Are Nasal Tanning Sprays Safe?

Are Nasal Tanning Sprays Safe?

Now that spring has sprung and summer is on its way, many people want tanned skin with your options ranging from sun exposure, gradual topical tanning products and spray tanning to the dodgier side of tanning injections and nasal spray tan kits. Here at Safety in Beauty, we have seen a huge increase in nasal spray tan kits being advertised on TikTok and Instagram.

We would like to believe that you will research and educate yourself on whether or not the products are safe but know that lots of consumers do not. Our research has found that some of the products claim to contain melanotan or melanotan II which are lab made chemicals that are similar to the hormone found in the body and originally made as a drug to help certain skin conditions such as Rosacea. Melanotan II has been around for years and according to DermNet NZ: Melanotan II has not been fully tested, and due to its potential side effects it is not recommended that anybody use this drug, going on to say that the short term side effects include facial flushing, reduced appetite and vomiting.

There are long term side effects too, melanoma, a potentially serious form of skin cancer, melanonychia which is discolouration of one or more nails and Rhabdomyolysis, potentially fatal destruction of muscle cells. Nasal spray tan kits are offered as home care kits, sold over the internet directly to the consumer and have been around for over ten years.

The consumer mixes the ingredients, places it in the provided nasal spray container and then this solution is inhaled through the nose. The way the products are currently marketed requires consumers to get intentional UV exposure, either through sun exposure or an indoor tanning bed of which we, at Safety in Beauty, have been working towards the government banning sunbeds. Any type of prolonged UV exposure can increase your risk for skin cancer and experts always recommend you avoid it as much as possible and always use a high SPF all year round. So, not only are consumers inhaling something that may or may not contain what it’s actually supposed to, the consumer is now voluntarily putting themselves out there for UV exposure to get this drug to work.

On performing a Google search today we found many Nasal Spray Tan kits being sold, predominantly on Etsy and a company dedicated to selling Nasal Spray Tan Kits for £20! Their kits contain one vial of melanotan II, 5ml of “sterile water”, one 1ml fixed needle syringe and a nasal spray bottle In March 2022 the BBC investigated nasal spray tan products with a young woman explaining her terrifying experience that within minutes of her first nasal spray, her face “burned up” and turned bright red. This young woman explains that “I was told my body just needed to get used to it, a week later, my throat started to close up – I literally couldn’t breathe.” The young woman from Durham, needed hospital treatment and was diagnosed with a serious throat and sinus infection. Doctors told her inhaling the tanning product was the cause and they had seen other patients develop similar symptoms after using it. Prof. Tony Cass, professor of chemical biology at Imperial College London, was involved in a recent analysis of ten tanning kits. They expected to find around ten ingredients in a licensed medication, but were shocked to discover that some of the products analysed contained over one hundred unidentified ingredients, alongside melanotan II. Prof.Tony Cass told the BBC; “With unregulated and illegal products, the labels have no information, and as our analysis showed there were many other constituents, [and] there is no way for the consumer to find out what these are.

Regulation is very difficult in this case, especially as internet influencer-based promotion is in any case difficult to control.” BBC News spoke to twenty people who have experienced complications, including lesions, fungal infections and abscesses from using nasal spray tan. Dr. Gabriella Birley of The Doctor Clinic told FEMAIL on 22 February 2022, that tanning nasal sprays can be dangerous because they usually haven’t gone through a thorough testing process.

Dr. Gabriella said: “Nasal tanning sprays are not licensed in the UK which means that they have not undergone the stringent safety, quality and effectiveness testing that all medicines have to undergo before they can be licensed for use. Because they have not undergone this level of testing, there are serious concerns amongst medical professionals about the potentially serious side effects of the product meaning that it is, therefore, unsafe to use”. ‘Due to tanning nasal sprays being unregulated, the products can also contain other impurities that could be damaging to your health. ‘Like with most medications, there are side effects and users of nasal tanning sprays have already reported significant side effects, such as nausea, headaches, spontaneous erections, darkening of moles, stomach and heart problems, as well as blood and eye disorders and life-threatening allergic reactions.

TikTok commented to Sarah Jacoby from TODAY on 23 March 2022 “Our community guidelines make clear what content is allowed on TikTok. Our policy on illegal activities and regulated goods prohibits the promotion of nasal tanning sprays, and we have removed the videos that you have shared with us.” The popularity of these nasal sprays is yet another reminder that social media is not a replacement for your doctor and in our opinion, nasal spray tan is unlicensed, unsafe with shocking potential side effects. Do your research, educate yourself, a tan is not worth dying for!


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