Why is Europe banning DHA in self tanners and spray tans?

If you are in the United States, you most likely haven't heard about this, but Europe is banning DHA over 10% in self tanners and spray tans. Now your next question, what is DHA? DHA is dihydroxyacetone, it is the active ingredient in any fake tan product that makes you tan. How DHA works is by reacting with amino acids in dead skin cells in the surface layer of the skin. 

Now that you have an understanding of DHA, why is Europe banning it? Well, they recently conducted a new study to see if DHA is harmful and they found it is if it is above 10%. Every fake tan product has a percentage of DHA in it, which determines how tan you will get or how soon you can shower. Any fake tanner above 10% will be a dark, ultra dark or a rapid/express solution. The fact that Europe is banning this is HUGE news, a lot of women like a very dark fake tan or like to rinse it off faster than an 8 hour solution and they can no longer have either one of those in Europe. Women on Tiktok were telling their followers to stock up even because they knew it was going off the market and fake tan brands were doing a buy one get one free sale to get rid of all that inventory they wouldn't be able to sell starting April 1, 2022. 

As I was doing my own research, I did find it was hard to find out exactly why they are banning self tanning and spray tans with anything above 10%. I even emailed the Europe Direct Contact Centre and they sent me a link to this article which I had a hard time finding the exact negative effects. I read online on other articles that it was first believed that DHA did not get in your bloodstream, but after further studies they found out that it did and can actually change your DNA. It also said, that it can cause cancer. I don't want to downplay this for you, but I also don't want to scare you with this information. I mean people are still smoking cigarettes when they are directly linked to lung cancer and everyday we are using products and eating foods that can also cause cancer.

My main reason for informing people about this is because it is news that is not making it to the US. I believe that everyone deservers to have all the facts to make the best decision for themselves they can. I am not here to shame someone for still using a rapid solution, I am here to inform so that you know everything you can know about fake tanning. 

Our Sunless Rae self tan mousse is a 9% DHA, and we will be the first fake tan brand to display that on the back of our self tan mousse bottles. It is not standard to put the percentage of DHA on any fake tan product, mostly because people don't understand what DHA is and/or it honestly didn't really matter until this research came out.

I hope to be a brand that always gives consumers the truth even when it could negatively effect potential sales. Sunless Rae products will also stay at the 10% DHA level that Europe has deemed safe, this means we will never have a rapid/express self tanner or a dark or ultra dark. This is unfortunate, but it is something I believe in, as we are a brand that promotes being non-toxic and organic based. 



  • Thank you so much for shared this. I’m in spain and this situation generates a lot of confusion.

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