The Potential Spray Tan Side Effects

Getting a spray tan is becoming a popular alternative to a trip to the tanning beds. There is strong evidence showing a connection between regular tanning bed sessions and an increased risk of skin cancer.

a woman having a spray tan applied on her back

Therefore many people who want that dream bronze tan will instead opt to get a spray tan instead.

Spray tans are applied at tanning salons by a beauty therapist and they can be applied in a variety of different ways.

Your beauty therapist will ask how dark you want your tan to be and there are numerous different formulas that can be used during the tanning process.

It all sounds pretty simple so far, doesn’t it? But are spray tans actually safe? When we compare them to tanning bed treatments and even sunbathing outside, spray tans are safer in one respect because there will be no exposure to potentially harmful UV rays.

However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some potential side effects and dangers to know about. So, before you go and book yourself a spray tan session make sure you read our findings. Without any further ado let’s take a look at the potential dangers in more detail.

DHA Might Not Be A-OK

Spray tanning might not feature UV rays but it does have plenty of chemicals which as I am sure you can guess aren’t always going to be the safest thing to have sprayed on your body.

However, one of the more potentially harmful ingredients in spray tans is actually the carbohydrate, dihydroxyacetone also known as DHA.

DHA is also what really makes spray tans work, as it reacts with the natural amino acids in dead skin cells and gives them a darker more tan-like colour. This will naturally fade over time as your body sheds the dead skin cells.

DHA can be derived from sugars, plants, and glycerine and is a very active ingredient in spray tans but also one that carries some potential health risks.

If you inhale the spray during the tanning process you could experience nausea, headaches or dizziness.

But more serious symptoms have been reported as well as it is believed breathing in DHA can also trigger asthmatic attacks, cause allergic reactions, cause lung disease and some researchers believe it could also cause lung cancer.

DHA can also prevent or significantly reduce your skins ability to produce vitamin D, which is ironically one of the benefits of using tanning beds and sunbathing outside.

This can cause your skin to experience more problems when exposed to the sun because it won’t be as strong. One final concern worth mentioning is the risk of DHA having mutagenic capabilities.

Now don’t get too worried as I know this sounds very extreme.

The research into these properties is still quite minimal. Research with mouse cells showed DHA could damage DNA and that understandably could cause a lot of issues. But at the moment it’s not known whether this does affect human cells in any way.

Many of the dangers with DHA are because it can be accidentally inhaled during the spray tanning process. When applied to the skin a percentage of DHA will be also absorbed although at the moment it’s not believed this causes any problems.

However, it is still a good idea to ensure any cuts or scratches on the skin are sufficiently covered up before getting a spray tan.

You should also wear a face mask while getting a spray tan as well. Yes, you might feel a little silly doing this but it is often advised by salons and it will help you reduce the risk of exposure.

So, by taking proper precautions you can reduce the potential risks that come with DHA.

Other Safety Concerns

While DHA is the number one concern when it comes to getting a spray tan it’s not the only potential ingredient that could cause potentially harmful side-effects.

Colouring agents and fragrances are commonly found in spray tans and are not always properly listed.

Some people are allergic to these ingredients and they can cause the skin to become irritated after the tanning process. Chemical sensitivity to these ingredients is another issue and this can cause a wide variety of issues from things like tiredness and headaches, to more serious issues like difficulty breathing, neurological issues, and seizures.

Should I Get A Spray Tan?

Plenty of people get spray tans without issue but that doesn’t mean there aren’t dangers as you’ve seen.

Take the proper precautions and always ask what you’re being sprayed with so you know what’s going on your body.

You will also want to avoid getting a spray tan too often because you will want to give your skin some time heal and produce the very important vitamin D.

Pregnant women should also avoid spray tans to prevent any chemicals from potentially harming their baby if they breathe them in.