Self-tanners: Are they safe?

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Sunless tanning products, also called self-tanners, can give your skin a tanned look without exposing you to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. The active ingredient in most sunless tanners is a color additive called dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA reacts with dead cells in the outermost layer of skin to temporarily darken your skin's appearance. The coloring doesn't wash off, but it gradually fades as the dead skin cells slough off, usually within a few days. Caution: Most self-tanners don't contain sunscreen, so sunscreen is essential when outdoors.

July 11, 2020 See more In-depth