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Sunless tanning products have come a long way from their initial debut on the cosmetic market in 1959.1,2 Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) remains the most effective and popular ingredient for providing a sunless tan, despite the numerous challenges the ingredient poses for the cosmetic formulator. Early sunless tanning products suffered from problems with unnatural, dark orange tones and uneven deposition of color. These issues led formulators to develop daily moisturizers that gradually provided a more natural color. Such products became so successful that consumer demand resulted in product shortages and caused eBay bidding wars.3
Other approaches to improving the artificial tanning process have included the use of amino acid derivatives and antioxidants in combination with DHA to accelerate the browning reaction, thus more closely replicating the tonality of a natural tan.4, 5 However, there are still challenges to formulating with DHA that must be overcome. Following is a review of those challenges—including formulation stability, malodor produced during the browning reaction, compatibility issues with sun protection ingredients, and the generation of free radical damage. In addition, the author suggests some solutions to these challenges.
This is only an excerpt of the full article that appeared in Cosmetics & Toiletries, but you can purchase the full-text version.