I think it’s safe to say tanning beds and prolonged exposure to sun is not a good thing, unless you like the leather face look. For those of us not wanting to look like crispy bacon, there are some alternatives that can give us the pretty glow we want for our skin while not increasing our chances of skin cancer. Today we are looking at spray tans.
Spray tan history
In the 1920’s German researchers developed dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as a coloring agent for skin. Later in the 1950’s a researcher named Eva Wittgenstein was conducting research with children at the University of Cincinnati.
She noticed that DHA ended up turning their skin brown and did not penetrate past the surface of the skin. This revelation is (in part) credited to the development of fake tanning solutions and what we all have come to know as spray tanning. In the 1960’s, the sunscreen company Coppertone was the first company to produce a consumer-based tanning product with DHA. Following this development, the FDA approved the use of DHA in cosmetic ingredients during the 1970’s. As technology progressed, so did the delivery methods of fake tanning, and today you can get one done in 20-30 minutes.
One of the larger issues with tanning beds is the risk of skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “over 419,000 cases of skin cancer per year are linked to indoor tanning.” This has led to a virtual explosion of tanning alternatives such as spray tanning.
There are so much information—good and bad—these days that we wanted to get our facts straight from the source. We called Dermatologist Dr. Amy Paul and asked her questions on the topic:
Reflect Skin: What are your thoughts on spray tans (as an alternative to tanning beds)?
Dr. Paul: “Spray tans are a good alternative to UV-based tanning.”
Reflect Skin: Are the chemicals (DHA) safe?
Dr. Paul: “There has not been a link between cancer or other diseases and DHA.”
Reflect Skin: Are there any dangers with getting a spray tan?
Dr. Paul: “As long as you don’t inhale it, spray it in your eyes,or on broken skin, there are no known issues and it is safe to use. Also, keep in mind some solutions only have about 2 SPF so don’t forget to put on physical sunscreen as 2 SPF isn’t enough to block UV rays.”
“Surfing is not my strong point. And... I don't really have a tan. I go to the tanning place, the one that sprays you with color.” -Lori Loughlin
If you haven’t tried it, getting a spray tan is an experience. We are not suggesting you need to be an “umpa-lumpa,” but if you want to live up to Coco Chanel’s idea of being “chic” and “tanned” a spray tan is not a bad choice. Most spas charge anywhere from $25-75 on average and will take 20-30 min. When you first get to the spa, you select the tint you want and then strip down into your underwear (or less if you want). You put on goggles and step into a chamber or a technician hand sprays the areas you choose. And voila! You’re done.
Since tanning beds can have so many negative effects on our skin, it makes spray tanning that much more of an appealing option. Though it’s probably something you don’t want to do all the time, getting a spray tan is definitely safer than using tanning beds. And it’s easy. And cheap. And we like that. Just don’t overdo it. In the meantime, it's always good to take care of your skin with the right type of serums, moisturizers, etc. Try out our skin care quiz and get on a personalized skin care regimen. It can do wonders for your overall skin health...
To having healthy skin,
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