Fake the Bake? Spray Tanning and DHA May Not Be as Safe as You Think.
I emerged from my first spray-tan booth looking more Oompa-Loompa orange than beach-ready bronze. Whatâ€™s more, I coughed for two days after. This canâ€™t be good for me, I thought. Yet spray-tanning spots are thriving. Wellesleyâ€™s Blush just tripled in size, and both the North Endâ€™s Natural Glow and Glow Tanning, on Newbury Street, see a steady stream of customers.
The most common active ingredient in self-tanners is dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a sugar that interacts with the top layer of the skin to create a darkened pigment that lasts until the dead cells shed. Although the FDA green-lighted DHA for external use in 1977, the use of DHA in spray-tanning booths is not approved because, the agency warns, the chemical should not come in contact with the eyes, lips, or mucous membranes, or be ingested. â€śThe carcinogenic effect of particles in the lining of lungs is not entirely clear,â€ť says Jennifer Lin, a dermatologist at Brigham and Womenâ€™s.
Peggy Wu, a dermatologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, advises those who get spray tans to minimize unintentional DHA absorption. â€śThe safest practice, and what I encourage my patients to do, is embrace your natural skin tone,â€ť she says.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/article/2014/02/26/spray-tanning-risks/