Spray On Tans - Are They Dangerous?

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Back in the 1980's, we started hearing about all the new ways to get a tan. I believe at that time we were discussing the "Big Hole in the Ozone Layer" and how the UV rays were coming through our skin like wildfire. That's why a lot of people started to use spry-on tans. That seems like forever ago, but there is always someone out there trying to put the "fear factor" into society's mind.

So we all started buying the hype (much like the water for gas products during the gas spike), and went out to purchase the suggested products. Unfortunately, companies forgot to tell us that the products they were releasing weren't always safe. Sure we trust the FDA guidelines, but often time's companies get away with adding various ingredients to their product.

After getting a glimpse of what's really going on, you have to wonder about the spray tan booths out there today. However, we always hear about how they're a healthy alternative to spending the day in the sun. So for an upgraded fee, you too can utilize one of these booths. The truth is these aren't nearly as healthy as staying in the sun (using proper precautions), and have no health benefits themselves.

Why Spray Tans are Harmful

Well, what it comes down to is you don't get any increase in Vitamin D from spray tans. Even though you may look like you spent the weekend in Brazil, truth of the matter is that 5 minute spray did nothing for your health.

If you've been a faithful reader of my articles, you already understand the benefits that come from proper amounts of Vitamin D. Would you trade your cosmetic appeal for true health? Hopefully not, which is why you need to take the proper precautions.

The Ingredients

Ever heard of dihydroxyacetone? I'm sure you've seen it before; it's simply the color additive that darkens your skin. The short name is DHA. However, it's not the same DHA omega-3 fat. You'll find that it reacts with the amino acids in the skin layer on the surface, which in turn creates your glow.

Most of the sunless tanning products today contain around 1%-15% DHA. The higher you go in percentage, the darker your tan will get over a period of time.

If you listen to medical terms, DHA is considered to be a carbohydrate sugar solution. However, it's been debated by several toxicologists over the past 5 years. Even Dr. Thomas Pierce who deals with the investigation of tanning beds issued a warning about DHA. "It is not an ingestible sugar, and no one should be eating it," he said in a previous interview.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the U.S. government's regulations allow contaminants in spray tans. While they do go by other names, lead, arsenic, and mercury are present.

If you're pregnant and spray tanning, lead is a huge issue. We don't know how big the effect will be on the child, especially when it comes to brain development.

In all honesty, you should simply avoid spray tans all together. Even though this may be a small burden, a serious health issue like cancer would definitely overshadow it.

Back in the 1970's, DHA was approved by the FDA. Keep in mind this was only for topical applications, because who would have thought people would spray a fine mist years down the road. The development of issues started to arise thanks to the contact with the lips, lungs, and other sensitive membranes, which of course meant it went to people's blood stream.

It's funny though; the FDA still hasn't approved the use of DHA in spray tan booths.

Oh, and let's not forget that there are normally around 45 ingredients associated with a tanning spray. No one knows if this particular mixture is safe for your body. Definitely something to think about before you put your next application on.

You have to remember that your skin in the largest organ you have in or on the body. Since there are no findings of health benefits regarding spray tans, you could be harming your body a great deal. Sure, you probably won't feel it today or tomorrow, but as it grows within the body, you could develop a serious health issue over a period of time.

The FDA's Take

Well, in short, according to 21 CFR 73.2150 and 21 CFR 70.3v of the FDA regulations, DHA is restricted to external application only when using sunless tanning products. This means no lips, no inhalation from sprays, just simple topical additions.

Unfortunately the industry itself hasn't provided safety data to the FDA regarding this matter. Without the data, they can't approve or disapprove its actual use. They need to do something though if people are entering spray tan booths everyday and being exposed around the eyes, nose, mouth, and even inhalation. Here's a short list of common side effects:

* Rashes
* Coughing
* Dizziness
* Fainting

Ask Yourself the Proper Safety Questions

If you do use a spray tan booth, ask yourself the following questions according to the FDA:

* Am I protected from exposure in my entire eye area?
* Am I protected from exposure on my lips and all parts of my body covered by mucous membranes?
* Am I protected from internal exposure caused by inhaling or ingesting the product?

If you answered NO to any of these, you're not protected.

According to Dr. Wade (also a toxicologist), you should leave any establishment that doesn't tell you that you need to wear protection.

My Advice

Just avoid them all together. The booths, the lotions, the topical cream or anything else that could possibly contain harmful ingredients should be avoided.

Like I said before, fake tans contain no healthy features. Just because you look like your tan, doesn't mean you're getting that healthy dose of Vitamin D. The way to do this is by supplement, food, natural sunlight, or a safe tanning bed.

The goal here is to help you understand the issues that can arise from tanning sprays and lotions. Would you rather have Vitamin D or a host of toxic chemicals entering your system?

It's a simple question and one that is easily answered. So if you want to know more about the benefits of safe sun exposure just come to my site.

Society has ignored the benefits of sun exposure for too long, and it's time to bring everyone back to the truth.

If by chance I'm too late and you've been noticing adverse reactions, head to the nearest FDA office. You can find the listing in your phone book.

Help get these products off the market until they make them safe!

Author Box
Gaetane Ross has 1 articles online

Scientists at the Vitamin D Council agree that both children and adults should have a Vitamin D level of 50 ng/ml all year-round. They recommend the use of Vitality Tanning Systems as a safe and effective way to help you achieve natural levels of Vitamin D. The Vitamin D Council is a nonprofit organization whose aim is to educate the public about Vitamin D deficiency and how to prevent it.

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Spray On Tans - Are They Dangerous?

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This article was published on 2010/03/29