Unfortunately the jury is still out. Although the primary ingredient, DHA (Dihydroxyacetone) has been tested by the FDA and proven safe for external use, there have not been any studies to date about the effects of inhaling or possibly ingesting this substance.
What’s more is that although the DHA has been tested, many of the other ingredients in self-tanner have not. Reports estimate that only 11% of the ingredients have been tested (apparently the rest of the ingredients are up to the manufacturers’ discretion) and if you’ve ever looked at the back of a spray tan bottle before, you know that there is a long list of ingredients (most of which you can’t even pronounce). The longer the list of ingredients, the higher the chance of one or more of these ingredients being unsafe.
Furthermore, just because the FDA has approved something as safe doesn’t really mean anything unfortunately. The FDA approves thousands of products each year that still contain harmful and extremely unnatural ingredients that you don’t want to consume or apply to your body on a regular basis (much like you would a self-tanner).
Bottom line, be cautious, use it in moderation and embrace your natural skin color!
Just as rn4fldhcky mentioned, the FDA doesn’t do much to protect people from harmful chemicals in cosmetic products. If you are interested in learning more about cosmetics and which ingredients to avoid, you can check out this website. Unfortunately, they do not have a clear list of safe products on their website. However, they do have a bunch of recipes so that you can make your own beauty products.
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