Spray Tans Might Cause Cancer Too

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We’ve talked about all of the ways that the sun can age you and cause melanoma. So if you’ve listened to all of our pleas to wear sunscreen daily and to avoid tanning beds at all costs, then here’s a figurative gold star for you. While dermatologists have urged people to embrace their natural skin color, many still opt for safer ways like spray tans. But are they actually safe?

Recent studies, including one conducted by ABC News, have revealed that spray tans are not necessarily the safest alternative to tanning beds or laying out. These studies found that a chemical found in many spray tans can actually promote the development of cancer. The chemical in question is dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, the ingredient that causes the skin to darken.

DHA has been approved by the FDA for outside use, specifically for use in tanning creams. But it hasn’t been approved for cases where it’s eaten, inhaled or used around the lips and eyes.

Translation: If you spray tan, it’s very likely that you could inhale the chemical or absorb it in other ways. The only way to know that you’re avoiding the harmful chemical is to look for products that don’t list DHA in the ingredients list, or simply stop spray tanning as a whole.

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