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Can You Get a Spray Tan While Pregnant? [A Safety Guide]

Written by Lexi Carlson
Medically Reviewed by Denise Christine Bries, MD
Can You Get a Spray Tan While Pregnant_ [A Safety Guide]

Pregnant women naturally get that glowing skin — especially after the third month of pregnancy.

But you might want to enhance that glow. Or, maybe you’re still before or already after that point, and your skin is just feeling lackluster.

In these cases, you might consider treating yourself by getting a gorgeous tan at the salon.

But can you get a spray tan while pregnant? Let’s find out!

Is it Safe to Get a Spray Tan While Pregnant?

Yes, spray tans are generally safe for expecting mothers to get a fake tan. In fact, getting a spray tan is one of the SAFEST ways to get a fake tan while you’re pregnant.

For one, in contrast to tanning beds, you don’t need to expose yourself to UV rays.

Another reason is these sprays have DHA, which is non-toxic to the skin.

This active ingredient only interacts with the OUTERMOST layer of cells to create a brown pigment. They’ll naturally wear off as your body sheds off the outer layer of cells.

What Are the Risks of Getting a Spray Tan When Pregnant?

In reality, it’s difficult to say how safe it is to get a spray tan during pregnancy.

That’s because there’s not a lot of scientific evidence to explain it. There just haven’t been many studies on how products affect pregnant women yet.

Indeed, the skin doesn’t absorb much DHA, but inhaling DHA might give you a host of problems.

These health issues can include cancer and gene mutation for you. It’s still not sure if DHA can harm your unborn baby.

Another risk is that you might develop allergic reactions to your product.

There’s just too much gray area with this kind of tanning. Because of that, your doctor might tell you to avoid spray tans altogether while pregnant.

But some are more lenient, saying to avoid them only in your first trimester of pregnancy.

Ingredients to Look Out for in Spray Tans

Some spray tanning solution brands tend to contain some harmful chemicals such as:

  • Dimethyl Ether – This gas gives the spray its misting properties. It’s colorless but can cause health problems if exposed for too long, such as a toxic reaction. It can also cause an aerosol burn.
  • PEG-8 Laurate and PEG-4 Dilaurate – These two are emulsifiers that can cause inflammation and chronic disease.
  • PEG-45 Palm Kernal Glycerides – This chemical is also an emulsifier. But on top of that, it’s also an emollient, which can cause irritation and inflamed hair follicles (possibly leading to boils)

The problem is that tanning salons don’t always tell you what’s in their sprays.

But as with DHA, these chemicals are harmful if they get into your body rather than on your skin. 

However, you can try asking tanning salons what goes into their formulas.

This makes you more confident in your decision on whether or not you should get a spray tan with them.

Again, it’s unsure how they’ll affect a pregnant woman’s baby. But it’s still worth knowing which ingredients to steer clear of even after your pregnancy.

How Can I Make My Spray Tanning Experience Safer During Pregnancy?

You can take some precautions to lower the risks involved in spray tanning during pregnancy.

For one, you can prevent inhalation. 

  • You can do this by wearing a mask to limit the amount of spray you can inhale. Some salons even offer a filter for your nose too.
  • Check if the salon is well-ventilated or has ventilation fans so you’re not standing in a room polluted with the spray.

It would be best if you also protect your other mucous membranes, which can easily absorb the spray.

These include wearing lip balm on your lips and covering your eyes.

You can also consider looking for a salon that offers organic spray tan brands. These have natural and mineral-based ingredients like jojoba extract and coconut oil.

They’re good for sensitive skin and can be used even during your first trimester — and changing hormone levels makes your skin more sensitive when you’re pregnant.

However, you still SHOULD NOT inhale these sprays in large quantities.

You might also be able to ask for a patch test on a small area before getting spray-tanned. This lets you know in the next 24 hours if you’ll develop an allergic reaction to their solution.

But if you’re still unsure about anything, it’s best to consult a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few questions on the safety of tanning during pregnancy.

What Are Sunless Tanning Methods Aside From Spray Tanning?

Not all indoor tanning alternatives are better than sprays. But below are some of them:

  1. Tanning beds – Tanning beds present risks, regardless of whether you’re pregnant or not. They’ll raise your body temperature, which can harm the baby.
    • A tanning bed also releases UVA and UVB rays, increasing your risk of skin cancer — even if you wear sunscreen.
  2. Tanning pills – These pills have high amounts of canthaxanthin, which makes your skin darker. In low dosages, this substance is safe. But if you ingest too much, you’re at risk of crystal deposits forming in your eyes.
    • Additionally, these pills might also be unsafe for a pregnant woman since the chemical can be toxic to the baby.
  3. Self-tanning lotions – These self-tanners are the safest among the three, regardless of whether you’re pregnant or not. They work the same way sprays do, giving you a gorgeous tan while keeping both you and the baby safe.

Is Sun Exposure a Safer Way to Tan?

Having the right amount of sun exposure is alright.

But TOO MUCH will cause sun damage and other health conditions — including hyperpigmentation and heat exhaustion.

If you decide to get a light tan under the sun, don’t forget your sunscreen to protect your skin from UVB and UVA rays.

Too much sun exposure during pregnancy can also lower folic acid levels, which your baby needs. This can cause birth defects like spina bifida.

Getting a fake tan would be a safer solution if you don’t know how much sun is safe.

Final Thoughts

Spray tanning is one of the safer ways to get a fake tan during pregnancy.

That’s because you’re not exposed to UV rays, which poses health risks to you and the baby.

However, when getting a spray tan, remember to protect yourself from the fumes by wearing a mask or choosing a well-ventilated salon.

If you’re unsure about anything at all, it’s best to consult your doctor first.