ABC’s Good Morning America released a segment on the spray tanning industry on June 12, 2012 that has caused some misunderstanding in the industry and customer concern. Following is the link to the online article and the YouTube Video of the segment.
Joe Levy, president of the Smart Tan Network was interviewed in the article, and has issued his response. He noted that the interviewer did not inform him of the subject of the TV segment, nor accurately acknowledge the studies on air, which Mr. Levy referenced in the taped interview. Studies that clearly disputed the alarmist material in the final segment that was aired.
Click here to see the response from Smart Tan’s Joe Levy to the one-sided interview of him presented by ABC’s Good Morning America.
Smart Tan, a lobby group for the Indoor Tanning Industry has also released a written statement regarding DHA Safety. Click Here to read the Smart Tan Response. Spray Tanning Is Safe
We acknowledge the reports, and understand the reason for concern. We also stand in agreement with the scientific experts in this field, who have looked at all current data available, and the historical safe use of DHA in self tanning products over many years, and have approved it as a safe cosmetic ingredient.
Spray Tanning is still considered as a Safe and recommended UV Tanning alternative.
We are legally required to manufacturer products that are safe to use, and we take this responsibility very seriously. Our product line is used in the USA and also worldwide. As such, we are obligated to meet all safety requirements for the USA, and all countries we import product into (including the European Market)
Current law requires that every cosmetic and personal care product and its ingredients be substantiated for safety before going to market, and that they contain no prohibited ingredients. It must have undergone rigorous safety assessment by professionally qualified safety assessors before being placed on the market.
We take this safety responsibility very seriously and meet and often surpass the requirements of the law with additional consumer safety measures.
Ingredient manufacturers work with and employ thousands of chemists, toxicologists, biologists, environmental scientists and other experts to evaluate the safety of all ingredients and the formulated cosmetic products before a product goes to market.
Of the more than 11 billion personal care products sold each year in the United States, there are very few adverse experiences reported to the FDA in a typical year, and of those reported, most are related to rashes or allergies. Self Tanning products are no different.
The FDA does not specifically approve cosmetic ingredients or products for use. Under current law and FDA’s regulations, it is the cosmetic industry’s responsibility to ensure that products and ingredients are safe before they are marketed.
Industry Groups such as the Personal Care Products Council, (formerly the Cosmetic Toiletry, and Fragrances Association) have supported a broad range of programs–many in cooperation with FDA–to ensure safety.
Cosmetic safety is regulated by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, and the FDA is charged with enforcing that law. The FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors enforces the law and establishes safety standards for all cosmetics.
However, the FDA does approve some specific cosmetic colorant additives, such as FD&C colors, and Dihydroxyacetone (FDA Statement on DHA).
Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), is a sugar based skin colorant which chemically reacts with the amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) in the dead layer of the skin’s surface and causes a cosmetic color change which results in the ‘tan’ effect.
DHA is approved for use externally, and the FDA has provided some general guidelines for spray on use i.e. protecting eyes, mucous membranes and preventing inhalation. We are not aware of any FDA studies underlying these guidelines or that indicate in any way that DHA is unsafe. However, these common sense guidelines stand and we recommend that they should be followed.
The main USA regulating group for Cosmetic products is the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrances Association also known as the Personal Care Products Council.
Their statement of products safety is quoted here. “Product safety is the top priority of the personal care products industry. We work diligently with our members to maintain the highest standards of safety rooted in science and cutting-edge research. Through self-regulation, the Council works to uphold and often surpass the most stringent U.S. consumer product safety standards. The Council has adopted a Consumer Commitment Code to formalize many existing product safety practices and to demonstrate its members’ commitment to safety.
The Personal Care Products Council Science Department provides critical support for the industry in addressing a wide range of issues. Working with our staff of scientists are a number of committees made up from experts from our member companies. These committees develop guidelines and useful references for the industry.”
Dr Chris Flowers, Director General of the CTPA (Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Perfumery Association, recently renamed Personal Care Products Council) urged people to seek out the facts, and not believe every report without further investigation.
