Are spray tans safe?

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • A chemical in spray tans could have health side-effects - making lung conditions worse and possibly creating tumors - according to experts

    Spray tans, commonly perceived to be a safe alternative to sunbeds, contain a chemical that may be putting users at risk.

    When inhaled, a chemical that is used in the tanning process, called Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), enters the lungs and is absorbed into the bloodstream where it can damage cells and alter cell DNA, according to a new study from George Washington University.

    Dr Lynn Goldman from George Washington University says DHA has the potential to mutate DNA in living cells, which she describes as a ‘serious problem’ and needs to be further investigated.

    ‘What we’re concerned about is not so much the reaction that creates the tanning, but reactions that may occur deeper down with living cells that might then change DNA, causing a mutation and what the possible impacts of that might be.’

    Dr Rey Panettieri, a lung specialist from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, says, ‘The lungs have a huge surface area, so this compound gets into cells and gets absorbed into the bloodstream’.

    DHA can make lung conditions, such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), much worse.

    To minimise your risk, experts suggest wearing protective masks during spray tan treatments. The findings do not relate to home fake tans.



    Reading now