There’s a great deal of controversy about the safety of indoor tanning. Industry experts claim that it’s perfectly safe and a much better alternative to outdoor tanning while medical experts tend to say the opposite. In case indoor tans seem too risky for you, there’s another “sunless” option: spray tanning booths.

Spray Tanning Booths are booths that spray the user with a coating of dihydroxyacetone, which is the active ingredient in bronzers that give the skin an instant tanned look. The tan produced from a DHA spray tanning booth usually lasts around five to seven days.

Some may be turned off by the sound of spraying a chemical to produce a tan, but there’s no reason to be. DHA is not absorbed by the body and it isn’t known to be toxic. DHA has been listed with the Food and Drug Administration since 1973 and has been used in cosmetic products for nearly three decades. Plus, if the idea of spray on chemicals makes you uneasy, it might help to remember that most sun blocks and sunscreens, the stuff that protects you from developing skin cancer, are artificial chemicals as well.

The DHA sprayed in DHA spray tanning booths is colored with additives, which is authorized under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. DHA is restricted to external application only, which means that it cannot be applied to the lips or any other part of the body covered by a mucous membrane.

Possible Concerns

The only big worry when it comes to spray tanning booths is the difficulty one has in controlling DHA exposure. Since DHA is authorized for external use only, the salon you visit must ensure that the machine will not get DHA into your eyes, lips mouth or nose. If possible make sure you protect those areas before entering the booth. Speak with the staff at the salon for more information on how to safely use a DHA spray tanning booth.

According to the FDA, they have received some reports from consumers mentioning adverse effects that have resulted after using a DHA spray tanning booth. Some of the symptoms reported include rashes, coughing, dizziness and fainting. For some people this may be an allergic reaction to DHA. It is important to check with your doctor to determine beforehand whether or not DHA is safe for your body. Pre existing medical conditions can cause additional and unforeseen complications.

Spray tanning booths, while not as popular as tanning beds, are springing up at higher-end salons. A session usually runs around $100, but prices may vary. Many salons offer packages, which might include multiple tan sessions, tanning products, and follow up advice at discounted prices. Always be sure to ask for any deals or specials before making a purchase!