We know that ultraviolet induced tans are dangerous but what about tans from self tanners? Can they also be dangerous? Stay tuned for some real surprising news!
On June 12, 2012, "Good Morning America" reported on alleged dangers of di hydroxy acetone, also known as DHA, which is the active ingredient in self tanners. In essence, they posited that because DHA was shown to cause bad things in lab animals… and in addition, since the report showed that DHA penetrated deeper into the human skin than previously thought… Shouldn’t we be worried?
After reading the transcript from the show, I have no reason to believe at this time from the current evidence cited in the report that self tanners may not be completely safe in humans. Let me explain.
First, the report showed that DHA not only stains the dead cells of the skin but has been found in some of the live cells below. In addition, the percent that penetrates beyond the dead layer is higher than previously known. While initially that could raise questions, the fact is that DHA in the current form has been applied as a sunless tanner for over 30 years. However, there are no known clusters of self tanner induced skin cancers or reports of any association clinically of self tanners causing skin cancer, regardless of the amount absorbed or the depth of the absorption. The fact that DHA was shown in non-human lab studies to cause some abnormalities in no way changes the fact that there’s a greater than 30 year record of safe use of this product in humans.
The second issue raised was the potential absorption via the lungs of the aerosol form when people are having a spray on tan. I would like to believe that when people spray underarm antiperspirant, they avoid inhaling those fumes. The same common sense applies to any fumes including those from self tanner.
Recommendations made that people take measures to prevent inhaling the fumes, such as using nose plugs… or prevent absorbing them through the lips or eyes, by using lip balms and eye covers… are common sense and I endorse them. Provided common sense is adhered to and the recommendations are followed, I see no reason at this time for spray on tans to be avoided unless or until studies are done that are relevant to humans.
In conclusion, while I used to say that the only safe tan is one that comes from a bottle, I’ll now say that in my opinion, a sunless tanner is much, much safer than any ultraviolet induced tan.
Now for today's skincare trivia! Answer today's question correctly and you'll be entered in a drawing to win a free skincare product! Submit your answer at DermTV Dot Com Slash Trivia... within three days of this episode's airing. Today's question is:
What causes more damage? An hour of unprotected sun exposure at the beach or four fifteen minute walks to and from work without sun protection?
And don't forget. You can find the answer to this and all questions in past DermTV episodes.