Are spray tans really safe?


Awaiting customers, this photo takes a look at one of the places that many high school students visit in hopes of achieving a flawless, golden tan. Sun Tan City is a business that offers spray tanning, as well as the highly disputed option of tanning beds.

Janie Inscore, Staff Reporter

  With prom season, Spring Break, and warmer weather coming up, spray tans have recently blown up amongst teens and adults alike. Continuously growing in popularity, spray tans are a quick, yet controversial, way of leaving women, and some men, with the glow they desire. Most tanning places offer a variety of different shades and tints, allowing people to choose the color which fits them best. Although many people, and women especially, love artificial tanning and feel that it offers a safer alternative to natural tanning from the sun, there are some potential dangers to achieving a bronzed glow.

  For starters, new research conducted within the past year has revealed that spray tanning may actually increase the risk of cancer in those who self tan. This is because of the active ingredient in tanning products called DHA, or dihydroxyacetone; that if released into the bloodstream, has been found to have the potential to cause genetic alterations and damage to DNA. For this reason specifically, spray tans are not approved by the FDA. All self tanners, however, including substances like tanning lotion, contain DHA. The risks of this chemical are only present through inhalation, and while many people try to hold their breath while being sprayed, it is common for some DHA to be inhaled, thus entering the bloodstream. While this one major concern of spray tans is valid, they are abundantly more safe than tanning beds, which expose people to harmful ultraviolet rays much like the sun. These light rays are what increase the risk of skin cancer. So, are spray tans the better option?

  Sophomore Katherine Pair voiced her opinion: “Personally, I think spray tans make everyone feel more confident, and I have always had a successful outcome. But I strictly stick to spray tans and not tanning beds because those are really harmful to the body.” Spray tans tend to have the best results on those who are younger and have more even of a skin tone, typically with little damage. They work by darkening the pigment of the top layer of skin on one’s body and typically lighten within five to seven days, not fully disappearing until about two weeks after the date of the spray tan. While spray tans offer a boost in confidence for many people who get them, they do not protect against the sun’s UV rays or work as a barrier in any way. Nevertheless, there are many women who feel better about themselves because of spray tans, and there also many who do not want to risk any potential damage. For this reason, it is important to remember that everyone has their own likings, and it is best to accept all people regardless of their natural skin tone, or oppositely, their spray tan.