I am fake tan OBSESSED. I’ve applied it once or twice a week for years, because of the dangers of sun bed use – conflicting information has come to light about that now too, Vitamin D is goooood, but premature aging and cancer is bad, obvs. When deciding to reduce my toxin and chemical intake, and up my vegan and cruelty free purchases, I discovered sunless tanning (using false tan), is not all that safe, because of parabens and DHA.
Here’s a brief breakdown of the three ingredients which are most toxic in false tan.
Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), is the chemical used in false tans which is responsible for the change in skin colour, and length of time that it lasts. DHA can cause several problems, such as inhibiting our ability to process vitamin D, tests on animals have shown inhalation of DHA compounds to cause cell mutations including cancer. It is advisable that women who are pregnant (why just pregnant people I don’t know!), should avoid spray tans because the effects of inhaling DHA is unknown!
Artificial fragrance or parfum which is the usual term found on most ingredients list also pose a danger to our health. Fragrances tend to be created using phthalates, which are “endocrine disruptors” (see more about what that means here). Basically in short, they mess with our hormones leaving us at greater risk of cancers and other disorders. “Some fragrance ingredients, including several synthetic nitro musks (used as alternatives to animal-derived musks), have been banned by the EU (8,9), due to their toxicity, their tendency to bioaccumulate and their environmental impact. More recently, several phthalates used as fragrances, including bis-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, dibutyl phthalate and benzyl butyl phthalate, were banned for use in cosmetics and children’s toys (10), following their classification as reproductive toxicants (11).” (Breast Cancer UK).
Parabens have been found to cause, hormonal problems, increased risks of cancers and reproductive issues, yet I didn’t give a second thought to covering myself head to toe in this toxin weekly, just because I can buy it freely, I assumed it was safe. That’s not to say it isn’t approved for moderate use, but where do you learn safe amounts, safe uses, chemicals that can clash, and overloading our body with toxins by repeated use.