Is spray tanning safe? Is spray tanning bad for you? It’s good to ask yourself these questions. After all, regular sun tanning and tanning beds have a ton of controversy surrounding them, so why is spray tanning any different? In this article we’re going to cover just that: is spray tanning safe?
The most natural way to achieve a tan is from direct sunlight. It is common to see public beaches and pools lined with sunbathers who lay out and bask in the sun’s rays for hours at a time wanting to get an even tan.
The sun’s rays, however, do pose a risk of sunburn and skin cancer if exposure is excessive.
While you can use sunscreen with SPF protection, sunglasses, and other forms of protection, it is still not advisable to be under direct sunlight for very long periods of time.
Ultraviolet rays can also be directly applied to the skin through machines known popularly as tanning beds. These pieces of equipment are controlled, timed and regulated ways to achieve a tanned glow, and are also quite convenient and allow the user to achieve the tan without having to sit under the sun for long.
However, the risk of damaging UV rays is also present, and too much reliance on tanning beds can also cause serious skin damage.
Spray tanning involves the application of solutions either through tanning booths, professional application, or do-it-yourself home procedures. DHA or dihydroxyacetone is the main component of spray tan products, and this chemical causes a reaction with skin cells that causes the change of color or tanning.
The use of spray tanning and artificial tanning products is considered the safer alternative to UV ray exposure because they can be better regulated and you are not risking UV exposure.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the external application of DHA-based spray tans, but recently there have been concerns raised over the popular spray tanning booths propping up everywhere, where the customer steps inside the booth and the tanning spray mist is applied to create a more even bronze. The concern comes from the possibility of ingesting the solution through breathing, the eyes, nose, and lips, the effects of which are not completely clear as of yet.
“These compounds, in some cells, could actually promote the development of cancers or malignancies,” says Dr. Rey Panettieri, a toxicologist and lung specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, on ABC News. “And if that’s the case then we need to be wary of them.”
As a precaution, consumers who frequent spray tan booths are advised to always wear eye goggles and nose plugs when inside the booth, as well as to avoid inhaling while the product is being sprayed. It is a good idea to ask the attendant or spa assistant first before entering the tanning booth; most establishments already provide nose plugs and goggles for protection, but ask beforehand just to be sure.