Bytesize Science - How Sunless Tanner Works: Tan-In-A-Can Chemistry

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Summary: In our last episode, we learned that tanning can potentially lead to skin cancer or premature aging, so maybe you're weighing your other options. How about some of that tan-in-a-can that gives you all the bronzed results without the UV exposure? The secret of sunless tanner can be found in the active ingredient, a natural three-carbon sugar called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA. DHA's pigment altering effects were discovered in the mid 1950's by researcher Eva Wittgenstein. The browning is caused by the so-called Maillard reaction.