Is spray tanning harmful to you and your fertility?

July 24, 2012

According to the European Environment Agency (EEA)many commonly used products contain chemicals which are shown to disrupt the hormone system aka ‘endocrine disrupting chemicals’ (EDCs)  and may be the factor in decreased fertility but also a contributor to increases in cancers, diabetes and neurological development problems.

Research report: The impacts of endocrine disrupters on wildlife, people and their environments – The Weybridge+15 (1996–2011) report

Fertility and your endocrine system

Your endocrine system influences almost every cell, organ, and function of your body and is the messenger to your glands.

  • hypothalamus
  • pituitary gland
  • thyroid
  • parathyroids
  • adrenal glands
  • pineal body
  • reproductive glands (which include the ovaries and testes)

Many of these glands singularly or together can impact your ability to conceive, egg and sperm quality as well.

Key points related to fertility from the report:

The link between some diseases and EDCs is now accepted. For example, exposure to oestrogen or to oestrogenic EDCs is an accepted risk factor for breast cancer, endometriosis, fibroids and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in women.

Some EDCs may also cause low quality semen.  Detailed reviews of current knowledge show clearly that human male reproductive problems are increasing in many countries. There are large regional differences in semen quality. In some European regions approximately 40% of men suffer from reduced fertility while in others it is less than 10%

Fake Tanning and fertility issues extrapolated from the study result in widespread warning report on tanning product dangers.

Enter in the reports circulating that some tanning products contain ingredients like dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which  can have a negative impact on fertility and may lead to other health issues down the road which has spray tanners ( sprays) concerned that they may be giving up sunbathing skin cancer risk for a even more potentially dangerous alternative.

* the DHA in spray tan products are different from DHA food grade additives approved by the FDA ( two completely different chemicals) which may be adding to the confusion.

Is it true?

According to the UK’s  NHS  –  (DHA) is non-toxic as well as the Cosmetics, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) feel that these reports are untrue as topical lotions and spray tans rest on the outermost layer of the skin with is not absorbed. But how can you avoid inhaling spray tan?

Watch the CBS News report on spray tans and your health:

Also read the article that goes along with this as it is also talking about the potential effects to your lungs and more.

So what do you do ?

We suggest that you error on the side of caution


  • Personal care products: It costs a little more but look for paraben free and organic products.
  • Food: Avoid processed foods and shop the organic section of your produce, dairy and  meat departments.  Avoid canned vegi’s and opt for frozen  to avoid the BPA lining found in most cans.
  • Ditch the plastic: While convenient plastic water bottles and food storage containers do contain chemicals that do leak out into your food and drink. Plus never microwave in plastic! Opt for BPA free containers and glass for your food and drink.
  • Home cleaning products: Opt for natural based cleaners. You can even venture to make your own and save some money. Here are some green cleaning product recipes for the DYI:
  • Can you smell it? Perfume to cleaning products scents, mists and gasses are inhaled though the nose and can enter in through your system that way. Opt for essential oil based perfumes and home scents.
  • Protect yourself: If you can’t avoid using a chemical based product  make sure to wear gloves and eye, nose and mouth protection to help avoid absorption.
  • Still want to tan? Either do it the old sun and you way in small moderate amounts or opt for the brush on kind if you really need too. But, I would recommend that you only utilize any non-natural tanning method for special occasions ( infrequently). I would avoid it completely if you’ve already had conceiving issues and are seeking alternative fertility treatments or are nursing.

At San Diego Fertility Clinic we care about you and your families health and well being.

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