November 11, 2019


We all love a good tan like the next person. As a young’un I used to avoid the sun. You know those insecure teenage years when I didn’t want to get too dark. As much as I look back at that now and laugh, I am actually grateful that my lack of confidence also meant I was doing my skin some good. Exposure during our younger years and the effects of sun will contribute to damage of your skin and the aging process in your older years. So now I like to think I did it purely out of vanity :P

If you didn’t catch my last blog, I shared a breakdown of sunscreens and recommend my top picks for natural screens. And naturally, I felt my next blog should touch on the truth of tanning.

Now I’ve only used a spray tan once. But the experience was enough to wonder how you could do it all the time. The smell, the waiting, the icky feeling and the art of getting it all even. No thank you…..not again…..ever! But I know a tonne of ladies (and men) who get it done regularly.

So what is the dish on the tan!

The billion dollar industry of spray tanning does offer an alternative to damaging UV Rays in achieving that bronzed look. But what most don’t realise are the underlying chemicals hidden within and when used on a regular basis could be potentially affecting your health.

Spray Tans contain an active ingredient know as Dihydroxyacetone, a chemical substance that binds to the amino terminals of epidermal amino acids and proteins. In other words, binds to the cells in your skin to give it a colour via a chemical reaction. The tan effect or reaction continues anywhere from 2-4 to 24 hours after application in a process known as the Malliard Reaction. A spray tan works only on the top most layer of your skin and can last from five days to 2 weeks, and fades overtime as your skin cells shed.

According to the environmental working Group, Dihydroxyaceotne has a low toxicity risk when applied externally. A rating of 1-4 classing it as low to moderate. However, it’s effect of long-term exposure is not exactly known. Despite it being used in the cosmetic industry for over 35 years, its use as a colourant in spray tans is relatively new and limited data is found. Toxic reports, including a report on ABC News a few years ago, indicated that if ingested, inhaled or exposed to mucous membrane it is toxic and potentially linked with asthma, COPD and cancer. Therefore, the fine print on the bottle recommends taking protective measures like nose plugs and eye goggles to reduce exposure. But who 

Despite DHA, there are a few other chemicals within spray tan that could be causing you harm to. Including the following:

  1. Sodium Hydroxymethyglycinate: This baby can be found to contain formaldehyde which is added during its processing and is often used as a ‘natural preservative’
  2. Amyl acetate- now this is a doosy. This ingredient is used in the dry cleaning industry to remove plastic based stains. Ummmmm………..
  3. Fragrance and colours- Artificial colours, fragrances, perfumes, aromatic blends help to improve the scent and look of the product but have been linked to a number of health hazards including endocrine disruption.
  4. Octyl stearate-this ingredient can block pores and is irritating to the skin.
  5. Mineral Oil- No, no, no! Derived from petroleum and carcinogenic
  6. Isopropryl myristate- Also known to block pores and potentially be linked with cancer through its ability to bind to nitrates.