New study finds spray tan chemicals could pose a danger to your lungs

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POSTED: Monday, June 18, 2012 - 2:30pm

UPDATED: Monday, June 18, 2012 - 2:34pm

It’s widely known that exposure to the sun's rays can cause skin cancer, but is spray tanning just as dangerous?

Carla Homez has maintained her bronze glow with self-spray tans for ten years now.

She says she uses it on her “arms, legs, even face, neck, chest – everything.”

Her use of spray tanning means she has been exposing her lungs to the active chemical used in spray tans, dihydroxy-acetone, or DHA, which browns the skin.

“When you do the spray tanning using dihydroxy-acetone, there could be a risk that if it is absorbed or inhaled, it could be affecting the lungs but also in the circulation affect other organs,” warns dermatologist Dr. Leyda Bowes.

She explained that a new study shows the compounds, when inhaled or ingested, can cause mutations in the cells and actually promote the development of cancers, including lung cancer.

Such results were shown in a study involving live cells and organisms, not actual humans.

The FDA approved the use of DHA as an ingredient in tanning lotions or creams, but it has not approved the use of DHA in an all-over spray.

Bowes advises that if you continue spray tanning, wear masks, goggles and protective undergarments, and do not inhale the chemicals through your eyes, lips or nose.

For Homez, the new study is reason enough to stop her weekly spray tan sessions.

“I am very concerned now. I’m definitely going to stop using it,” she said.

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