We all know through many studies conducted that using indoor tanning beds is very unhealthy and have been shown through many leading studies that is can result in skin cancer. Because this is not a risk many people are willing to take, a lot of people now tend to lean towards the “healthier” version of tanning, spray tans. Spray tans have become widely popularized this pass decade for being a healthy alternative for indoor tanning. From the Kardashians, to girls getting a little glow before their prom, receiving a spray tan is not an odd thing to do in todays society. But have you ever wondered what is in this magical mist that can make you look like you went to a tropical island for a month, in just seconds.
Picture from here
While searching for common chemicals found in spray tans, one chemical that kept reoccurring is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). This is a plant based chemical used in sunless tanning lotions, and is approved by the FDA for external use of the body. So what could be wrong with this chemical if the FDA says its okay and it is created through a natural process?
A study was conducted by six leading scientist, all in different fields to confirm their hypothesis of the chemical DHA in spray tans being harmful to living organisms. They thought that the harm DHA was possibly doing to organisms was altering the genes in their cells. The Scientist were concerned with this because of the fact that it is so easy to inhale spray tans. Inhaling the chemical DHA contained in the spray tans could get into your lungs and seep through to your blood stream. This is an easy way for the harmful chemical to alter the genes in your cells. This is a large concern because these altered cells could activate the development of cancer cells growing.
When DHA was tested in the lab, it was never tested on any human being cells. This is one downsides of this experiment because you cannot always infer in studies that the same effects will happen on different types of organisms. One of the reasons human cells were not tested on because if DHA is a harmful chemical to humans, that would not be ethical to do so.
So when DHA was tested on these cells, it was recorded that it did in fact alter the genes of some of the organisms cells being tested on. This was tested by multiple scientist and on multiple different organisms, and all found some sort of change to cells.
So what can we infer from these studies? Some say only time will tell, but mot scientist say we should be concerned. Though not many studies and test have been done on this problem yet, some scientist say that the data we have today is enough to say that DHA is harmful and should be refrained from putting on the body. This concern of DHA should defiantly be studied more, because of the recent popularity spike in spray tans.