Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Tanning spray is sometimes touted as a “safe alternative” for obtaining a sun-bronzed look, but the chemicals used in the spray are now under fire from health officials.
The chemical in question is DHA, which is approved for sun tan lotions because there is less of a threat of it coming in contact with one’s eyes or mouth.
But the FDA has not approved DHA for tanning sprays because of the increased chance that it can come in contact with one’s eyes, mouth, or nose.
Dr. Ross Sullivan, with the Upstate New York Poison Control Center, says long-term studies on the health risks haven’t been completed.
"More studies are definitely needed before we can start saying that these are dangerous. One thing that we can say is that sunbathing without sunscreen or going to tanning booths are probably still more dangerous than these new spray tans are,” he said.
Those who spray tan can take some precautions such as wearing protective eye gear to keep the mist out. Experts also suggest keeping your mouth closed while being sprayed, to avoid breathing in DHA.
Some tanning salons actually offer an all-natural spray tan formula. Chris Corlyon, from Hot Tropix in Fairmount, tells NewsChannel 9 they offer a DHA-free spray.
Although approved by the FDA for tanning lotion, DHA may also damage skin cells, according to some experts.