top of page

Sunless Tanning Terms You Need To Know

Sunless Tan

The application of either a self-tan product, or spray tan to your body. When applied, DHA (the active ingredient in sunless tanning products) reacts with the proteins in the skin’s superficial layer to form a golden-brown color. Your skin begins to darken 2-8 hours after application and reaches its peak color within 24 hours. The color will gradually fade through natural exfoliation, just like a tan from the sun.


The active ingredient most often used in all sunless tanners including tinted moisturizers, self-tanners, and spray tan solution. DHA is a carbohydrate (monosaccharide sugar) compound approved by the FDA for use in externally applied sunless tanning solutions. For misting applications, the FDA recommends protective measures to prevent eye contact, inhalation or ingestion. DHA is often derived from a vegetable source like beets or sugar cane. The FDA added DHA to the list of approved colors for cosmetic products in the 1970s. Mystic Tan DHA ingredients are Eco-certified.

Professional Airbrush Artist/Salon

A private session with either a Certified Airbrush Artist or an Automated Spray Tan System that delivers a full-body spray tan, in under 6-8 minutes.

Self Tanner

A professional-quality self-tanner mousse, lotion or mist you can take home and apply when needed.


A temporary cosmetic color, which is especially great when you want a great tan right now. The cosmetic bronzer washes off in your first shower – just like a make-up foundation, however, the bronzer also delivers an extended tan that will last 5-7 days.

Gradual Tanner

For a self-tanner, it is often referred to as a Gradual Tanner and does not have a bronzer (temporary cosmetic color). It can also serve as a daily moisturizer and hydration needs, while building a little (extra) color, day by day. Maximum color intensity is reached in about one week.

Extended Tanner

A lotion mixed with a little DHA and body moisturizer that extends the color and life of a fresh sunless tan. You would start applying on Day 3 and recommended apply every other day thereafter.


To wash or rub your skin with a granular substance to remove dead cells from the epidermis, or top layer of skin. Everyone’s skin naturally sheds the epidermis, every week. We recommend exfoliating on dry skin before tanning to remove dying and dead skin cells to make the tan appear even and for an even fade.


Both Booster and Accelerator will balance your skin’s pH level so the tan will develop within 2-4 hours, AND will be darker and more even. Booster can be applied before any self-tan product.


FDA – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or USFDA) is a federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments that regulates products and product safety. The FDA considers sunless tanning products ‘Cosmetics’.

FDA Advisory

The FDA has approved DHA (primary tanning agent in sunless tanning products) for external application to the skin. For spray/misting applications, the FDA recommends protective measures to prevent eye contact, inhalation or ingestion. To ensure complete protection, the FDA suggests wearing protective eyewear, nose filters, ear plugs, lip balm, and undergarments. To read the complete FDA position on DHA, visit: https://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Products/ucm134064.htm

bottom of page