Summer is on its way here in Australia, and for some, that means making a beeline for the nearest bottle of sunless tanning lotion.
If you share my philosophy, that you should only put on your skin what you would be willing to eat, that’s a bad idea.
While health authorities say tanning lotions are safer than baking your skin in the sun, they don’t tell you about some of the potentially harmful ingredients found in many tanning lotions.
Here are some of the more common ones:
- Mineral oil — a derivative of petroleum, it is carcinogenic and a comedogenic (blocks your pores). It is used because it’s slippery and allows the tanning product to spread more easily.
- Sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate — this masquerades as a ‘natural preservative’ and in high concentrations is a skin and eye irritant. It has also been found to contain formaldehyde (added during processing) and may break down into formaldehyde once it has permeated the skin.
- Amyl acetate — an ingredient used in the dry cleaning business.
- Octyl stearate – an irritant and comedogenic (blocks pores).
- Isopropyl myristate — also comedogenic and may bind to nitrates in the body… nitrates are carcinogenic.
- Artificial fragrances and colours — many fragrances used in tanning products are created from petrochemicals and many chemicals used to create scents are known carcinogens (e.g. methylene chloride).
I know people love the look and feel of a tan, so if you’re going to buy a tanning product, just make sure you scrutinise the label and investigate any ingredient you’re not sure about.
No tan is worth risking your health over.