DHA Solution Strengths

All sunless tanning products are made using different % amounts of the active ingredient DHA.

Most grocery store products will have 1 to 5% maximum. Whereas professional grade products will range from 5% to 18%.

You will find that a number of companies do not disclose the % of DHA in their products or tanning solutions. Often because their products are made in only one level.

SunFX believes that a well educated technician that understands DHA levels and skin tones is in the best position to provide the correct level for each client.

Why different % DHA?

Different levels or % of DHA will create a different depth of color reaction. The higher the % of DHA the stronger and more color reaction the skin will receive. The lower the % the less of a reaction.

Simply put:

  1. The fairer the skin tone the lower the % DHA is required to produce a natural looking color result.
  2. The darker the natural skin tone the higher the % DHA is required to produce a color reaction.

Color Produced

We know that certain levels of DHA left on the skin for the 5 to 8 hours will produce certain tones. Roughly speaking, these are:

  • Light Tan – 5 to 9%
  • Mid Tan –  9.5 to 11.5%
  • Dark Tan –  12 to 15%
  • Xtra Dark/Comp Color – 15.5 to 18%

We say roughly speaking, as the client’s skin tone also plays a big part in the level of DHA needed.

What Levels to Use?

When deciding on the correct level of solution to use on a client you need to consider the following:

  • Skin type or tone
  • Desired color result

We need to consider these for 2 good reasons:

  1. If you apply too strong a product onto the skin you will overdose the stratum corneum. This results in an over absorption of DHA and you will get the dreaded orange tones that no one wants to see!
  2. The reverse happens if you don’t apply a solution strong enough for a darker skintone- they will only get a hint of color not the dark color they had anticipated.

To help make the decision easy for you SunFX makes its solution in 3 Levels. These levels allow you to choose the level that matches the skin tone. The expected color result is a natural, glowing tan. If the desired result is a darker color, you can move up a strength level. Moving up 2 levels isn’t advised for most people as the result may be too intense.

This table helps to visualize skin type and the suggested level.

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  • Light Summer – Popular for first time tanners, fair skin multiple application techniques
  • Mid Summer – A good one size fits all. Popular for those with some DHA-tanning experience
  • Dark Summer – Popular for experienced technicians, olive or dark tones & those wanting max color

What to watch out for?

Not every brand of solution % strength is going to be the same. This is due to a number of factors:

  • Supplier of  DHA
  • Date of manufacture and expiration date
  • Temperature the DHA has been stored
  • Type of DHA
  • Other ingredients in the solution that may affect the way DHA works

You  can trust that our solution is true to the advertized strength. We have purchased high grade DHA for the worlds largest European cosmetic ingredient manufacturer for  last 20 years. Our DHA is always in cold storage even during transportation as heat will decrease the effectiveness. We also manufacture batch lots that ensures you receive freshly made solution at its peak. We do not use third party sellers to avoid clients being sold old or short date products.

We always suggest that when using a new solution that you err on the side of caution and don’t go straight for the darkest levels. If in doubt,  use a mid level. I would much prefer the client feedback to be “I loved the color, but would have liked to have been a little darker” than having to manage someone unhappy that is too dark or orange from absorbing too much DHA. Not only a headache but you may have lost a client and one that will not be talking kindly of your service.