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Are Spray Tans Safe?

Spray Tans: A-OK or Stay Away?

Baking in the sun or on a tanning bed is bad news for your skin. Since exposure to UV rays leads to wrinkles and skin cancer, many people are turning to spray tans instead. This UV-free alternative is meant to give your skin that kissed-by-the-sun glow. You stand in a booth as your skin is coated with a mist of sunless tanning solution. The active ingredient in most sunless tanning products is dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a chemical derived from glycerin. When applied to your body, the DHA reacts with the amino acids in the dead skin cells on the outer layers of your skin, temporarily producing a brown color that gradually fades within a week.

If you're wondering how safe spray tans are, keep reading.

The FDA regards DHA as safe for your skin because this chemical isn't absorbed by your skin, and it has no known toxicity. You just need to make sure that DHA doesn't get on your lips, in your eyes or nose, or that it's not inhaled. Remember that a spray tan will darken your skin, but it in no way protects it when you're outdoors. So before heading outside, be sure to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Are you a fan of the spray-on tan?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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Skeptic52 Skeptic52 5 years
I've seen so many spray tans gone awry that I never will be able to fork over that kind of money for a drip down the back of my neck. I saw too many girls on campus with drip marks that they didn't know about (like on their neck, back of their legs, in their bleached hair line) when I was in college. Plus, I have naturally dark, sicilian skin, so maybe I just don't understand the strong desire. I do, however, love that jergens daily glow self-tanning lotion for times when I've gotten stuck out in the sun longer than my suncreen lasted and ended up with tan lines. It's always been great at concealing those.
lblond lblond 5 years
a major fan!! i tanned in the beds for years in high school and am now happily bronzed during the summer thanks to the good old spray tan!
Kellanawida Kellanawida 5 years
I've never had a spray tan and I don't know if I'd ever have one. I'm lucky enough to naturally have olive skin. I've seen way too many orange disasters!
Spectra Spectra 5 years
I've never done it, but I'm a pretty big fan of the Jergen's Natural Glow lotion. It's more subtle and it isn't as orange-y.
Lilybeth84 Lilybeth84 5 years
I'm so happy to see that others are comfortable in their pale skin! Me too! Even if I did spray tan, it would look terrible on me, and definitely fake.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 5 years
I prefer to keep my pale skin as I have no interesting in coating myself in skin-tone altering chemicals. Pale and proud. :P
livepink livepink 5 years
I spray tanned several times this summer. I used tanning beds in high school & now have major guilt about it. The spray, in my opinion, looks great. The only thing is.. I think it may be causing me to breakout :(
danakscully64 danakscully64 5 years
I'm white and I'm bright, get used to it! :P I did a Mystic Tan once (it was $30! 5 years ago, I'm sure it's more now)... it was okay, it looked fake though. I'm comfortable in my skin.
amber512 amber512 5 years
Pale and proud here =)
Soniabonya Soniabonya 5 years
I've only gotten spray tans maybe 3 times in the past 2 years. For some reason the tan made me look slimmer. I wasn't orange at all and the lady at the salon that I go to is really nice. It's a nice indulgence but I only get it for a special occasion, ala special photo for my honey, first day at nude club and engagement photos (though that time it smeared a little :\)
luvlior luvlior 5 years
I love spray tans! I got a membership at the local tanning salon, and they cost about 12$ an application. I'm like hooked on being tanned LOL ... defiently worth it.
Merlin713 Merlin713 5 years
Nah. This summer, I've been wearing my pale skin [and spf 50] proudly. It's refreshing.
Lo-Lo291303 Lo-Lo291303 5 years
I'm a HUGE fan of the spray tan! The first day I look kinda orangey, but once it's faded a bit, I LOVE how tanned I look. I'm planning on getting one a few days before my wedding.
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