There are many dangers from tanning beds and staying too long in the sun unprotected. But the fall weather dropping temperatures, many people head indoors to what they believe is safe: spray tanning.
Are spray tans dangerous?
In terms of sun damage, spray tans are definitely safer than tanning outdoors or in a tanning booth. However, spray tans will make you more susceptible to sun damage for the first 24 hours after you get it done.
If you must spray tan...
Wear sunscreen. Make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen after you get a sunless tan!
Close your eyes. There are some other precautions you need to take too. Many places that do spray tanning will tell you not to cover your eyes, nose, or mouth while they spray you. This is a really bad idea! There’s a chemical called DHA in sprayless tans that could cause DNA damage and genetic alterations in the cells lining your respiratory tract and eyes if you inhale it or get it into your eyes. DNA changes increase the risk of cancer in these tissues Make sure you cover your eyes, nose, and mouth for spray tans.
Otherwise you can try tanning lotions. Just make sure you protect yourself for 24 hours after you use one.
Dr. Janet Hill Prystowsky is a board-certified dermatologist with over 25 years of experience in dermatology and dermatologic surgery. She obtained a Ph.D from Columbia University in Human Nutrition, an M.D. from the University of Chicago, and completed her training in dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania. In combination with her focus on early skin cancer detection and removal, Dr. Prystowsky is a senior attending physician at Mount Sinai Roosevelt/St. Luke’s Medical Center. Learn more at http://www.janetprystowskymd.com/