It has long been thought that the process of spray-on tanning has been a safe alternative to sun tanning, however newly released reports are indicating that the alternative comes with quite a few risks.
Originally approved for “external” use back in 1977, the chemical dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is now under much scrutiny as investigations reveal that the main ingredient in spray-on tans are causing genetic alterations and DNA damage that can greatly affect users of the product.
Medical experts ranging from dermatology doctors to pulmonary medicine have indicated “concerns” about the impact of the chemical if it were to find its way into the bloodstream. Reports showing hard evidence of the cell altering capabilities caused by DHA are certainly reasons to worry.
“I have concerns,” said Dr. Rey Panettieri, a toxicologist and lung specialist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.
“The reason I’m concerned is the deposition of the tanning agents into the lungs could really facilitate or aid systemic absorption — that is, getting into the bloodstream.”
Panettieri does admit the studies involving DHA are limited, but that he has seen enough to cause concern and hopes that the red flags are enough to warrant more in-depth studies involving the chemical in question.
“These compounds in some cells could actually promote the development of cancers or malignancies,” he said, “and if that’s the case then we need to be wary of them.”
When the FDA approved the chemical for lotions in the 70’s, they admit that they never envisioned them finding their way into a product like the spray-on tans that we see today, adding that “DHA should not be inhaled or ingested” in any way.
The FDA does inform consumers on their website saying that: “The use of DHA in ‘tanning’ booths as an all-over spray has not been approved by the FDA, since safety data to support this use has not been submitted to the agency for review and evaluation.”
Further investigations into DHA will undoubtedly be conducted, but based on current evaluations it seems as though it’s not worth the risk.
Do you think that spray-on tans are worth the risk?