Spray Tanning Chemicals Might Be Just as Dangerous as Tanning Beds -- Duh! (VIDEO)

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spray tanningThis 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 ...

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Does this news surprise you? Do you fake tan?


Image via ABCNews.com

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Zangr... Zangrilli

My eyeroll goes to Maressa Brown, the author of this article.  You are extremely condescending, and it really bothers me.   Many women have done the right thing to avoid laying out in the sun and going to tanning beds.  They've been told to take other measures to get tan.  Not ONE article that I've ever read has said that tanning creams/lotions/sprays are dangerous.  Now that facts are coming out about spray tans, you sit here and MOCK women who have done the alternative, even though these stats haven't been out?  Maressa, get off your pedestal and write good articles, not this crap.

nonmember avatar Jenn

I know some people who need to be tanned for their work (models, tv personalities) and spray tans not only were a way to avoid cancer but the aging effects of the sun like wrinkles. I personally need my daily dose of real sunshine, and I have a natural tan from being in the sun in the morning and evenings. But that's me. We use chemicals everyday and assume their safe. Your article is so condescending!

Robyn Clark

totally agree with you Zangrilli.

nonmember avatar EmmaFromÉire

Know what else is man made and chemically based? moisturiser. so is most make up.and shampoos. So please, stop being so condescending. It doesn't suit you.

Ember... Emberbaby

I'm with zangrilli!

Autum... Autumnleaves87

Oooops Maressa. I usually agree with you. Here, not at all.

Kritika Kritika

Maressa I have always feared getting a spray tan for that reason. Inhaling that spray ALWAYS seemed like a bad idea to me...

nonmember avatar S.S.

Totally agree w/you Zangrilli - this was more of an editorial, and not a very good one, either.

Think of all the chemicals people use all day long - makeup, hairspray, cooking sprays, processed food...this is just another in a long line!

What I find interesting is there is no mention if there has been any uptick in cancer from DHA, which has been out for 20+ years. And I would like to see more info on if it is safe in lotion form versus spray. Still good to stay informed (just not with this article!).

nonmember avatar Tesha

As a professional spray tan tech, I would say do your research before writing such a blog!



Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid. It is found in cold water fatty fish, such as salmon. It is also found in fish oil supplements, along with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Vegetarian sources of DHA come from seaweed.

Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart, and your body needs DHA for a healthy brain.

Our bodies naturally make small amounts of DHA, but we must get the amounts we need from food or supplements.





Source: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/docosahexaenoic-acid-dha#ixzz2xvdZnzNi

University of Maryland Medical Center

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