Best DHA Free Self Tanner – Self Tanning Products for Skin Sensitivities

By Tara | Updated: 20/05/2023

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.

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

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:

  • DHA Free
  • Alcohol-free
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty Free
  • Fast-absorbing
  • Suitable for sensitive skin



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 truely 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:

  • Vegan
  • DHA Free
  • GMO Free
  • Not Tested on Animals
  • Naturally Derived Fragrance

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.

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Tara Lusk is the founder and creator of Beauty Space
Tara Lusk is a Sydney-based beauty enthusiast and the founder of Beauty Space. She launched the blog in 2018 to showcase the best beauty and skincare brands emerging from Australia, while also providing insider tips and tricks for hair and skincare. With a focus on tried-and-true products, Tara puts the latest cult products to the test to separate hype from substance.


  1. I went to tanning salon and got a DHA product machine sprayed. Hives, rash, itching for over a week. Looking for a DHA and Gluten (wheat protein) – FREE self tanning product to use. Help?

  2. Eco tan does have DHA, after buying his exact one pictured here I found it on the label. Don’t trust what you read and check labels twice

  3. Hi Kimberley, thanks for commenting! I have that product listed as one of the best naturally derived DHA options, however, it was incorrectly described as being DHA-free as you have noted. I have since rectified this on the page. Thanks for visiting Beauty Space and apologies for the confusion there.


  4. I have a severe allergy to DHA in tanning products and have recently tried a USA product called Glimmer Goddess. They offer a DHA free self tan product than lasts days instead of washing off in your next shower. I have used it twice since purchasing it and am really excited with the results. No redness, no itching, a beautiful natural looking tan, I would be totally hooked but the shipping costs are the killer here. 🙁

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