Definition of dihydroxyacetone in English:



mass nounChemistry
  • A synthetic compound with strong reducing properties, used in lotions for colouring the skin in sunlight.

    Chemical formula: (CH₂OH)CO

    • ‘Researchers have found that dihydroxyacetone, a colorless sugar, interacts with dead cells located in the upper layer of the epidermis to produce a harmless color change that lasts about a week.’
    • ‘Artificial tanning products use chemicals such as dihydroxyacetone that react with proteins in the skin to create a brown color.’
    • ‘Recently it has been proposed to use dihydroxyacetone as a fluorescent marker for these events.’
    • ‘Some beauty salons have recorded a 20% increase in sales of the treatment, which uses the colour additive dihydroxyacetone.’
    • ‘All self-tanners contain a chemical called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, which temporarily stains (within about an hour) the uppermost layer of your skin, called the stratum corneum.’


Late 19th century: from dihydroxy- (in the sense ‘containing two hydroxyl groups in the molecule’) + acetone.