With the huge media push about the dangers of tanning over the past few years, more and more individuals are skipping a day baking on the beach and, instead, spending an hour getting spray tanned at the salon. The service has grown in popularity as those afraid of premature wrinkles and skin cancer look for a harmless way to achieve a nice summer tan. Dermatologists have long recommended these products as a safe alternative to sunbathing and tanning beds.
Unfortunately for regular spray tanners, recent studies suggest that the active chemical used in spray-tanning products, DHA, can trigger genetic mutations which could potentially cause cancer. While none of the current studies have examined human subjects, there’s compelling evidence that DHA may alter genes – resulting in cancer and birth defects.
“When DHA was approved, spray-tanning booths were not on the horizon, and the safety data provided by the industry at that time did not include these routes of exposure,” explains Tamara N. Ward, FDA spokesperson. “External use, according to the color additive regulations, does not include the area of the eyes, or mucous membranes (such as the lips), or exposure by inhalation. The use of DHA in tanning establishments as an all-over spray or mist has not been approved by the FDA.”
While the tanning industry maintains that DHA is safe, the FDA is recommending that consumers take protective measures during spray tanning, including wearing protective eye wear, sealing lips with lip balm, wearing nose filters and using protective undergarments, to limit exposure to the droplets in the spray.
More research needs to be done to prove the link, but the latest findings are changing the way doctor’s recommend this service to their patients. One dermatologist claimed that he would still recommend over-the-counter, non-aerosol, self-tanning products to those looking for a sun-less glow, but that he would caution patients against regular spray tanning.
Source: The Health Journals