SALT LAKE (ABC 4 News) - Millions of Americans spray tan every year believing it is a safe alternative to tanning beds and sunbathing, but new research shows a chemical in the mist may be harmful.
DHA, or Di Hydroxy Acetone, is a chemical the spray tan that turns your skin brown.
According to experts, DHA is a potential human health hazard and can cause DNA damage in skin cells.
Lauren Tucker and Alex Richardson are contestants in the Miss Utah Scholarship Pageant.
”I know that it's a lot safer than tanning in a bed or being outside in the sun,” Tucker said.
Each chose to spray tan for the competition.
“I didn't know that there were those threats,” Richardson said. “These days it seems like everything can harm you in some way.”
The girls turn to Mindi Neilsen for the fake glow.
“I love doing it,” Neilsen said. “I love the color it gives you.”
Neilsen sprays the contestants before they hit the stage. She is aware of the chemical DHA, but said the amount of DHA in the spray makes a big difference.
A higher percentage of DHA will give you a darker tan and less DHA gives you a lighter tan.
If you are going to spray tan, be sure not to get the mist in your eyes, nose or ears. Inhaling the mist can be dangerous too.
The pageant contestants said they are not concerned about the possible side effects, but will take caution the next time they spray tan.
“Everything should be used within reason,” Neilsen added.