Wednesday, July 11, 2012


By Jada Lombard

Spray Tanning: The Safe Alternative to Sun Tanning and UV Tanning?

Photo courtesy of The Elite Academy

Ahh, summer is here and I don’t know about you, but the number of golden tanned folks has quadrupled in my city much like your city I would imagine. Despite years of advice from medical professionals warning the public about the dangers of the sun and UV tanning, many folks continue to tan both indoors and out in the pursuit of the perfect golden glow. 

So what’s a girl or guy to do if they are eager to look tanned but want to avoid the dangers of the sun and UV tanning? Come on, admit it, if you could safely swap out your pasty, glow in the dark, snow-white-esque skin for a healthy, sun kissed glow, why wouldn’t you? Where is the harm in that? 

Enter the new and improved cosmetic tanning solution, DHA spray tanning. It has been touted for many years as the “safe” alternative to sun tanning and UV tanning. It looks great, smells much better than the at home use systems, and costs about the same as going UV tanning. But is it as innocuous as the spray tanning industry would like you to believe? 

Photo courtesy of Zimbio

DHA (dehydroxyacetone) is a substance derived from fruit sugar that reacts with proteins on the surface of your skin. It is a simple carbohydrate often derived from plant sources such as sugar beets and sugar cane, primarily used as an ingredient in sunless tanning products. DHA reacts chemically with the amino acids in the skin, which are part of the protein containing keratin layer on the skin surface, producing coloration from yellow to brown. DHA does not penetrate beyond the stratum corneum - dead skin surface layer. 

Sounds safe enough right? Most certainly when used in the traditional “rub on” form. However, it is today’s technology, the use of DHA in its liquid form in HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) spray tanning guns that is ruffling the feathers of scientists and medical professionals. Recent reports from the medical community, as limited and vague as they have been, have raised concerns regarding the safety of using DHA in spray tanning applications. 

Health concerns, that have yet to be proven, include possible: DNA disruption, birth defects, exacerbation of respiratory issues, and the possibility of lung cancer with prolonged exposure. Now, whether or not these concerns are valid remains to be seen as spray tanning using a DHA based solution has NOT been studied and it has not been proven to cause any of these issues, it does however warrant further investigation. 

Photo courtesy of Extreme

You see, DHA has been approved for cosmetic/topical use but not for use on the eye area or mucous membranes (nose and mouth). This is because this application has not been presented to the FDA for consideration and evaluation, not because it has been deemed unsafe. In fact, sunless spray tanning is recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation, American Academy of Dermatology Association, Canadian Dermatology Association, and the American Medical Association as a “safer” alternative to sun-bathing. 

In the meantime, what is one to do to protect their health if they choose to opt for a spray tan instead of traditional sun tanning or UV tanning? 

My recommendation is to find a spray tanning salon in your area that offers spray tanning protection to its clients. Protection for the nose would consist of either cotton balls or “Sniffits” which are mini filters that can be placed inside your nostrils to filter any overspray/solution that may enter. To protect your eye area you will either want to keep your eyes closed during your entire session or use UV tanning goggles to protect your eyes from the solution. You can also use cotton balls in your ears and avoid speaking/opening your mouth/breathing through your mouth during your session to avoid inhalation. Your spray tanning booth/room should also be well ventilated and be equipped with a box fan equipped with a filter to suck any overspray away from you and into the filter. 

With today’s technology, and being armed with knowledge regarding spray tanning safety, you really can pursue the perfect golden glow safely and easily! 

Jada Lombard

Makeup Artist 
Owner of The Green Bath & Beauty Company 

Jada Lombard is a Professional Freelance Makeup Artist, Aesthetician, and Skincare Expert. She is the owner of The Green Bath & Beauty Company, a beauty salon that offers all natural, Organic, Vegan, Aesthetic services and beauty products.

The Green Bath & Beauty Company 
 1724 Bath Road 
 Kingston, Ontario 
 K7M 4Y2 
(001) 613-767-4656 


  1. Just couldn’t leave your website before telling you that we really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors… Will be back often to check up on new posts.

  2. You can have a really effective company if you do not ignore these locations of running a tanning beauty salon. It can be enjoyable to have such a company and you can make lots of cash at it too. bronzing boutique


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