Are Spray Tans Safe?


The data on UV ray exposure risk is clear, but are spray tans really a healthy alternative? While the medical community answers a resounding yes [spray tanning is the preferred alternative], we believe the answer to that question lies in scrutiny of the two types of ingredients that make up your spray tan solution: your active ingredients and inactive ingredients.

In this case, the active ingredient in spray tan solutions and sunless tanners is called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA for short. It’s a manmade ingredient often deriving from some sort of sugar, like beet sugar or apple sugar, that reacts with the top layer of your skin to create the semi-permanent color we refer to as a tan. DHA has been approved by the FDA for external use in cosmetics since 1973, which means that it has been widely used amongst consumers for over 45 years without incident. DHA has no known toxicity and is not absorbed through the skin into the body, which is great news for health and safety buffs like ourselves. Over the years, this ingredient has been refined to create the I-can’t-believe-that’s-not-real looking tans that our clients flip for in studio.

When it comes to the inactive ingredients, this is where brands like Pure Glow really stand apart from the conventional types, and where your health may be in jeopardy. Inactive ingredients should exist to support the active ingredients, allowing them to shine and perform as intended. In a quality spray tan solution or any quality cosmetic, this is often where your secondary benefits will come from. In the example of Pure Glow, our inactive ingredients exist to support the adherence of DHA by prepping and conditioning the skin. This is done with nourishing ingredients, certified organic and safe synthetics, like Aloe Vera, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and COQ10 that leave the skin better off than it started by hydrating, brightening, softening, negating free radicals (another way of saying combating sun damage) and creating elasticity. Not all spray tan brands are as ingredient and health focused as we are though, and as a result, this is where a variety of toxic chemicals may be hiding. Instead of supporting the inactive ingredients properly, we often see fillers and low cost yet less effective inactive ingredients listed by the dozens, often with technical names we haven’t heard of and struggle to pronounce.

We know that the skin is the largest organ, providing vital services to protect the health and functioning of our entire body. We also know that up to 90% of what we put on it can be absorbed into the blood stream. The most popular spray tan service is the full body, which is a spray tan that is applied from head to toe.

We exist to make the safest spray tan available and accessible to you. Get to know what’s in your spray tan, and follow along with us to learn more about our ingredients, as well as common ingredients to avoid.