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Most people connect a healthy glow with health and being well-rested, but nowadays there are “self-tanning” creams, gels, lotions and sprays that provide sun-kissed look without harmful sun exposure. But are they safe for for an expectant mother?

Can a Pregnant Woman Use a Self-Tanner Safely?

These self-tanners contain a harmless sugar called dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which when reacting with the surface dead skin cells gives a person a temporary tanned appearance.  Except for a person having an allergy to the ingredients in self-tanners, experts believe these artificial tanners are generally safe, but are they safe for an expectant mother? 

The United States Food and Drug Administration consider dihydroxyacetone (DHA) to be safe when applied to the skin.  However, if a woman uses a spray-on self-tanner or goes to a salon or spa for a spray tan, the effects of inhaling and ingesting DHA are unknown, so if a woman is pregnant it might be wise to avoid forgoing any type of spray tanning while expecting.  Most experts recommend closing the eyes and holding the breath or using protective goggle or a nose plug, in order to avoid inhalation of the mist of DHA.

A pregnant woman should avoid over exposure to natural sunlight, always use a sunscreen and never, ever use a tanning bed while expecting.  The main risk of tanning is skin cancer later in life, but there are also many negative effects to the unborn baby if the mother spends a lot of time tanning during pregnancy.  Overheating is one of the most serious risks for a pregnant woman, and can cause a child to be born with neural tube defects, especially if exposure took place during the first trimester.  If the pregnant woman is overheated, the baby is too and later in pregnancy this can prevent a risk of dehydration and heatstroke for the mother, which can result in premature labor and delivery.

What Types of Products Can be Used to Produce a Healthy “Tan” During Pregnancy

There are many wonderful cosmetics on the market today which can give a pregnant woman a healthy, natural-looking glow without having to expose the infant or mother to any possible harmful substances.  Tanning lotions, bronzers and at-home tanning creams, gels or lotions can work wonders for a pregnant woman, warm up her complexion and not cause any long lasting effects which can be harmful to a developing infant.

A woman can use a self-tanner on her face, arms, legs and chest in order to give herself a nice, even, golden glow.  But, it is recommended that a pregnant female avoids any type of spraying or mist tanning showers due to the fact that researchers are unsure of whether or not there could be possible dangerous or negative consequences for a developing infant.  Never take tanning pills either, these contain many substances which are not regulated by the FDA and the side effects to an unborn fetus is unknown.


Pregnancy is one of the most delicate and fragile times in a woman’s life, particularly during the first trimester.  It is generally advised that a pregnant woman should strictly follow the advice of her personal physician and never do anything that might possibly prove harmful to herself or her baby.  By adhering to the recommendations of a licensed medical professional and avoiding certain types of self-tanners a woman can have a healthy, golden glow and enjoy the birth of a healthy baby as well.


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