Can tanning lotions give you a bronze glow without boosting your risk of skin cancer and wrinkles?
The active ingredient in most sunless tanners is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). It makes you look tanned by reacting with amino acids in your skin.
The European Union considers DHA safe, based on studies (mostly in animals) that evaluated DHA’s ability to be absorbed through the skin or cause skin irritation, toxicity to the reproductive system, cancer, and more.
But sunless tanners won’t protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, so wear sunscreen if you use them. And avoid getting them in your mouth, eyes, or any other area covered by a mucous membrane. (The risks of possible DHA absorption through mucous membranes aren’t known.)
Bottom Line: Sunless tanners are a safer bet than sunbathing or tanning salons.
The information in this post first appeared in the March 2020 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter.
Find this article interesting and useful?
Nutrition Action Healthletter subscribers regularly get sound, timely information about staying healthy with diet and exercise, delicious recipes, and the inside scoop on healthy and unhealthy foods in supermarkets and restaurants. If you don’t already subscribe to the world’s most popular nutrition newsletter, click here to join hundreds of thousands of fellow health-conscious consumers.
Have a comment, question, or idea?
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. While we can’t respond to every email, we’ll be sure to read your message.