Are Spray Tans Safe? 2009-06-09 13:30:00

Are Spray Tans Safe?


Baking in the sun or on a tanning bed is bad news for your skin. Exposure to UV rays leads to wrinkles and more health-threatening conditions such as skin cancer. A UV-free alternative to give your skin that kissed by the sun glow is a spray tan. You stand in a booth as your skin is coated with a mist of sunless tanning solution. The active ingredient in most sunless tanning products is dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a chemical derived from glycerin. When applied to your body, the DHA reacts with the amino acids in the dead skin cells on the outer layers of your skin, temporarily producing a brown color that gradually fades within a week.

These products are generally considered safe alternatives to baking in the sun, and the FDA regards DHA as safe for your skin. That's because DHA isn't absorbed by your skin, and it has no known toxicity. You just need to make sure that DHA doesn't get on your lips, in your eyes or nose, or that it's not inhaled. Remember that a spray tan will darken your skin, but it in no way protects it when you're outdoors. So before heading out, be sure to apply sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Have you ever had a spray tan?

Source: Getty
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