Remember when our parents used to say, “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?” The latest tanning trend has us saying the same thing—and trust us—no one ever wants to sound like a disapproving parent. However, watching people snort a nasal spray just to get a tan has us saying, “Don’t do it!”
The trend in question involves inhaling a nasal tanning spray to enhance skin color, but the skin-care experts we spoke to said unequivocally it’s a big no-no as the practice can be harmful to your health. The viral beauty tip has been making the rounds on social media, however the main ingredient in many nasal tanning accelerators, melanotan is banned in several countries including the U.S.
“The issue with this nasal tanning spray with melanotan is that, one, it’s inhaling and ingesting a chemical that is completely unregulated,” says Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD. “Supplements, vitamins, and cosmetics are only tested and vetted upon the discretion of their respective company or business that own them. Neither the federal government nor the FDA has any incentive, interest, and/or law dictating, guiding, or governing the safety and efficacy of these potentially harmful substances, no matter how innocuous they may appear on the surface.”
Saddle Brook, NJ dermatologist Dr. Fredric Haberman agrees and says the side effects, which include nausea, flushing, and increased blood pressure, are not worth the risk for just a little added color. “The ingredients are mixed with dangerous chemicals that can vary significantly based on the product,” he says. “Inhaling this solution causes it to travel through the mucous membranes, which may harm internal organs.”
While you may be able to achieve a darker skin tone by inhaling melanotan, the long-term effects are not known, and the skin experts we spoke to said it’s not known if further side effects will be detectable years or decades later. “All in all, nasal spraying with melanotan may be innocuous at best, but may actually be extremely dangerous and harmful at worst,” adds Dr. Honet. “Is a beautiful tan really worth this risk? I don’t think so. Spray tans and bronzers are still the safest options.”