The use of DHA as a color additive for cosmetic application to the skin has long been approved by the FDA. It has been sold in bottled self-tanning lotions for over 30 years,
and is also the active tanning ingredient in Mystic Tan® tanning solution.
During the FDA’s original approval process, in the 1970′s, their study of DHA was for application in the form of a lotion or cream, which would be spread by hand. As a result, the FDA has not studied the effects of DHA in the area of the eyes or nasal passages.
When applying DHA sunless products as a spray or mist it may be difficult to avoid exposure of areas for which the FDA has not tested, including the area of the eyes,
lips, nasal passages, or even internally. Consequently, the FDA recently issued a recommendation that the following precautions be utilized where DHA sunless
products are applied by spraying or misting:
- Cover The Area of The Eyes
- Protect The Lips & Nasal Passages
- Avoid Inhalation or Ingestion of The Product
The following information will explain the research and testing conducted by Mystic Tan to ensure the safety of its tanning solution. It will also outline the protective measures customers can use to follow the FDA recommendations.
What is DHA and how safe is it?
DHA is dihydroxyacetone, a carbohydrate (monosaccharide sugar) compound approved by the FDA for use in externally applied sunless tanning solutions. DHA is usually derived from a vegetable source like beets or sugar cane. Its properties as a skin darkener were discovered in the 1920′s but weren’t marketed as such until the 1960′s when Coppertone® introduced Quick Tan®. It was added to the FDA’s list of approved cosmetic ingredients in the 1970′s. DHA is the tanning ingredient used in the Mystic Tan tanning solution that has produced more than 2 million sunless tans with no documented reports of adverse effects.
With the FDA clarification, is dha still approved for tanning in a spray sunless tanning booth?
Absolutely. Since DHA is approved as an externally applied color additive for sunless tanning, using the simple measures recommended by the FDA prevent it from being applied to any unapproved areas.
Is Mystic Tan Tanning solution safe around the eyes, and is there an easy way to further protect them?
Yes. Mystic Tan tanning solution has been thoroughly tested by a third-party lab and the results showed no eye or skin irritation. Mystic Tan tanning solution has been used in over 2 million tanning sessions with no reported adverse effects. Complying with the recommendations is as simple as wearing some type of eye cover.
Is Mystic Tan Tanning solution safe on the lips and nasal passages, and is there an easy way to further protect them?
Yes. We have no adverse reactions reported on these areas or any others. A simple way to comply with the recommendations is to apply a protective coating of lip balm, Vaseline®, or similar product to the lips. The nasal passages can be protected with an easy-to-use nose filter.
How safe is it to ingest Mystic Tan tanning solution and how can I comply with the recommendation to prevent this from occurring?
While no one should purposely swallow Mystic Tan tanning solution, DHA is a non-hazardous compound and causes no adverse reaction in the quantities found in Mystic Tan tanning solution. DHA has been used as a diet supplement in sports nutrition and it is non-carcinogenic. Testing has further shown that DHA is less toxic than aspirin, caffeine, and even common table salt. Based on research, the maximum amount of DHA that could accidentally be ingested or breathed during a one minute Mystic Tan sunless tanning
session would be .05 milligrams (equivalent to less than one grain of common table salt). The easiest way to comply with the recommendations is to keep your mouth closed during the tanning session.
How safe is it to inhale Mystic Tan tanning solution and how can I comply with the FDA recommendation to prevent this from occurring?
DHA has a health risk rating of “0-Minimal” and is not considered a toxic material. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established “Permissible Exposure Limits” (PEL) ratings that represent the allowable airborne concentration of a toxic material to which an employee can be exposed during an 8-hour shift without personal respirators. Basically, it represents the safe level of a known toxic material.
For example, a toxic material with a health risk rating of “2-Moderate” and a PEL of 5 means that OSHA has established that it is safe for employees to work an 8-hour shift – the equivalent of almost 500 Mystic Tan tanning sessions – in an environment that has up to 5 parts per million (ppm) of that material in the air. The maximum DHA concentration (ppm) during an average Mystic Tan tanning session is only 3.2 ppm for a total exposure time of one minute. To easily comply with the recommendations, simply use a nose filter during the tanning session.
Will makers of sunless tanning solution seek approval for using DHA as a color additive in misting applications?
The sunless tanning solution manufacturers will continue to do the testing and research necessary to earn a broader approval from the FDA, but the process is a long and expensive one. It took more than ten years from the time Coppertone Tan® began selling its DHA sunless tanner, Quick Tan®, in the 1960′s, until the FDA approved DHA as a color additive. In the meantime, you, as a consumer, should consider using the protective measures recommended by the FDA.