An Analysis of the Toxicity of Dihydroxyacetone in Spray Tanners when Exposed to Ultraviolet Radiation

Dylan Hematillake


Dihydroxyacetone, recognized as DHA, is a common additive used in spray tans responsible for providing pigmentation to the skin similar to a UV tan via the set of mechanisms known as the Maillard Reaction. When exposed to UV light, chemicals may experience reduced stability and form free radicals, reactive species commonly associated with toxicity. In order for spray tans to be considered safe by Health Canada, DHA should remain stable when irradiated by UV light. This report aims to determine whether DHA is capable of exhibiting signs of toxicity when exposed to UV light by assessing the literature examining DHA stability in the presence of UV light. While the evidence presented suggests a potential source of toxicity induced by UV-degraded DHA, further studies must be conducted to examine the correlation between the concentration of DHA and the concentration of free radicals and hydrogen peroxide formed. This may allow for a greater understanding of its toxicity to humans and improve consumer safety.

Dihydroxyacétone, reconnu comme le DHA, est un additive courant utilisé dans les autobronzants chargés de fournir de la pigmentation à la peau semblable à un bronzage UV via l’ensemble des mécanismes connus comme la réaction de Maillard. Lorsqu’ils sont exposés à la lumière UV, les produits chimiques peuvent éprouver la stabilité réduite et former des radicaux libres, des espèces réactives couramment associés à la toxicité. Pour que les bronzages UV soient considérés sûr par Santé Canada, le DHA devrait rester stable lorsqu’il est irradié par la lumière UV. Ce rapport a l’intention de déterminer si le DHA est capable de présenter des signes de toxicité quand exposé à la lumière UV en évaluant les études qui ont examiné la stabilité du DHA en présence de la lumière UV. Bien que de la preuve a été trouvé suggérant une source potentielle de la toxicité induite par la dégradation UV du DHA, d’autres études doivent être menées pour étudier la corrélation entre la concentration de DHA et la concentration des radicaux libres et le peroxyde d’hydrogène formé. Cela peut permettre une plus grande compréhension de sa toxicité au genre humain et d’améliorer la sécurité des consommateurs. 


Dihydroxyacetone; DHA; Tanning; Toxicity; Skin; DNA

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