Are Tanning Sprays 100% Safe? – Dermatology

Tanning sprays are safe and are easy ways to maintain a beautiful and glowing skin color. Sunless tanning products are considered to be safe alternative measures to sun tanning.

With so many sunless tanning procedures, how do you know what is suitable for your skin color? Beyond the suitability, are spray tans safe to use?

Here is what you should know about tanning sprays and how they work, the differences between tanning spray and tanning beds, and the benefits of using the spray as your safe alternative to sun tanning.

It is worth noting that once these sprays are used as an intelligent alternative to external tanning, they can also pose several health hazards.

tanning sprays

Tanning Sprays Vs. Tanning Beds

Tanning sprays are other ways to get a beautifully bronzed glow at a much lower risk. Rather than staying for a longer period under UV light, tanning sprays use a special tanning mixture that gets applied all over the body. If you get a custom tanning spray, this mixture can be formulated to match your skin tone, color, and desired glow.

Tanning beds became more popular in the 1970s when everyone wanted a significant glow. When most people think of these beds, they think of the giant structures crawled into to get heated with bright light. While there have been developments in the tanning bed industry, this is mostly the case. Each bed is equipped with UV radiation that you absorb for 9-10 minutes, depending on your skin tone.

In the end, observations have made it clear that the sprays are much better for usage than a tanning bed. Primarily, tanning beds expose you to UV rays, which can cause sunspots, premature aging, and even skin cancer. On the other hand, tanning sprays offer an instant glow without any threatening and dangerous exposure. You will walk out of the studio or spa with a charming bronzed body and peace of mind knowing that you are taking care of your skin and health.

How do Tanning Sprays Work?

Tanning sprays and other sunless tanning products contain a chemical known as dihydroxyacetone (DHA). This chemical reacts with the outer layer of your skin and causes the skin to darken. Your skin is constantly shedding off dead skin cells and replacing them; this means that your spray tan will react with those already dead cells. 

On its own, DHA does not have a color. The browning effect of your skin cells is purely from reactions. The amount of browning will base on how much spray is used and the DHA concentration in the formulation.

If you want to keep up with a steady color on your skin, you will need to reapply spray tan regularly. Because tanning sprays only affect the outermost layer of the skin, aiding the shedding off of dead cells, your color will likely last only 5-7 days.

Benefits of Tanning Sprays?

1. Low or No UV Exposure

Perhaps this is the most significant benefit of tanning sprays. With tanning sprays, you can get your desired look without putting your health in danger and developing melanoma.

2. Instantaneous Results

You do not have to spend several hours in the sun to get that sun-kissed and glowing look with a tanning spray. It will only take about 10-20 minutes to get results, which is perfect for a busy schedule.

3. Streak-Free protective barrier 

Unlike tanning lotions, getting a tanning spray does not leave you feeling messy and sticky. Plus, you will get an even tan when done by an experienced professional; this guarantees a more natural look as possible.

tanning sprays

4. Choosing one’s Shade

When you use self-tanning products, there is little way of distinguishing differences in the shades until you try them out. Spray tanning gives you the freedom to decide how light or dark your tan will be, as skillful therapists are familiar with their products and can easily tailor shades to suit you.

5. Boost Your Confidence

A safe tanning spray can do wonders for your self-confidence. Many women and men give feedback on how a tan spray helps them feel slimmer, more attractive, and more confident about their bodies; that can only be a good thing!

Happy young woman receiving spray tan treatment at the spa

How Safe Is Tanning Spray During Pregnancy?

It is natural to want to look good at all times — including during pregnancy and lactation. If you desire a little extra color for your skin, you can choose a topical sunless tanning product, including mild tanning sprays. Just take extra care and effort to ensure that none of it ends up in your mouth or nose.

A research review showed less systemic absorption of dihydroxyacetone when applied to the skin. However, if you are concerned, it is advisable to avoid a tanning spray during your first trimester, just in case.

If you choose to go for a tanning spray at some point, Ensure that you are taking adequate steps to protect your mucous membranes. If you go to a salon or spa for a session, make sure they offer good protection for your eyes, mouse, nose, and lips.

Do not breathe in any of the tanning solutions when sprayed; the FDA guides against getting it into orifices like your mouth and nose because there is no tangible research to know if risks are found.

FAQ – Are Tanning Sprays Safe?

1. Are self-tanning sprays safe?

As long as you use the sprays correctly and in the right concentration, it is considered low-risk and safe; while some concerns have risen over toxicity from highly concentrated dihydroxyacetone, the use of DHA in self-tan is approved by the United States FDA.

2. Does tanning spray age your skin?

Not only does it cause wrinkles, spots, and discoloration, but it can also increase the risk of developing skin cancer; luckily, tanning sprays can quickly darken your body without causing risks of premature aging, sunburns, or cancer.

3. Does spray tan get into the bloodstream?

When getting a tanning spray, you inhale the chemicals that pass through your lungs, carrying them into your bloodstream.

 4. How many times a week can you use a tanning spray?

Although you can get a tanning spray as often as you would want, we recommend coming in every 10-12 days to give you time to exfoliate, tan, and prepare your skin for the next appointment; maintaining a good spray tan routine will help you keep an even spread.

5. Does tanning spray to wash off? How to wash off tanning spray?

Yes, gently apply a generous layer of baby oil to your skin and sit in a warm bath for about 20 minutes. Rinse off the tanners with a cold shower bath. For older tans, apply a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice to your skin; wipe it with a wet tissue after 4-5 minutes.


Anyone disturbed about whether or not tanning sprays are bad for them can put their uncertainty to rest after carefully going through this post; several days spent in the rays of sunlight is certainly unhealthy and will undoubtedly damage your skin.

Not only does it cause your skin layers to age prematurely, but contributes to the development of dark spots and wrinkles; most distressingly, sun exposure links to various forms of sunburn and skin cancer.

With the new scientific knowledge that suggests that the DHA used in tanning spray booths may also be harmful, it seems clear that it is a health concern. Some say that the self-tanning lotions found in drugstores are better than others; these contain DHA, and there is little chance of inhaling the substance in lotion form. However, it can be absorbed into the skin, changing the makeup of cells; this form of sun tanning may be just as dangerous as the rest.

While the risks and safety of tanning sprays need more research, it is a better idea than baking out in the hot sun.

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