This article came out January 2, 2010 on the Livestrong.com site regarding DHA.
Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, is the ingredient that creates the tanning effect. When put on skin, DHA reacts with amino acids and proteins on the skin’s surface layer and causes the surface layer of skin to oxidize, creating a “tan.” The tan presents within two to three hours. Peak color is reached in 24 hours. DHA is derived from sugar cane and has a long history of safe use, according to Paula Begoun, author of “The Original Beauty Bible.”Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/69273-spray-tanning-ingredients/#ixzz1yKh9Kvjx
According to this article you would believe that spray tans are safe. The article also lists other ingredients found in spray tans, but I wanted to focus on DHA for this post.
Fox News just did a special report, (see below) on spray tans and the doctors wanted consumers to be aware of possible dangers. The reason, the word “possible” is used is because all of the testing has been done in the laboratory. In addition, the FDA is not regulating spray tan products at this time.
DHA, if inhaled can cause genetic mutations and lung cancer according to laboratory studies.
It is suggested that you limit use of spray tans once or twice a year. or not at all. Don’t Inhale! – Bottomline
Make sure you cover your eyes, nose and mouth to make sure you are not inhaling DHA.
The video also mentioned a DHA Vitamin which is an Omeag 3 Fatty acid which has nothing to do with this issue. (Very Confusing – Make sure you keep all of this information straight)
If you need to get some Vitamin D or work on your tan, the safer bet is to use sunscreen regularly.