A panel of medical experts reviewed 10 of the currently available scientific studies on dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and discovered it may cause DNA damage and genetic alterations. DHA is commonly used as an active ingredient for spray tans.
The review panel, composed of six experts specializing in pulmonary medicine, dermatology, and toxicology, conducted this review upon ABC News’ request. The results caused panel members to “have concerns” about the chemical component, especially since spray tans are often advertised as a safe alternative to tanning beds and other tanning methods. The main cause for concern was the possibility that the deposition of tanning chemicals in the lungs could make it easier for them to enter the bloodstream.
The reviewed studies did not involve testing human cells or tissue, but a few of them revealed that DHA caused gene alterations in different types of cells. Most of these studies tested the effects of DHA exposure on lab-grown organisms such as ecoli, mice skin cells, salmobella, and other bacteria.
Dr. Rey Panettieri, a lung specialist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, was a member of the review panel. “These compounds in some cells could actually promote the development of cancers or malignancies,” Dr. Panettieri said. “And if that’s the case then we need to be wary of them.”