Healthy Skin

How safe are spray tans? What You Should Know About Self Tanners in General

How safe are spray tans? What You Should Know About Self Tanners in General

Many of us are replacing our swimsuits with sweaters now that winter has arrived and summer has long since passed. While many people look forward to the changing seasons and the celebratory festivities they can provide, our impending pallor may not be as appealing.

Consider a fake tan if you’re seeking for a way to keep your summer glow even on the coldest of days. Here is the information you need know about spray tans and over-the-counter self-tanners, including how they function and their advantages and disadvantages, before you start being bronzed.

How Do Self-Tanners and Spray Tans Work?

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), an authorized substance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is the primary active ingredient in self-tanners that gives off the ideal golden brown hue, according to Mayo Clinic. Contrary to popular misconception, DHA is not a material that looks like paint or a stain. According to Columbus, Ohio-based physician Patricia Malerich, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Ohio State University, it is essentially a colorless sugar molecule.

According to Dr. Malerich, the carbohydrates in DHA and the proteins in the top layers of your skin interact chemically to produce the tan. Spray tans are difficult to remove because of the reaction between the two ingredients that creates a rusty brown protein that is strongly bonded to the top layer of your skin, she continues.

Having said that, it is not unusual to discover stained sheets the day after using a self-tanner or receiving a spray tan. Malerich claims that this is the case because the formulae of the goods also include a temporary dye that makes it simple to identify where the product has been administered.

She claims that a fake tan typically only lasts a week because our top layer of skin regularly sheds every 7 to 10 days. Those upper layers of skin’s brown-colored proteins are also shed at the same time.

The Benefits of a Fake Tan

Self-tanners and spray tans enable you to maintain a fresh-off-the-beach appearance all year long, but they also have other advantages.

One advantage is that if you choose a fake tan over actual ultraviolet (UV) rays, your skin’s health and attractiveness will improve with time. According to Beth Buchbinder, MD, senior physician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, UV rays are the biggest known factor in the development of melanomas and other skin cancers. UV rays are present in radiation from the sun, tanning beds, and even nail-drying lamps.

Dr. Buchbinder claims that continual UV damage causes a gradual deterioration in the skin’s resilience. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, UV rays come in two varieties: UVA rays, which hasten skin aging (think fine lines and wrinkles), and UVB rays, which hasten sunburns (AAD). The largest health worry is that UVA and UVB radiation can change a cell’s DNA, which eventually causes the cell to become incredibly aberrant and malignant.

According to Buchbinder, one of the ways a cancer develops is by breaking the norms. It does not simply grow when it shouldn’t and prevents the regrowth of healthy cells. Thus, the cancer spreads rather than heals.

As the AAD points out, wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 can help shield your skin from UVA and UVB radiation, but minimizing sun exposure is another important skin-protection strategy.

Self-tanners and spray tans have another benefit: If you’re expecting, a fake glow might be preferable to roasting in the sun. According to John Smulian, MD, chair and professor at the University of Florida’s department of obstetrics and gynecology in Gainesville, women are more likely to suffer burns, rashes, and uneven pigmentation during pregnancy since their skin is often more photosensitive during this time.

Natural tanning can result in overheating and dehydration, and it has been shown that overheating during the first trimester is associated with birth abnormalities including spina bifida. Dr. Smulian advises reducing exposure to UV rays when pregnant.

Contrarily, DHA, a substance included in numerous other cosmetic items, is thought to be safe during pregnancy because it predominantly interacts with skin. Smulian, however, advises caution in this situation as well: “As a general rule, any cosmetics that include chemicals and cover significant surface areas of the skin should only be used if judged necessary during pregnancy,” he adds. Therefore, if you’re expecting, make sure to ask your ob-gyn whether faux tans are safe for you.

Disadvantages of artificial tanning

Although artificial tanning has numerous benefits, there are some disadvantages to be aware of before stepping into a spray tanning booth.

Although the FDA has approved DHA as a safe topical treatment, Malerich warns that inhaling the aerosols from a spray tan could be harmful to the lungs.

The FDA has issued restrictions stating that DHA should never be “inhaled, ingested, or exposed to areas covered by mucous membranes, including the lips, nose, and areas in and around the eye (from the upper face to above the eyebrow) because the hazards, if any, are unclear.”

According to Malerich, the aerosols in the items can make things worse for persons who have lung diseases like asthma.

Due to the higher danger of absorption by inhalation, pregnant women may wish to steer clear of spray tans and stick with self-tanners. He continues that less is known about the effects if the products are breathed.

However, preliminary lab study on melanoma cells revealed that DHA exposure via topical sunless tanning products and aerosol inhalation looked to be hazardous to the cells. Although there is a lack of human research on the safety of fake-tanning techniques, this research is restricted. The formation of advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, which are linked to skin aging, and oxidative stress, which is linked to chronic diseases like cancer, were two specific effects of DHA exposure. But to support those findings, more in-depth human study is required.

The added scent in fake-tanning products, which Malerich says can provide a lovely smell but irritate the skin, is another issue to be mindful of. Fragrances may particularly affect those who have eczema. Malerich advises performing a skin patch test if you’re managing this skin problem, where you apply a small amount of the cream to one area of your skin, like behind your ear, and see how your skin responds.

According to her, several products also contain ingredients that raise skin protein levels and produce a darker complexion. Because the flaky skin texture brought on by these skin problems darkens while using fake tanners, giving a blotchy appearance, many people with thickened eczema or psoriasis patches dislike using spray tans, she explains. According to Malerich, the ingredients that can irritate people and trigger reactions to fake tans are the darkening chemicals and perfumes rather than DHA itself.

Another common misconception, according to Malerich, is that while a fake tan makes the skin appear darker, it also makes the skin more resistant to UV radiation and keeps it from burning as quickly or intensely. But unless it is specifically stated on the product label that it offers SPF, neither spray tans nor self-tanners offer UV protection.

According to some studies, using self-tanning products outside may potentially hasten the aging process of the skin. The authors claimed that when skin proteins and UV radiation interact, free radicals are produced that facilitate oxidative damage. The authors found that skin treated with DHA that was exposed to sunlight had a higher loss of collagen and elastin fibers.

Are fake tans healthier than real ones in the long run?

Yes, artificial tans are the healthier of these two tanning choices in that they don’t expose the skin to UV rays like the sun does, according to Malerich.

She continues by saying that although some people might be worried about how much of the fake tan gets absorbed, the chemicals have not been discovered to do so because it happens so quickly on the top layers of the skin. For instance, Malerich cites a few trials where the FDA checked participants’ blood and urine for DHA levels after topical administration but found none.

The false way is therefore advised if a tan is what you’re after, though Buchbinder says she thinks we should all learn to appreciate our skin for what it is. “While tanning is regarded as attractive, it would be wonderful if we could all appreciate the diverse hues that make us who we are.”

Here’s How to Pick the Best Tanning Method for You If You Decide to Get a Fake Tan

Ask yourself why you want the tan before choosing the right shade, advises Abby Reid, founder and general manager of the Sun Tan Van, a spray tanning service in Boston.

According to Reid, “I wouldn’t usually choose the same shade I would for my wedding if someone is heading to a tropical destination.” If they are unsure, it is advisable to start them off bright and make them darker later.

Aviva, a vegan, organic, sugar-based spray tanner, is used by The Sun Tan Van. It is hypoallergenic and doctor-formulated.

According to Reid, your spray tan’s duration is influenced by your lifestyle, degree of activity, and skin chemistry. A darker tan will normally remain longer, but if it is substantially darker than your natural skin, it runs the danger of being more obvious when it fades.

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