IEBS Insights: DHA-based Sunless Tanning Compositions

Growing concerns around skin cancer due to the exposure of UV-rays present in sunlight, have led to an increased demand for sunless tanning compositions. American Academy of Dermatology recommends the use of a sunless tanning composition for anyone who longs for a tan and recommends avoiding tanning beds and sun tanning owing to the potential risk of melanomas[1].

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is a triose saccharide, which when applied to the skin causes a chemical reaction with the amino acids present in dead skin cells to give a tanned texture without exposure to sunlight. The resultant tan lasts for about a week.

In this brief, we present a few findings on DHA-based sunless tanning compositions.

Technology & IP Insights

Based on the research conducted, it was found that the concentration of dihydroxyacetone used in the tanning compositions ranged from 0.025% to 40 % by weight. Further, besides DHA, other tanning agents that are being used in the compositions include melanin, mahakanni, methylglyoxal, erythrulose, alloxan, and 2,3-dihydroxysuccindialdehyde.

Figure 1: Pros & Cons of Sunless Tanning

Pros & Cons of Sunless Tanning

Figure 2: Types of DHA-based formulations

Types of DHA-based formulations

                                       Figure 3: Key Players in the domain

Key Players DHA based sunless tanning

Foamix Pharmaceuticals, Merck, Unilever and Procter & Gamble are the major players in the field of DHA-based sunless tanning compositions.

Dov Tamarkin, Meir Eini, Doron Friedman, Paul Robert Tanner and Joseph Oreste Carnali are the key inventors working in the domain.

It was found that Unilever’s patents claiming sunless tanning compositions contain adjuvants such as glycine, crosslinked cationic copolymer, and glucuronolactone. These adjuvants stabilize the composition, improve color intensity, avoid streaking of the developing tan, reduce the time to full maturation and provide deeper color intensity.

Conopco’s patents claiming sunless tanning compositions also contain adjuvants. These are 3-hydroxy-6-methyl-4-pyrone, and vicinal primary diamine and they impart brownish/tan coloration within a consumer acceptable time.

                                                             Figure 4: Geographical Distribution of Patents

Geographical Distribution of Patents

USA, Europe, Australia and Canada exhibit the most patent filling activity in the domain, with the number of American patents being way ahead of the others.

Market & Business Insights

Figure 5: Projected revenue (2012 to 2017) of the global self-tanning
product manufacturing industry (in million U.S. dollars)

Projected revenue (2012 to 2017) of the global self-tanning