After the Best Fake Tan Without DHA? 2 Great Alternatives

Last Updated: December 1, 2019

If you are anything like me, it is not an option to NOT wear fake tan. With naturally very fair skin, applying fake tan has become an essential part of my weekly beauty routine. For those who are looking for natural tanner or suffer allergic reactions to DHA, it can be really challenging to find fake tan without DHA.

The beauty market is slowly developing more and more natural fake tan alternatives and DHA free tanner options.

Commons Questions About DHA

What is DHA in Self Tanner?

A key component of many popular tanning products is Dihydroxyacetone (more commonly known as DHA).  

Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, is the most common active ingredient in self-tanners. It is a sugar molecule that comes from plants (like beet sugar or cane sugar) or is synthetically manufactured. It reacts with the amino acids on the top layer of your skin, largely made up of dead skin cells. The result of this chemical reaction is a darker skin pigment, giving you the allusion you have the perfect sun-kissed glow. It typically takes a few hours for this reaction on your skin to take place fully.

Is DHA in Self Tanners Bad for You?

While it is widely agreed that DHA has no negative effects on your health, for those with allergies to this ingredient or particularly sensitive skin, using most of the well-known tanning products won’t do. It is advised however, to always keep products that contain DHA well away from your lips and eyes.

Do All Self Tanners Have DHA?

Fake tans without DHA are few and far between. That’s why we have found two fantastic DHA-free alternatives for those who want to a faux glow… without breaking out into a rash or having to expose themselves to dangerous UV rays! 

Fake Tan Without DHA For Those With Sensitive Skin

Glow Oil by Chemistry Brand

Glow Oil by Chemistry Brand
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To say the least, it is not easy to find a fake tan product without this active ingredient. One however, that is 100% DHA-free is the Glow Oil by Chemistry Brand. 

A rarity in the market, this product is suitable for those who have an allergy or experience irritation from products that contain DHA. Rather than DHA, it contains a raspberry-based keto-sugar that develops into a golden gradual tan. 

It is not a tanning mousse or spray tan but rather a body oil that will gradually build up from continued applications. If you cringe at the thought of an oil (no one likes to walk around sticky all day!) , then you will be pleased to know that this is a fast-drying dry oil. The oil consistency provides instant radiance and skin nourishment in addition to a buildable tan.

The key features of Glow Oil are:

Aussie Bronze Vegan & DHA Free Instant Tan

Unlike the Glow Oil, Aussie Bronze Instant Tan gives you an immediate bronzed colour on application. There is no developing time, so you can pretty much apply and walk out the door.

Whether it can be considered a good or bad thing the product washes off in the shower. For those who prefer a tan with longer wear that will last for days, this may not be the best option for you. However, it could be a great option for a last minute quick tan for a special event or occasion.


There is a lot to be said about the features of this self-tanner. The formula truly contains no nasties and is perfect for those allergic to chemicals found in most fake tans or are simply opting for more natural products.

The key features of the Aussie Bronze Instant Tan are:

This is a fantastic fake tanning alternative for those who experience rashes or irritation from products that contain DHA.

For those with serious allergies and sensitivities to DHA and other ingredients, it is always recommended to do a patch test prior to applying a product. You never know how a certain product will react with your skin type.

You can check out some of my recommendations for fake tan products for sensitive skin here.