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DHA 101

by Susie Hatton |

New to sunless tanning products? Frequent user but here to learn more? Heard of the popular tanning ingredient DHA but not sure what it does? You're in the right place to get answers! I'm Susie Hatton, founder of Chocolate Sun, and I'm here to answer some popular questions about our sunless tanning products.


Q: What is DHA and where is it derived from?

DHA is short for Dihydroxyacetone- also known as glycerone, a colorless simple saccharide derived from plant sources such as sugar beets or sugar cane, used in sunless tanning products. It naturally reacts with the skin's amino acids to produce a brownish, tanned appearance. At Chocolate Sun, one of the first natural and organic sunless tanners on the market, we use naturally derived and Eco-Certified DHA that comes from Sugar Beets.


Q: Is there a % of DHA in a tanning product that helps it perform better than others?

The amount of DHA used in our formula varies based on which product you purchase.  Naturally, the darker formulas have a higher % of DHA.  Higher %'s of DHA do not necessarily assist the product in performing better. The key to our products performing so naturally and beautifully is based on the skin perfecting ingredients we choose.  First and foremost, we create our products to be correcting, protecting and hydrating.  Our formulas include natural flowers and herbs with clean and natural properties that address the integrity of the skin and the health of the skin.  As a bonus, the botanicals chosen for our formulas also have natural sunscreen properties, anti aging properties and are extremely hydrating.  The result? A beautiful, natural-looking tan that also fades evenly.

Q: What makes the Chocolate Sun DHA different than others?

Our DHA is not a chemical made in a laboratory. It is derived from a natural source, sugar beets, and it is Eco-Certified.

Q: What is the chocolate Sun difference?

We formulate all of our products in small batches.  Hand-crafted to perfection, using only naturally derived, wildcrafted or organic ingredients. Our products are meant to be a treatment for your skin first and the skin color enhancing is the added benefit!

Q: Are there other performing ingredients in the Chocolate Sun tanning products?


We use ingredients like green tea, shea butter and aloe vera. You can feel confident our formulas contain no harsh chemicals, with only natural ingredients that gradually enhance your skin for a beautiful tan. (no fake orange tan here!)

Q: Is the DHA stronger in the Tanning Cream vs. Tanning Mist vs. Tanning Gel? Or equal?

The % of DHA is the same for all the Enhance (light formulas), Glow (medium formulas) and  Absolute (dark formulas) of the Tanning Creams and atomizers (Mists).  However, the Tanning Creams, due to their application process of physically rubbing in the product, tend to provide a deeper result. The creams are extremely hydrating because of their base ingredients and herbs, so naturally skin absorbs this formula better.

The H20 Tanning Mists are most similar to our professional "spray Tan"- we refer to them as "Pro On-The-Go". They are wonderful for a full-body, fast-drying sunless tan. They can be used as a fine tuning, finishing spray for face, hands and feet. We love to use the atomizer mist at the end of the cream sunless application, misting over the tops of hands and feet. 

The ILLUMINATE Tanning Gel is lead with a healthy dose of Aloe Vera.  We love this formula for those of you who want a quick-drying formula that feels super light on the skin, but still very hydrating.  Also ideal for acne-prone skin, it comes in a medium to dark shade only.

Q: Will DHA stain my sheets or clothes?

Although the bronzer in the Tanning Mists and the micas (give the formula a shimmer appearance) in the ILLUMINATE Tanning Gel may rub off on the interior of your clothes, it will wash out of most materials.

When we perspire or during a hectic day, a workout session and even while sleeping, sometimes this can cause your skin cells to turnover (exfoliate)  at an expedited pace. The surface skin cells (dead as they may be) darken from the DHA gradually during the tanning process. It is the "tanned" skin cells that also may appear as tanning product rubbing off onto your clothes or sheets.  Rest assured, our formula dos not contain any synthetic dyes and washes out of most materials.

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