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3 Tips to Minimize Spray Tan Risks
by Erin Abbey, Good Shepherd Hospital Public Affairs & Marketing Manager
In the dead of winter, we all begin to look a bit pasty and often have the desire to add a little color to our complexion. Since tanning beds are known to cause skin cancer, many looking for a sun kissed glow have turned to spray tanning.
Often found at hair salons or even stand alone tanning salons, a tanning mist is sprayed out of jets that move up and down your body to apply the spray.
Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the active chemical used in spray tans, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for external use but it is not approved as an all-over spray. The FDA states that “DHA should not be inhaled, ingested, or exposed to areas covered by mucous membranes including the lips, nose, and areas in and around the eye (from the top of the cheek to above the eyebrow) because the risks, if any, are unknown.”
With limited research and concerns from the FDA, experts are beginning to question the potential negative health outcomes from inhaling the tanning spray.
Dr. Tracy Quinn a Family Medicine physician at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington explains that with limited research, spray tanning could be more dangerous than currently known.
“When getting a spray tan, you inhale the chemicals that are absorbed in your lungs and carried into your blood stream,” said Dr. Quinn.
“While we don’t have research specifically about spray tanning, there is research showing the dangers of DHA which can cause DNA damage.”
If you want to continue to get spray tans despite the risks, here are three things to remember:
1. Wear nose clips or hold your breath while you’re being sprayed. Don’t allow the mist to get into your lungs.
2. Cover your eyes as best as possible.
3. Keep your lips sealed and wipe them with a cloth.
“As always with something new, I would suggest caution and limiting the number of spray tans you get until more is known about the long term effects of exposure and inhalation of DHA,” said Dr. Quinn. “I would strongly recommend pregnant women avoid spray tanning, particularly during the first trimester.”
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Illinois is a 169-bed acute care hospital with more than 700 physicians representing 50 medical specialties. It is part of Advocate Health Care, named one of the Top Ten hospital systems in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters. For the second consecutive year, Good Shepherd has been named one of the nations 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics. Advocate is a faith-based organization that exists to serve its communities.
For more about Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, visit advocatehealth.com/goodshep.
About the Author
She works on getting the word out about all the wonderful news and accomplishments at the hospital as well as community events and activities.
Erin recently relocated from Chicago to Palatine where she lives with her husband, two young daughters and her dog Kallie.
She enjoys exploring new restaurants, practicing yoga and pilates, reading as much as possible and attempting to keep up with all the news on social media.