Is It Safe To Use Spray Tans During Pregnancy?

Spray Tans During Pregnancy

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Looking for a sun-kissed glow in pregnancy? Spray tanning should naturally be the first option that comes to your mind. But how safe is the concept of using spray tans during pregnancy? Learn more about the process and its effect on pregnancy.

What Is Spray Tanning?

A topical application of chemicals to the skin to produce a ‘suntan’ effect is called spray tanning. As more people fear sunburn which could result in a skin cancer later in life, spray tanning is a practical alternative to sunbathing (1).

Popularity Of Spray Tanning:

Since the early 1970s, sunless tanning or spray tanning has been in vogue. Also referred to as self-tanning or fake tanning, the concept took its origin from the idea of tanned skin is attractive. Sunless tanners dye the dead outer layer of the skin using a cream or a spray tanner either in a salon or at the comforts of the home to get the bronzed look. A highly popular concept among even the beach goers today, you can get the tan on without fear of exposing yourself to the harmful health hazards of UV rays of the sun. Now this is why, spray tanning takes the name of UV-free tanning (2).

Pregnancy And Spray Tanning:

Pregnant women who love to bask in the sunlight and flaunt a lovely skin tan are discouraged to go out under the sun without enough protective clothing. Pregnant skin is considered most sensitive, hence the possibility of developing a sunburn and rash is on the high. Therefore, pregnant women are asked to wear a long sleeved clothing, wide-brimmed hats, and organic sunscreen before directly exposing the skin to the sun. But that denies the pleasure of developing a tan on the skin.

Here is when sunless tanners come to the scene in pregnancy. You can safely tan your skin by using a sunless tanner made up of natural ingredients.

[ Read: Skin Darkening During Pregnancy ]

Tanning Beds:

Another concept of tanning the skin is through tanning beds. If you are not happy with the idea of developing the tan by applying a cream or through airbrush tanning and need some light on your body, tanning beds are an option. Bulbs emit UV A and UV B light rays into the body to create the tan. Even though these rays are not powerful enough to penetrate into the womb and harm the baby, it is better to avoid the process during pregnancy because there is a chance to get dehydrated. The act of overheating can lead to fluid loss in the body, which is not desirable at this time (3).

Ill Effects Of Spray Tans During Pregnancy:

Are spray tans safe during pregnancy? The concept of sun in a bottle is not a safe option to handle, not just in pregnancy, but in most other situations too. Find out why by considering following facts.

In order to bring that subtle bronze glow or a deep dark tan, self-tanners are added with DHA. When smeared to the skin, DHA oxidizes and injects the top skin layer with a browning color that sheds off in five days. But that doesn’t make these tanners safe to use. When exposed to UV rays, the DHA generates more free radicals compared to untreated skin thereby promoting skin-aging. And in pregnancy, an application of DHA based tanners can increase your skin’s sun sensitivity. However, DHA isn’t though to penetrate into the body and harm the baby in the womb.

Talc-based tanners are heavily available in the markets. It is better to stay away from these as talc have a notorious reputation to cause ovarian cancer in women. Fake tan creams will be the better ones to pick from the lot.

If there is an option, always choose fake tan creams to spray tans when pregnant. The ill-effects of inhaling these sprays are still not clear in pregnancy.

Steer clear of tanning pills. Banned in UK, these pills contain canthaxanthin which are commonly used in the food coloring and can be teratogenic (causing harm to your unborn baby). Some of its other side effects include the development of hepatitis and damage to the retina. Also, do not inject your body with melanotan. The safety of such products on the normal skin itself is questionable, so do not go opt for it during the pregnancy period (4).

Fake tans can induce allergic reactions in pregnant skin. Do a patch test in a small area of a less visible part of your body before doing the actual self-tanning.

Smart Tanning In Pregnancy:

Don’t think tanning is also going to be another thing in the long list of no-no’s in pregnancy. You can talk to your dermatologist to find safer ways of tanning.

Choose a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen and apply it thoroughly over the body before going under the sun. The constituents in most sunscreens are considered safe to use during pregnancy. You can reapply sunscreen after every two hours of sweating.

Strengthen your skin-defense through a carotenoid-rich diet. You can develop good immunity from the harmful effects of sun rays by eating foods rich in lutein, zexathenin, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lycopene. You can find a rich source of all these minerals in foods like tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, zucchini, and carrots. Include them plenty in your pregnancy diet and stay safe from sunburns (5).

If you would like to use a self-tanner only use the ones which contain a natural alternative to DHA. Get separate products for your face and body. Though this sounds expensive, it will reduce your risk of developing skin cancer by using harmful ingredients in the skin (6).

Chemicals are always questionable components to use during pregnancy. The anytime better option in pregnancy will be to develop a safe suntan with a limited exposure to sunlight. Some amount of sunlight is actually necessary to replenish your vitamin D Stock, a much needed entity to build calcium stores for you and your baby.

So dab your skin with a good mineral-based sunscreen, put on that huge hat and dark goggles and enjoy the sun for some time. Your skin will get the natural glow it deserves! So what is your choice in pregnancy? Spray tans or safe suntans?

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