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Identity Profile: Erythrulose

Commonly known as: L-erythrulose, S-1,3,4-trihydroxybutan-2-one, L-glycero-tetrulose, glycerotetrulose, tetrulose, erythrulose.
I.N.C.I. list name: Erythrulose.
Extraction process: Aerobic fermentation of the Gluconobacter bacteria followed by several stages of purification (biotransformation).
Source: Sugar cane.
Botanical name: Poaceae.
Family: Saccharum officinarum.
Part of the plant extracted: Stems.
Provenance, origin: /
Chemical characteristics: Natural ketonic sugar (tetrose); Molar mass: 120.104 g/mol; Soluble in water; Insoluble in oil; Recommended pH: between 2.0 and 5.0; Density: 1.39 g/cm3.
Characteristics: True solution, emulsion, suspension.
Dosage required in cosmetic products: Found in concentrations between 1 and 5%.
Function: Tanning agent.
Properties: Self-tanning, moisturizing.
Benefits: All skin types.



  • Self-Tanner: Achieving a natural tan by forming high molecular weight, brown-colored polymers (melanoidins) on the skin through the conversion of erythrulose with the free primary or secondary amino groups of keratin (Maillard reaction) in the upper layers of the epidermis;

  • Moisturizer: Retaining water molecules in the epidermis to keep the skin hydrated and supple.


  • Facial and Body Care (serums/lotions/foams/self-tanning sprays, sunscreens, day creams, body lotions);

  • Makeups (foundations, CC creams).

Method of Preservation

Store in a dry place, protected from sunlight, heat, and humidity, and at a temperature between 36 and 46°F.

Contraindications, Usage Precautions

Erythrulose is considered safe for cosmetic use according to the literature.

Find out more

Erythrulose is a type of ketonic sugar naturally found in red fruits. In self-tanning cosmetic products, it is typically combined with DHA, another self-tanning agent, to mitigate the drawbacks of DHA, namely uneven and streaky tanning with an orange hue, as well as intense dryness. Moreover, the coloring reaction of erythrulose with the skin is slow and gentle, allowing for a more natural, long-lasting, and even tan, without streaks. As a reducing sugar, erythrulose also helps to keep the skin hydrated by retaining moisture.