As my daughter ages, my focus moves from toddler and baby issues to those affecting the tweens. I was about her age when tanning beds came into being. I exposed my young skin to these coffins of light trying to reach an ideal of tanned skin in the winter time or in preparation for spring break trips to Florida.
Last fall, California banned tanning beds for minors without parental consent. I wonder, have tweens and teenagers moved on to spray tans as an alternative?
I’ve never had a spray tan. The whole idea I think is bizarre. I am always surprised when someone reveals they have had one.
What exactly is in a spray tan? ABC News reports:
The active chemical used in spray tans, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), has the potential to cause genetic alterations and DNA damage, according to a panel of medical experts who reviewed 10 of the most-current publicly available scientific studies on DHA for ABC News, including a federal report ABC News obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
Six medical experts in areas ranging across the fields of dermatology, toxicology and pulmonary medicine said they “have concerns” after reviewing the literature and reports about DHA, the main chemical in the popular “spray-on” tan, which has conventionally been referred to as the “safe” alternative to tanning under ultraviolet lights.
Of particular concern is the chemical’s inhalation during spray tanning, which was not studied when it was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Incredibly, no long-term studies have been undertaken to examine the health effects of regular use of DHA-based tanning products on people. But it would seem that enough evidence is in from nonhuman research that should scare most of us with any sense away from sunless tanning products.
Thankfully, my daughter does not seek a tan. She has not been exposed to the media images that make her think this is an ideal. Whether at a salon or at home, there won’t be any spray tanning in our family, that’s for sure.