Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is spray tanning safe?"
During the winter I want to use spray tanning to help keep my color until the next summer. Is this safe? Can it damage your skin in any way?
Spray tanning is emerging as an alternative to traditional tanning, and it is offered now in many beauty salons around the country. The way it works is that a chemical that reacts with dead skin in the surface of the skin, turning them temporarily brown, is applied to the surface of the body. The good news is that spray tanning is generally safe and harmless. Certainly, it is much better than lying out in the sun or using a tanning booth, as both of these tanning procedures greatly increase the risk of skin cancer and also prematurely age the skin, leading to blemishes and wrinkles at a young age. Some people may have mild allergic reaction to the chemical that is used. If you experience redness and itching with your first time spray tanning, you will need to discontinue the procedure in the future. However, if you don't react to the chemical, then it should be safe for you. When you go to the spray booth, make sure not to inhale the spray. Also, make sure to protect your eyes and mouth, as the product should not be allowed to get onto mucus membrane surfaces. Please do talk to your primary care doctor to get more information about this issue.
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