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Pregnancy & Spray Tans

Updated: Mar 23

The first & most important thing I would like to express is that we are not medical professionals and our opinions do not take the place of medical advise. I only want to relay information we have gathered so that an informed decision about spray tans & pregnancy can be made by our guests. Before getting a spray tan while pregnant or trying to conceive, please consult with your OBGYN.

We do around 200 sprays a week in our busier months. Over the past seven years, I’ve only had 3 doctors (to my knowledge) advise their pregnant patients against getting a spray tan out of an abundance of caution. I'm assuming they don't assume that we have well ventilated rooms that limit the chemicals in the air. I'm not sure if that would have changed their minds or not. We do not use booths or tents in our studios, and that is a game changer. I've had 2 babies & am expecting another through my sunless career so the opinions of these 3 physicians intrigued me.

Typically spray tans have been considered a safe alternative to UV exposure while pregnant. However, our industry is widely unregulated & a lot is unknown, especially when it comes to pregnancy. For one, sunless tanning, self-tanner & sprays, are relatively new. The FDA is most likely never going to do adequate testing to determine if DHA (Dihydroxyacetone) is safe for babies & pregnant mommas. All we are left with is the little information we do have, which we will break down below.

In a nutshell, DHA is the chemical in all sunless tanners that reacts with your skin to give it the brown color. In the majority of articles, DHA is considered safe when used for sunless tanning because most studies suggest it only reacts with the epidermis, the top layer of the skin. However, in one study I read, the author said that up to 11% of the DHA may penetrate deeper layers of the skin, with trace amounts potentially entering your blood stream. One important thing to note is if you are pregnant, you must wear a mask throughout your session. Just like nicotine gets into the bloodstream of a smoker, DHA could possibly enter the bloodstream through the respiratory system too. Hopefully, more information on this becomes available soon.

What do I tell my friends who are pregnant? I tell my friends to always check with their doctor. If their doctor says it's safe, they must always wear a mask, & we only spray for important events such as maternity photos & baby showers. I do not love spraying women in their 1st trimester & feel more comfortable in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. In fact, I've recently turned several clients away who are in their first trimester. No matter what trimester you're in, I would avoid an automated spray tan booth or tent, as these are not well ventilated. I would opt to spray in a studio with a professional backboard or outside, where ventilation is adequate. I hope this is helpful to anyone who is on the fence about what to do!

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