The History of Airbrush Tanning, and the main ingredienat DHA.
The Story of DHA (Dihydroxyactone)
DHA was first used as an active ingredient during research on the treatment of diabetics, some of whom tolerated DHA better than glucose.
In 1957 the tanning properties of DHA were discovered in a children's hospital. DHA was administered orally as a treatment of a childhood glycogen storage disease. The doctor noticed that children that spit up some of the DHA mixture developed brown spots where the DHA splashed on the skin. The doctor experimented by rubbing the mixture on her own skin. She tanned as well. The first scientific papers on DHA were published in 1960. DHA's physicochemical properties, tanning mechanics and skin tolerance have been explored since these studies resulting in an improved method of application, a more natural looking and more uniform tan. Present day production of DHA still relies on fermentation, as it did in the late 1800's.
The Browning Action
When DHA is applied to the skin; a brown "tan" forms in about 2 to 3 hours. The tan continues to darken for approximately 6 hours. The result can be a quite pleasing dark tan. The tan is absolutely water-resistant and diminishes only as the dead cells of the stratum corneum flake off.