Register / Log In

Self-tanning cream safety

Allergic contact dermatitis may be under-reported


Are self-tanning creams safe?

Yes, self-tanning creams are safe, but perhaps an explanation is in order. There have been a very few reported cases of allergic contact dermatitis to self-tanning creams. I think the incidence is somewhat under-reported, however, as I see at least five cases of allergy every summer in North Carolina. The active agent in self-tanning creams is dihydroxyacetone (DHA) and there are no self-tanning creams that do not possess this potential allergen.

DHA is considered a nontoxic ingredient both for ingestion and topical application. The LD50 in rats is more than 16 grams per kilogram. The phosphate of DHA is actually one of the intermediates in the Kreb’s cycle, known as dihydroxyacetone monophosphate. 

Topically applied DHA has not been detected in the urine or serum of volunteers following topical application. The staining reaction that occurs with DHA is limited strictly to the stratum corneum and can be readily removed with tape stripping and exfoliation. Thus, self-tanning creams can be considered safe in those individuals who are not DHA-allergic.

More conundrums

The use of microsponges in dandruff shampoos

How do the topical products for eye puffiness work?

Why is retinol used in cellulite minimizing creams?

Leg ulcers are a common and difficult management problem for all dermatologists. Robert Kirsner, M.D., professor and vice chairman, dermatology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, director of the University of Miami Hospital Wound Center, elucidates the diagnosis and management of these challenging skin problems.

Before you can understand why many strategies and services are not appropriate for doctors, you must understand the dynamic of the “Average American,” for whom these products and services are designed.

Since the dawn of smoothened inhibitors, patients with locally advanced and metastatic basal cell carcinoma (BCC) now have a new and effective treatment alternative beyond the traditional and less optimal treatment approaches such as surgery and radiotherapy.

Hair disorders are an important concern, especially for African-American women, according to Amy McMichael, M.D., dermatology professor and chairwoman, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Perceived beauty goes beyond numeric values and divine proportions. In fact, beauty in the beholder’s eyes is a collage of geographic, ethnic and demographic influences, according to research published in the March issue of Journal of Craniofacial Surgery.