Is fake tan a cancer risk?

Spray tan anyone?


There are no winners in the quest for a golden tan. If there’s one thing we can learn from this story, it’s this.

Lying in the sun gives you cancer.

Lying in a tanning bed gives you cancer.

And now research suggests the act of being belted by a high pressure spray gun with a shade of golden brown might also be detrimental to your health.

That’s right, spray tans could give you cancer too.

Scientists have warned when main chemical used in spray tans – it’s called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA – cause tumors and damage DNA if it enters the lungs and is absorbed into the bloodstream. It could also cause medical conditions like asthma to become worse. Apparently, the chemicals are only supposed to be used externally – like in lotions – and are not approved for spray tans. So if they’re accidentally ingested? That’s a little scary.

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This according to ABC America:

The active chemical used in spray tans, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), has the potential to cause genetic alterations and DNA damage, according to a panel of medical experts who reviewed 10 of the most-current publicly available scientific studies on DHA for ABC News, including a federal report ABC News obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Six medical experts in areas ranging across the fields of dermatology, toxicology and pulmonary medicine said they “have concerns” after reviewing the literature and reports about DHA, the main chemical in the popular “spray-on” tan, which has conventionally been referred to as the “safe” alternative to tanning under ultraviolet lights.

None of the studies actually tested human subjects, but researchers are still concerned. And the FDA in America is recommending people wear “protective undergarments, nose filters, lip balm and protective eye wear while spray tanning to reduce the risk of the mist entering the body”.

I’ve only ever had the one spray tan – and when I emerged looking something like an Oompa Loompa I vowed ‘never again’.  But the thing is, I don’t remember wearing anything protective aside from that (very attractive) disposable g-string.

So what about you? Do you get spray tans? Does this information worry you?