Is Self Tanning Safe?
It’s no secret to anyone anymore that excessive exposure to the sun or tanning beds does really bad things to your skin.
Things like wrinkling, dark spots, and even skin cancer. In fact, in August 2014, the Surgeon General of the United States issued a warning about tanning in tanning beds and under the sun.
The reason for his warning? A 200% increase in deadly melanoma cases since 1973.
Because doctors (and the Surgeon General) have done such a great job getting the word out about this epidemic, people are now turning to self tanning products in record numbers to get the perfect tan– and also to keep their skin safe.
With self tanning sales expected to reach $1 billion by 2017, everyone has one question on their mind.
Is self tanning safe?
To answer that, we’ve put together 5 facts about self tanners that everyone should know about. Hopefully they help you make up your own mind!
Here they are…
1. The Main Ingredient In All Self Tanning Products And Sprays, DHA, Has Been Approved By The FDA Since 1973
Here it is straight from the horse’s mouth:
“DHA is approved for external application to the human body, which is the way these products are intended to be used” – FDA Website
That’s right. Self tanning lotions have been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for nearly 40 years!
And in that time, there have been very few complaints or issues associated with their use filed with the FDA.
That just means people have been using these products for a long time without any significant side effects or problems whatsoever.
The other ingredients contained in most self tanners are also found in thousands of other lotions and cosmetics and have not been found to cause cancer, turn your skin purple, or do anything else they weren’t intended to do.
2. Self Tanning Products Are Recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology
In case you didn’t know, the American Academy of Dermatology was founded in 1938 and is the most influential “skin care” organization in the entire world.
It’s made up of 17,000 real doctors and physicians who practice medicine all over the country.
Now, am I telling you this because I’m a lobbyist for these guys or something?
No, I’m just telling you that actual doctors, who are represented by the AAD, recommend self tanning products as an alternative to sun exposure and especially tanning beds.
Here’s what it says directly on their website:
“If you want to look tan, consider using a self tanning product or spray.”
That means something when thousands of actual doctors get behind a product.
If self tanning wasn’t safe, I think you’d hear about it from this organization, since all they focus on is “skin”!
3. The Mayo Clinic Recommends Self Tanning Products
The Mayo Clinic is one of the most respected medical organizations in the entire world, and you want to know what they had to say about self tanning?
“Sunless tanning products, also called self tanners, give your skin a tanned look without exposing it to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.”
They have several pages devoted to the best ways to use these products and information on things to avoid like tanning pills, tanning “accelerators” and tanning beds.
It’s interesting to see an organization like the Mayo Clinic giving application tips for self tanners…
I guess that just shows you how popular these products are becoming!
4. Both The American Medical Association and Skin Cancer Foundation Suggest Using Sunless Tanning Products If You Want To Look Tan
Are you starting to see a trend here?
When it comes to looking tan, virtually every legitimate, science-based organization recommends self tanning over UV radiation through sun exposure and/or tanning beds.
Here’s what one of their members and author of Beautiful Skin, Dr. David Bank said when he was asked if sunless tanners cause cancer:
“Sunless tanning lotions and sprays do not cause cancer! Sunless tanners deliver a perfectly safe tan that typically lasts for three to five days. They don’t involve dangerous ultraviolet rays like tanning beds and are made with completely harmless common ingredients.”
Both of these organizations also point out that these products are approved for use as long as they’re used as intended.
That means they’re safe as long as you don’t eat them, inhale them or apply them to your mucous membranes.
So if you’re going to do spray tanning, make sure you cover your mouth and nose as well as eyes. And try not to breath it in as the machine sprays!
5. Many Doctors Use Self Tanners Themselves
Doctors have access to all the latest research and clinical trials that show what substances are dangerous, and which are safe.
They’ve spent countless years in school studying nothing but medicine.
The fact that a certain percentage of doctors and dermatologists use self tanning products on themselves tells you they think they’re safe.
In fact, here’s what Dr. Melanie Palm, Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Diego had to say:
“I personally use these products and recommend them to my patients as a safe alternative to traditional tanning.”
When doctors say stuff like that, it seems like pretty powerful proof to me!
So Is Self Tanning Safe? The Answer Seems To Be Yes.
If you actually take the time to study the facts, self tanning does indeed seem extremely safe.
Virtually no serious side effects have been reported in nearly 40 years and the products are recommended by some of the biggest and most respected medical organizations in the world.
Now, does that mean some study may come out down the road that suggests DHA or some other cosmetic ingredient might cause some side effects?
Of course not.
And you should always make up your own mind about your health.
But for now, according to the FDA, many doctors and most major medical associations, self tanning has been deemed safe.
So what do you think? Do you disagree with this? Let us know by liking, sharing, and tweeting this post.
Also, be sure to check out our ranking and reviews of the best self tanning products on the market today!