Spray Tanning: The Safe Alternative to Sun Bathing?

I love to lay outside and soak up some sweet sunshine.  Given my Latvian descent, summertime usually bestows upon my skin a bronzey hue.  There is just something about being tan that makes me feel more confident and radiant.  This past year, however I have decided it is time to grow up, trade in the SPF 4 for 45 and save myself from a future full of wrinkly skin and having to decide if I agree with botox.  So, I started to spray tan.


I have been feeling proud of myself this summer for laying under the umbrella rather than the direct sunlight and instead making a weekly visit to the spray tanning salon to be instead airbrushed with chemicals.  Until I read this article.

Spray tanning contains the ingredient DHA (dihydroxyacetone) which acts to change amino acids in the skin resulting in skin darkening.  The FDA recently came out with a warning stating that DHA can irritate the lungs.  Further studies have shown that skin treated with DHA generates 180% more free radicals than skin exposed to the sun.  Free radicals are linked to accelerated aging, cancer and heart defects.  DHA also alters the skin’s natural defenses so when it comes into contact with UV radiation it is more damaging.  

Maybe it is time to re-think my “safe” alternative to sunshine.