Is Spray Tanning Harmful to your Skin?

So you’ve used up all your vacation days this summer, but want a golden-brown skin complexion? Sometimes, you just don’t have the time to bask in the sun. Among sunless tanning methods, spray tanning is one of the more popular options due to its low cost and fast application. Simply spray it on and voila– you’re looking good and ready to hit the beach. But should you be concerned about spray tanning? Is spray tanning safe for your skin? The short answer is yes, but there are still things you must be mindful of when using it, especially for frequent flying sprayers. Here at Short Hills Dermatology, we’ll offer some insights before you paint your way to a hot summer tan!

Be Wary of DHA

All spray tan products contain traces of an ingredient called dihydroxyacetone (DHA). When applied to the surface of your skin, DHA reacts with your skin’s amino acids to create that brown hue coveted by so many. DHA is a safe ingredient unless inhaled. During the application of a spray tan, avoid breathing in the chemical as best as you can by turning your head to the side, away from the spray. The chemical can harm your lungs; asthma sufferers, in particular, should remain cautious. Most believe that prolonged exposure to DHA will eventually harm your lungs, which is why the FDA still hasn’t approved DHA-based spray tanning. As an added safety precaution, consider wearing goggles or a protective mask while applying the product. You’ll definitely want to apply in a well-ventilated area, or maybe even hold your breath during the process.

Other Things To Watch Out For

While deemed safe for topical use, DHA may potentially result in contact dermatitis for some people, which manifests as an itchy, red, and sometimes-painful skin rash. More prevalent in women, contact dermatitis usually occurs around sweat glands such as the armpits. So is spray tanning worth the risks? In truth, it’s a personal decision. Exfoliating and keeping your skin moisturized in the days prior to your spray tan effectively reduces the likelihood of occurrence. You may even conduct a patch test to determine whether or not you have an unknown allergy to DHA.

The effects of spray tanning on the skin generally last up to 7 days, while the cost of a spray tan session ranges from $25 to $50. Sometimes beauty requires sacrifice, but not at the expense of your bank account. In many cases, tanning lotions and creams prove more cost-friendly, especially if you’re on a strict monthly budget. Remember that spray tanning does not offer any sun protection. Your skin can and will burn if you fail to use sunscreen. Use creams with antioxidants alongside your spray tan to stay safe in the heat.

Don’t Let Your Skin Suffer Any Longer

Exposing yourself to the sun’s rays versus applying a spray tan? For most consumers, the latter is clearly the safer option for the long-term health of your skin. With its relatively cheap price, quick process, and easy results, it’s easy to see why so many people choose spray tanning as their go-to method. Just watch your breathing while it is being applied. Should you see any itchy skin or allergic reactions and if it results in dermatitis, contact a top dermatologist near you!

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