As more research sheds light on the danger of indoor tanning beds, spray tans have become increasingly popular. Sunless tans have been characterized as the “safe” way to get a glowing, bronze complexion without a risk of developing melanoma. However, a recent investigation reveals that spray tans may pose other health risks.
Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, is the chemical in spray tan solutions that darkens the outer layer of skin. DHA is not a pigment; rather, it reacts with amino acids to darken skin tone. The chemical was approved over thirty years ago by the FDA for use in sunless tanning lotion. However, the agency recommends that DHA is not inhaled or ingested, as it may pose a lung cancer risk and DNA damage. Because of these recommendations, tanning salons are encouraged to offer customers goggles and masks during the tanning session, but the investigation found that salon employees rarely provide them.
Local city and state governments are responsible for tanning salons abiding by health codes, but few areas have enforceable regulations in place. As a result, most individuals who receive spray tans get DHA in their eyes, nose, and around the mouth.
Dr. Zimmet recommends only using cosmetic and pharmaceutical products that are approved by the FDA. If you choose to use a sunless tanner, skip the salon and buy a lotion with DHA instead. Additionally, you can avoid chemicals altogether and achieve a natural glow by eating foods high in beta carotene. For more information on keeping your skin healthy, you should contact Zimmet Vein and Dermatology today.