Is It Safe to Spray Tan While Pregnant?
During pregnancy, mothers-to-be have to forgo certain foods, vices, and maintain a healthy lifestyle, all for the health of their little bundles of joy. Should they also have to give up spray tanning in their beauty routines?
Sunless tanning has been deemed a "safer alternative to sun bathing" by the Mayo Clinic, along with the Skin Cancer Foundation, American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Dermatology Association, but does this mean it is safe for pregnant women and their unborn babies?
DHA (Dihydroxyacetone), is the active ingredient in most spray tanning solutions. DHA is a natural sugar based product that is said to only affect the top few layers of skin, and does not enter the bloodstream. There have been no conclusive studies done to prove that DHA is harmful in the amounts applied during a normal spray tanning session. Proper precautions should be taken, however, to avoid breathing in the spray or contact with mucus membranes. The FDA recommends the following items be used during EVERY spray tan session, whether one is pregnant or not:
Use protective eye-wear
Use nose filters
Seal lips with lip balm
Use protective undergarments
There is controversy between some scientists on whether or not spray tanning is deemed safe, in general. In a report, dated 1999, agency scientists cited "new information" discovered by non-FDA researchers who had tested DHA in laboratory settings and found it had the potential for what they called a "mutagenic" effect on genes. The various studies, conducted mostly by university researchers, tested DHA's effects on different types of cells and organisms, including bacteria, salmonella, ecoli and mice skin cells grown in a lab. None of the tests done at the time tested human cells or humans themselves. Still, the results were enough to prompt the agency in the 1990s to attempt to determine how much DHA might be seeping into the living areas of the body when applied to the skin to tan. If proven, this would be a concern for possible birth defects of babies born to women who spray tan while pregnant.
The tanning industry and even many in the field of dermatology have always thought DHA only interacted with proteins in the outer protective layers of human skin, also called the stratum corneum, where the skin cells are already dead and where DHA could pose no health risk. However, the FDA concludes that "probably" only 0.5 percent of each application of DHA becomes "systemically available," meaning distributed throughout the body after reaching the bloodstream. The agency concluded that 0.5 percent of an applied dose of DHA was poor absorption, and no further testing was done to check for actual toxicological impacts on the human body. The thinking was that because only a little bit of DHA entered the bloodstream, the health risk would be very low.
Our knowledge, expertise, and research has shown getting the occasional spray tan during pregnancy should not pose a major threat to the mother or baby with the use of the proper FDA recommendations for safety precautions when spray tanning in a booth or custom handheld sprayer. Lung specialist, Dr. Panettieri, believes the dose from an individual spray tan or two is likely low enough to not have a demonstrable impact on someone's health, but he would definitely "have concerns" for those who regularly spray tan, week after week.
Infinite Glow always recommends discussing with an obstetrician any risks he/she feels spray tanning may pose during pregnancy. It is also recommended any spray tanning that is done during pregnancy occur after the first trimester. There have been no documented detrimental issues or cases in humans with the low DHA percentages used in sunless tanners. Since there have been no incidents and the risks of using DHA in spray tanning is very low, there have not been comprehensive studies completed on the total effects of DHA tanning, so precautions are recommended "just to be safe". Pregnant woman should always put the safety of their baby first, discuss with their doctor the safety of spray tanning and consider any possible risk to the fetus before scheduling their spray tanning session.
I can admit that I HAD to spray tan during pregnancy to help myself feel and look more attractive as my baby took over my body. I had the most compliments during this time on "how wonderful I looked" and that I was "simply glowing" during my pregnancy. Little did they know, it was all actually due to my natural Infinite Glow spray tan! ;)
Source: ABC News