Sometimes your pregnancy glow needs a little boost, and you're hoping to deepen your skin tone with an instant tan. But is spray tanning safe during pregnancy? It's a valid question for pregnant women to ask, since not all spray tans are created equal. But before dashing into your fave salon, you'll want to know the facts about the different types of spray tans and how certain ingredients can affect you and that little bun in the oven. As long as you're mindful and ask the right questions, you can bronze up that bump in a matter of minutes.
In general, tanning while pregnant is tricky. As the American Pregnancy Association (APA) warned, the risks of tanning in the sun while pregnant come down to the damage that UV rays are capable of doing. Aside from the regular side effects of sun exposure — like premature aging and sink cancer — too much sun while pregnant has its own set of dangers. The biggest concern is the potential for UV rays to break down your folic acid, which can lead to neural tube defects, according to the APA. Cosmetically, you can also develop Mask Of Pregnancy, or chloasma, which are dark patches that develop on your face during pregnancy.
Because of the dangers too much sun exposure pose, if you're going to tan while pregnant, fake is the way to go. Being pregnant, however, means you're not as free as when you didn't have to consider the human growing inside you. Before you make your appointment, you'll need to take a few precautions for protection. As CBS News reported, the main culprit compromising spray tan safety is dihydroxyacetone (DHA), one of the ingredients responsible for that golden glow. Although there has not been enough research to prove the side effects of DHA, scientist believe this chemical can enter the bloodstream through the lungs once it is inhaled.
Due to the unknown long term effects of DHA on humans, the website for Baby Med recommended that a pregnant woman wear protection over her eyes, nose, ears, and mouth to prevent inhaling any DHA while spray tanning. If these safety precautions cannot be met, it may be best to steer clear of spray tanning until after you have the baby or find another salon. "The effects of DHA on the pregnancy are simply not known — but it hasn't been proven to be safe in pregnancy," Ashley Roman, doctor of maternal and fetal medicine, told The Bump. "My general advice is to avoid it until it has been proven to cause no harm."
But if you just can't take your pasty skin, there may be a spray tan option that you can feel good about while pregnant. If you search around, you might be able to find a salon that uses DHA-free products for spray tans. As more and more people are becoming cautious about what goes on and in their body, service providers are adapting to offer organic and chemical free tanning solutions. To be confident you are protecting your baby, call ahead and ask the salon what products they use, then do some research to guarantee these products do not contain DHA. This way, you'll be able to enjoy your glow with no worries.