Spray Tan Dangers


Athens, GA-  Trying to maintain that summer tan can be difficult, so many UGA students have been turning to another method – spray tanning. But Reporter Meredith Dean has found that it may not be a safer alternative.

Spray tanning is quick and easy. Within 5 minutes, you are instantly tan as if you’d been at the beach all summer. UGA student, Andrew Misenheimer, says he gets spray tans regularly at Athens’ Sunshine Tan because he doesn’t like to be pale. “I like them better than actual tanning beds, because I have had skin cancer before so I just try to stay away from actual tanning,” Misenheimer explains.

With spray tans, you avoid the strong UV rays of tanning beds. But recent investigations find that the chemical in spray tan, dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, could possibly damage DNA.  Dr. Rey Panettieri, a lung specialist at the University of Pennsylvania says, “These compounds in some cells could actually promote the development of cancers or malignancies.”

One UGA professor also thinks spray tanning might be a bad idea. UGA Public Health Professor, Dr.Monica Gaughan, says “the FDA has not approved DHA for anything except external use.” And after visiting Sunshine Tan in Athens, I found there’s nothing stopping you from breathing in the spray. Because most of the studies have been done on cells and mice, scientists have not done extensive research on the effects of DHA on humans.

Most students do not know of the potential risks. UGA student Lauren Eppert says, “I think it’s a lot better for your health and everyone does it!” UGA student Ariel Moore’s parents own a tanning salon. She believes it’s not dangerous. “I feel like with everything in life, it’s all about moderation.” And those that know of the risks would still do anything to stay tan. Andrew Misenheimer explains, “I just figure it’s safer than going into an actual tanning bed and getting the ultra violet radiation.”

So unless you plan on covering your mouth, nose, and eyes with protective gear, you may want to avoid spray tans and appreciate your natural skin tone.

By: Meredith Dean & Martha Kim

Filed in: Health, UGA News

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