Are Spray Tans Safe?


It’s now common knowledge that prolonged exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer, and with our need to always maintain that glowing, sun-kissed skin, there has been a growing need for suitable alternatives. One such alternative is spray tanning. Spray tanning, over the years, has become a rapid skin solution for many people across all age ranges who want to maintain that glowing, beautiful skin when the summer seasons are gone, and winter is upon us.

But are spray tans safe for us? Before you begin to get spray tanning products for your consumption, there are certain things you need to know about how safe these products are for your skin. This article will do justice to it!

How Do Spray Tans Work?

Some of the most effective spray tanning products contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA is a simple sugar that produces a chemical reaction when applied to the uppermost part of the skin, known as the stratum corneum. According to Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, a dermatologist, and author of Beyond Soap, this colorless sugar compound —i.e., DHA— usually interacts with the amino acids of the keratinocyte cells, producing a darkening effect on the skin. However, because these tans only work on the uppermost part of the skin, Dr. Sandy opines that these tans are generally considered safe. 

Dr. Patricia Malereich, MD, who is an Ohio-based physician, highlighted the fact that the result of the sugars in DHA coming into contact with the protein in the upper layers of the skin is a rusty brown protein that is tightly bounded to the top of the skin, which explains why tans are not so easy to wash off. 

This implies that it is not uncommon to notice a discoloration of your sheets a day or two after applying a self-tanner, as, according to Dr. Patricia, spray tans usually employ a temporary dye in their formulas. 

How Safe Are Spray Tans?

The active ingredient in spray tans, i.e., DHA, is a chemical approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, there is a restriction on the use of the ingredient. In other words, DHA, according to the FDA, should not be inhaled or applied to mucous membranes. According to Dr. Hadley King, it is possible that where the DHA is inhaled into the lungs, it can complicate certain medical conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Dr. Hadley further noted that the best step for those pregnant or nursing a child would be to stay away from spray tans, as the ingredients may lead to damaged DNA.

Finally, experts have advised that if you want a spray tan, you should ensure that your body’s mucus membranes are well protected. This will include wearing protective eyewear and even a mask. Also, remember not to try and inhale during the process.