cute after applying your self tanner. Any babe who has tried self tanning at home knows what we’re talking about here. And out of all of the self tanner problems out there, smelling like nasty ingredients has to be one of the worst.

But babe, you know we’ve got the solution for that. Check out the self tanners below that you’ll want in your life, pronto.

BBE’s lineup of self tanners has the DHA you want in your life.

Images of several types of beauty by earth tanning products on a pink background

If learning about the more natural version of DHA has you ready to bust out your self tanning mitt and go to town – we love that! Plus, you already know that we are obviously here for stepping your glow game up. You know, with our stellar lineup of self tanners that will make you ditch your old products and that will always leave your skin feeling (and smelling) like a dream.

Want to nourish the heck outta your skin and wake up looking like a glowing goddess?

Your wish is our command, gorgeous. We recommend none other than our original self tanner lotion formula. This gem is loaded with moisturizing coconut oil, acne fighting witch hazel, and calming aloe vera amongst a slew of other standout ingredients.

Image of a woman holding her beauty by earth self tanning lotion

This self tanner won’t just give you a natural looking glow. It is a serious body moisturizer that will nourish your skin. And, that of course contains some of that glorious sugar beet derived DHA. Trust us babe, this is the self tanning lotion that rookies can use and that pros always have on hand.

Prefer to spritz your way to that luscious tan, instead? We’ve got you, babe.

Remember how we talked about how terrible regular DHA can make your self tanner smell? Not to mention, how long it lingers on your skin afterwards? Well, you already know that we couldn’t get behind that. And with this next gem, we seriously broke the mold.

Beauty by earth Self tanning water bronzing face mist

This *super* easy to apply mist smells like a peppermint citrus paradise. Plus, this BBE custom formula is filled with natural, plant-based ingredients like aloe vera, green tea, and cucumber extract. Let’s just say, the glowing results you’ll get 4-6 hours later are just an added bonus to the nourishment you’ll be giving that beautiful skin of yours with every spritz.

The options don’t end there, gorgeous. Nope. We’ve got a lot more where that came from.

Alright, in case you couldn’t already tell, it’s obvious that we love creating self tanners you can obsess over along with the help of sugar beet derived DHA. And our self tanning mousse? Well babe, it is just another glowing display of that.

2 bottles of beauty by earth self tanning mousse on a pink background

If you want a self tanner that blends seamlessly and that feels light as a feather on your skin, look no further. As with the rest of our beloved self tanning products, we didn’t skimp on creating an ingredient list that will make your heart sing. We packed this mousse with vanilla and grapeseed extract that don’t just smell divine. More importantly, these guys also help to keep your skin young and beautiful while they’re at it.

When it comes to the precious skin on your face, BBE’s got exactly what you need.

When it comes to self tanning that cute face, we know that so many babes choose to reach for the same self tanner they use on their bodies. And while this isn’t exactly problematic, there is a better alternative.

BBE’s face self tanner was formulated with the same amazing ingredients as our version for your body. However, our facial formula is much lighter weight. What does that mean? Well, it means you can sleep easy knowing your self tanner won’t clog your pores, or cause breakouts. Oh and, you won’t have to stress about waking up screaming when you see yourself in the mirror. Because seriously, who has time for that when their main morning priority is getting that first latte in their system. Not you babe, no way.

image of a girl holding beauty by earth's face self tanner which contains naturally derived DHA

Want to learn more about the differences between our regular self tanner and our face self tanner? Got you covered, girlfriend. Just click here.

There you have it, sis. You’re now an all-knowing DHA pro.

So the next time someone asks “what is DHA?”, you’ll be well equipped to answer. Because let’s be real, beauty junkies everywhere have asked themselves that question at some point or another. And if you want to know even more about how to get the perfect self tan at home? Babe, we have a ton of more info where this blog post came from. From contouring with self tanner to how to curate the perfect glowing routine, BBE seriously has you covered.

Now go on babe, get your glow on. You know, with some of that fabulous sugar beet derived DHA your skin will love.

Natural beauty fans & glowing tans,

Carey <3

join the conversation

Angie Richey on

Will it darken age spots like other self tanners. They become very apparent !😔

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