Is Sunless Tanning Safe?

With the current restrictions in place for social gathering, many of us who enjoy hitting the beach to get a tan simply can’t do it anymore. Instead, many of us opt for spray tanning as a method to get that healthy glow since we can’t hit the open beach. The Mayo Clinic explains that to get this tanning effect, the active ingredient in these sunless tan lotions or sprays interacts with the upper layer of skin to darken it slightly. In most cases, this coloration looks sufficiently indistinguishable for a full tan. However, since it’s introducing a chemical into someone’s skin, there’s always a concern about whether sunless tanning is entirely safe.

At Least It’s Not UV Tanning

Tanning itself is a dangerous process. The Skin Cancer Foundation notes that tanning, whether indoors or outdoors, carries significant risk. In fact, direct UV tanning can likely be even riskier than spray tans when it comes to cancer. When tanning happens, your skin cells absorb UV light, either from a natural source (the sun) or an artificial one (a tanning bed). When your skin cells detect UV radiation, they produce melanin to prevent further damage to your skin tissue. That melanin is what gives your skin the “glow” that we associate with tanning. However, the damage that UV tanning causes is cumulative and starts affecting your skin from the very first time you tan.

A Safer Alternative?

Huffington Post has noted that some experts have raised questions about sunless tanning lotions and sprays when inhaled, but they generally agree that topical application won’t cause harm. Companies that produce these sunless tan options tend to have detailed warning labels to ensure that consumers use their products the right way. This warning ensures that you don’t ingest the product or get it into your eyes or mouth. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mentions that the active ingredient in these sunless tanners is not meant for internal use.

Just In Time for Summer

Whether we’ll be able to hit the beach as summer rolls around is still a question that we can’t answer. Large gatherings, such as those you’re likely to get on beaches, aren’t suitable for controlling the spread of a virus. However, with spray tans and other sunless tanning options, you can still get the healthy look that laying out in the sun gives you. You might even be healthier for opting for these choices instead of lying out under the open sky.