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The most effective sunless tanning products are lotions and sprays that contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the active ingredient. DHA is colorless, but it interacts with the uppermost skin cells to change the color of those cells. As these skin cells naturally slough off, the tan created by the change fades, so you'll need to reapply self-tanning lotions every few days. Note that these tanning products will change the color of any skin they touch, so protect the palms of your hands and areas where skin is thicker – such as knees, elbows and ankles, to achieve an even and natural-looking tan. Refer to other tips on this page for more details on how to apply self-tanning lotions.