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Spray Tanning During Pregnancy

Sunless tanning products, including so-called spray tans that are actually airbrushed onto your body, are able to offer you the appearance of a seriously sun-kissed body without ever needing to sunbathe. They do this with the help of the chemical dihydroxyacetone, which attaches to your skin cells for anywhere from a few days to a week or so.

This chemical is FDA-approved for external application on the skin, but that doesn't mean it's approved for inhalation or ingestion — both things that may accidentally happen if you get a spray tan. 

Because the safety of inhaling or ingesting dihydroxyacetone is very much unclear, good salons will make sure your eyes, nose, mouth, and other mucus membranes are protected from exposure to the product when you get a spray tan. Any salon not doing this isn't one you should be getting a spray tan from, whether or not you are pregnant. 

Might you have allergic reactions to spray tanning? Might some ingredient in the product you are having applied do long-term damage nobody is yet aware of? Yes to both. I'll say that I personally think very pale, untanned ("milk jug") skin is as beautiful as any other skin color, and you'll save a lot of hassle by not getting spray tans during pregnancy (and any other time for that matter). If you "must' have a tan, however, well — the damage sun tanning can do are very well-documented indeed, and spray tanning is generally a whole lot safer.

Being Out In The Sun While Pregnant

Yup; the sun is there, and it's both life-giving and unavoidable. There's something to be said for embracing that to some extent, because you don't want low vitamin D levels either. (Do use sunscreen, and don't overdo it!) While being a serious sun groupie and pursuing that now-beautiful, later aging and skin-cancer-risk-inducing tan by baking for hours is never a good idea, however, pregnancy is certainly a great time to avoid sunbathing. 

Your skin becomes a lot more sun-sensitive while you're expecting, increasing your risk of the infamous "pregnancy mask" (chloasma) and even meaning you'll likely get a sunburn much more quickly. It is not currently known whether excessive exposure to UV rays can harm your unborn baby, though there is evidence that suggests sun exposure can lower your folic acid levels. Folic acid is, as you know, crucial during the first trimester of pregnancy, so talk to your doctor about supplements, especially if you are out in the sun a lot.

Tanning Beds And Pregnancy

If you're a regular tanner, you'll have heard all of this before. Nonetheless, here we go. Using tanning beds can, like being a sun seeker and going for an all-natural tan, lead to premature aging, eye damage, sunburn, and of course skin cancer.

The damage tanning beds may do to your baby is not currently well-known or well-studied (because placing unborn babies in tanning beds by design would be unethical), but we do know one thing for sure — if you're having a baby, you want to be around as a mother for as long as possible, alive, healthy, and happy. Sun exposure may be inevitable, but tanning beds are a choice — one you really shouldn't be making. 

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