The Sunless Tan Is Safe – Right?

Plastic Surgeon serving Lutherville Timonium, Baltimore & Columbia areas of Maryland

There have been warnings out for years, articles, blogs and studies about the dangers of excess sun exposure. All of these forms of information to the public have brought about sunless tanning products in a variety of forms the past few years. Now experts question, are these products safe, some that you apply yourself or the ones in tanning salons that are sprayed on? For the most part, while these products contain and active ingredient, DHA, it appears to be safe for external use.

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is the only FDA-approved skin-tinting additive. It is colorless sugar material that when applied to the skin, interacts with the dead skin cells on your outer skin. It simply stains the skin making it appear darker. Since dead cells The effect is temporary, because as the dead cells shed naturally, the color will fade and disappear, usually in a week's time. This is why reapplying the product is required if you want to maintain that darker look. To date, no studies have determined or shown that these tanning products lead to skin cancer.

So for now, tanning lotions are healthier than getting tanned on the beach, at the pool or in a tanning bed. Even though suntans fad in time, usually within a few days, the DNA of your skin cells has broken down and your skin has already been harmed permanently by the sun's UV rays.

There are a few concerns about the sunless tanning products too. Such as some users have experienced allergic reactions and you most definitely, want to make sure the product doesn’t get in your eyes, mouth or nose. It is always recommended to test a small area that is not visible, to see how it your skin reacts.

Choose a tanning product that contains a minimum SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15, the higher the number the better. If the product you decide on doesn’t contain SPF, you need to apply an separate SPF product just as you would normally. At no time, should you not be using a SPF on a regular basis for the safest protection against the sun's UV rays.

So be sure to check the label, ask your tanning salon or give us a call at The Plastic Surgery Center of Maryland to verify your choice of self-tanning product contains DHA and if the amount of SPF is sufficient for you.

As always, the safest thing to do is stay out of the sun. However, if you're looking bronzed, that's probably not what you have in mind. So an important factor to remember is that just because your skin looks tan, that doesn’t provide you with any protection from actual sun exposure.