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October 1960

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA)A Keratin Coloring Agent

Arch Dermatol. 1960;82(4):501-503. doi:10.1001/archderm.1960.01580040019003

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA),* a degradation product of glucose, has recently created a great deal of interest in the cosmetic industry and among dermatologists because of its unique ability to "tan" the human skin. This preliminary report gives some of our experiences with it.

Background  Dihydroxyacetone (formula at bottom of page) is one of the primary intermediates in the metabolism of glycerol and carbohydrates in microorganisms as well as in higher plants and animals.In medical practice the chemical has been used in the treatment of diabetes (Rabinowitch, 1925), cyanide poisoning (Turner and Hulpieu, 1933), and in industry it has served as a tanning agent, wool preservative, and an intermediate for drugs and dyes.Relative to certain food problems, it has been noted (Danehy and Pigman, 1951) that combinations occur between amino groups of proteins or amino acids and the aldehyde of sugars and their degradation products, and that these initial

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