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Is spray tanning safe for skin?

Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD
Emergency Medicine
For one thing, tanning sprays are far better than a “real” tan. Sun tanning or using a tanning bed immensely multiples your risk of skin cancer, even at a young age!
 
The FDA has approved tanning sprays for application to the skin, but not around the eyes, mouth or nose, so avoid these areas.
 
There’s no concrete evidence that spray tanners are harmful to put on your skin, but some studies have shown that applying high concentrations of the chemical in the sprays could cause the production of free radicals, which can damage cells. Concentrations are lower in products than what was used in research, but it is important to be aware. 
 
The bigger danger may be inhalation. Some research has shown that inhalation would not just cause irritation of the lungs, but could cause the chemicals to get into your bloodstream, which could potentially promote cancers. 
 
If you go out in the sun, don’t forget about sunscreen, which most sunless tanners don’t have in them. You don’t want to burn!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.