He also makes the following statement in reference to DHA, and other cosmetic ingredients, and the testing protocols used.
“The assessment looks to ensure you would still be safe even if you used the product at 100 times more frequency than normal. This 100 fold safety margin is actually much greater than for drinking water.”
The key ingredient in self tanning products, dihydroxyacetone (DHA) has also recently been reviewed by the European Commission’s Independent expert Scientific Committee (the SCCS) which advises the Commission on scientific matters and safety of cosmetic ingredients.
The SCCS looked at data to support the use of DHA in cosmetic formulations.
The SCCS issued a 35 page Opinion which addressed the question of the product possibly being inhaled from self-tan sprays, and enclosed booths, and says “that the use of dihydroxyacetone as a self-tanning ingredient will not pose a risk to the health of the consumer”.
Every sunless solution sold in Europe must pass a safety assessment and the assessors use the safety assessment as the basis for their review. Our products comply with the standards used for products distributed in the European market.
The European Safety Evaluation can be found at the following:
Both SCCS and CTPA have stated that Self Tanners are safe for consumer use.
Since the US regulators have given very few specifics in the way of definitive materials on sunless products, we follow, the more comprehensive European documentation for guidance on safety.
The ABC article was primarily concerned with repeated daily product use by the Professional spray technician, in a commercial spray facility; who has a different (higher) exposure level, compared to that of the occasional client.
The experts quoted in the article did not say sunless tanners were unsafe, or cause cancer in correct use. Instead, It was noted that, there should be more definitive studies to assess safe levels, possible needed safety measures, and application guides, specific to spray application methods, to help assist technicians in proper product use. Naturally the headline became “DHA Health Risk.”
Selftanning is still considered a safe application method, when use correctly.
We have always recommend “common sense ‘ caution in sunless tanning when pregnant, or for clients with impaired respiratory health or cosmetic ingredient allergies.
Pregnant clients should always receive written approval from their medical provider first. We have seen no indication of any issue relating to sunless tanning and pregnancy but there are no definitive studies on this.
Keep in mind, consumers, from all walks of life, all health conditions, pregnant and non-pregnant – have been breathing in, ingesting, and applying sunless products for many years now and it hasn’t been seen as a real health concern.
Exceptions would apply, as with any standard cosmetic ingredient, in cases of individual sensitivities, or allergies, or those with compromised respiratory function. But the sensitivity levels for sunless products, are still within the normal ranges for all cosmetic products currently on the market.
What we recommend:
-This is not new news, it is old news. The most recent study cited in the public broadcast, was 8 plus years old. And studies that indicate DHA is safe for use were not mentioned.
-Technicians should use up to date equipment, with correct product atomization levels, which will help to reduce airborne solution. We do not recommend the use of DIY units, hobby systems, or ill-designed units, these are not going to apply the solution properly and will disperse more product in the room and air.
A report by the Danish Toxicology Center showed that the concentration levels of DHA solution in the air was very low using professional HVLP equipment as opposed to booths. Making sure good ventilation is present will enhance this further.
-Clients should be provided with protective items, such as nasal filters, disposable under garments and barrier cream or lip balm (for use as lip protection), and goggles if requested.
-Technicians should use nasal filters or face masks and ensure there is adequate ventilation or extraction. If you blow your nose at day’s end, and see evidence of tan solution in your tissue, then your room is not well ventilated.
-Having a proper Spray Tan (fan) extractor may help. Avoid machines using 3 to 6 blades (like a propeller), they are ineffective and will not be powerful enough to draw the solution out of the atmosphere and through the filtrate material
-Obtain written approval from a medical provider before spraying any client who may have sensitivities that indicate use of a self tanner may be problematic. Or who have a known sensitivity or allergy to any ingredient in your solution blends, or skincare products.
-We provide ingredient information listings on the labels of all of our products, for the use of technicians.
-Obtain medical approval before spraying pregnant or breastfeeding clients, and require use of protective items. This is a general common sense recommendation, not because any issues have been documented in years of use.
-Do not spray clients with compromised respiratory conditions, or impaired lung health, unless you receive medical approval from their health care provider.