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Biddiscombe Sunless

Fact or Fiction: Organic DHA and Organic Spray Tan Solutions

Posted by John Melville on

We were asked by KV in the Biddiscombe Sunless Facebook page to post on “organic” sunless tanning and were happy to do so. The claims of organic within the sunless spray tanning industry are everywhere and virtually all are quite misleading. 


Biddiscombe is uniquely qualified to comment on this. In addition to being one of the oldest manufacturers of sunless tanning products in the USA, we ar e an organic manufacturer certified under both our USDA organic program and Europe’s Ecocert standard. I don’t think anyone else in the tanning industry has that level of connection with certified organic formulating.

Ecocert DHA

Addressing organic dihydroxyacetone (organic DHA), this does not exist and any claim by a solution manufacturer that it is using certified organic DHA is untrue. Some major manufacturers’ state that they only use Ecocert certified organic DHA. Sunless professionals should ask these guys for substantiation of their organic claims but don't be surprised with the answer.

We spoke with the key Ecocert representative here in the USA.
He confirmed the following:

- Ecocert does not certify individual ingredients like DHA. They certify only finished products such as a tanning solution, lotion or other personal care products.
- Ecocert has approved DHA made by a few companies for use in a finished product that is certified by them as “Natural” or “Natural and Organic”. This means that if the formula meets the stringent requirements of Ecocert on natural and organic content, DHA may be used. We are aware of only one Ecocert certified sunless tanning solution in the world.

Organic Sunless Tanning Solutions

Firstly there is no law in the USA that controls the use of the word organic for cosmetic products and as a result, it is a little wild west as far as organic claims are concerned.

To actually get a sunless product certified as organic, the requirements under a particular organic standard must be met. These are complicated and vary from country to country but some principles generally apply for us in sunless:
1. DHA while being from natural sources is not organic and will not count towards the organic percentage.
2. Use of synthetics is tightly controlled and for the most part prohibited even in minuscule amounts. For instance FD&C colors are not allowed in certified organic products nor are synthetic preservatives and fragrance.

Quick Rules of Thumb

- Ecocert certified organic DHA does not exist and any claim of this is false.
- If a solution supplier claims an organic sunless product but does not state who has certified the product, it is likely not organic. Labels of organic products must state the name of the certifier.
- If a solution contains FD&C colors or Fragrance on the ingredient list, it is not organic.

Biddiscombe Sunless on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/biddiscombesunless