This week, in news we should already know, but researchers have to spell out for us: The main ingredient used in spray tanning -- called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA -- could be potentially harmful if inhaled and then absorbed into the bloodstream. It could damage DNA and promote tumor growth aka cancer.
Yup. So jumping into that shower of fake tanning spray isn't a safer alternative to laying in a tanning bed to get your faux bronze on? You don't say! Sorry, you have to pardon my sarcasm for a moment. It's just befuddling to me that anyone would think getting coated in something entirely man-made and chemically-based could possibly be good for them! Or at least not slightly risky. (Sorry, it's not like it's made from orange juice or autumn leaves!)
The experts who have concluded there might be an issue with DHA are a panel of six medical experts ranging across the fields of dermatology, toxicology, and pulmonary medicine. While they didn't actually look at studies that tested on human subjects, they did find that DHA altered genes of multiple types of cells and organisms when tested in different labs by different scientists after the chemical was approved for use by consumers. Awesome.
The scientists say there are some short-term issues with DHA too, like it might might asthma worse, as well as trigger other lung problems like emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The experts are also really concerned that it could cause lung cancer. Geeesh!!!
So, what does the FDA have to say about all of this? Basically, they say DHA isn't approved for use in spray tanning, so if you want to spray tan, pseudo-sun-seekers should "request measures to protect their eyes and mucous membranes and prevent inhalation." Uh, duh! And of course, more research needs to be done. But in the meantime, knowing this, why wouldn't you step away from the fake-y fake tans altogether? Embrace ghost chic. It might not be "in," but at least you'll have a better shot at counting cancer out.
Here's the ABC News report on the new science ...
Does this news surprise you? Do you fake tan?
Image via ABCNews.com