Can I Get A Spray Tan While Pregnant? (Quick Answer!)

By KidSpaceStuff •  Updated: 03/25/24 •  7 min read

The radiant glow of pregnancy is legendary, but let’s face it: sometimes, we still long for that sun-kissed look without the sun. As the baby bump grows, having an even tan, especially during summer, can be pretty tempting. But the question is, can you indulge in a spray tan while expecting a little one?

In this article, I’ll delve into the safety considerations, the pros and cons, and what experts say about getting that bronzed look through a spray tan during pregnancy. Whether you’re preparing for a special event or simply craving a confidence boost, we’ve got the answers for you.

Can You Get A Spray Tan While Pregnant?

Close-up of Instant Tanning Equipment in the Hands of a Master.

Yes, getting a spray tan while pregnant is generally considered safe. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. 

Firstly, while the topical application of the tanning solution is believed to be harmless to both the mother and baby, it’s essential to ensure that you do not inhale the spray or get any in your mouth during the application process. While fake tan creams and lotions are generally considered safe during pregnancy, it’s probably best to exercise caution with spray tans due to potential inhalation concerns. As always, consulting with your healthcare provider before deciding is a good idea.

What is a Spray Tan?

A spray tan is a method of sunless tanning where a fine mist containing a tanning solution is sprayed onto the body. This tanning solution has dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which interacts with the skin’s outermost layer to produce a tan-like appearance. 

The result is a temporary bronzed look that can mimic the formation of a natural suntan without exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Spray tans typically fade over days, like a natural suntan would disappear, and can be reapplied as needed.

Common Concerns of Pregnancy and Skin Exposure

Pregnancy is a transformative time in a woman’s life, and with it comes a variety of internal and external changes. One area of particular interest for many is how pregnancy might affect the skin. Let’s break down some of the most common concerns related to pregnancy and skin exposure:

  1. Sun Sensitivity: During pregnancy, the skin may become more sensitive to the sun. This could result in sunburns occurring more quickly than usual. It’s crucial to use sunscreen and limit direct sun exposure.
  2. Stretch Marks: As the belly grows, the skin stretches. This can result in stretch marks, which are reddish or purplish lines that appear on the skin. Over time, they might fade but often don’t disappear completely.
  3. Melasma: Also known as the “mask of pregnancy,” melasma causes dark, discolored patches on the skin, especially the face. It’s a result of increased hormone levels stimulating pigment production.
  4. Acne and Breakouts: Hormonal changes can lead to an increase in oil production. For some pregnant women, this means a higher chance of breakouts or acne.
  5. Varicose Veins: Increased blood volume and pressure during pregnancy can lead to the appearance of varicose veins, especially on the legs.
  6. Skin Tags: Small, soft, skin-colored growths might appear, especially in areas where the skin rubs against clothing or other skin. They’re harmless and might disappear after delivery.

Chemicals in Spray Tans: What You Should Know

Spray tans offer a quick, sunless way to achieve that coveted golden glow. However, it’s essential to understand the chemicals used in these tanning solutions. The primary ingredient in most spray tans is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA is a sugar compound that interacts with the amino acids in the skin’s top layer, leading to a temporary darkening effect that mimics a tan. While DHA is approved by health agencies like the FDA for external use, it’s crucial to avoid inhaling or letting it contact mucous membranes, such as the eyes or mouth.

Other ingredients commonly found in spray tans include bronzers, which provide immediate color, and moisturizers to hydrate the skin. It’s also worth noting that some spray tan formulas might contain preservatives or alcohol. These ingredients can irritate some individuals, especially those with sensitive skin.

Alternatives to Spray Tanning During Pregnancy

Many women want to maintain a radiant glow during pregnancy but may be wary of spray tans due to potential chemical exposure. Fortunately, there are safer alternatives that can help achieve that sun-kissed look without the risks:

  1. Bronzing Powders and Lotions: These topical applications give a temporary tan. They are applied to the skin and washed off at the end of the day. Always check the ingredients to ensure they’re safe for pregnant women.
  2. Gradual Tanning Lotions: Unlike regular tanning lotions, these moisturizers darken the skin over time, giving a more natural tan. They usually contain lower levels of DHA, which is a concern in spray tans.
  3. Natural Henna: This plant-based dye has been used for centuries and is generally safe. However, ensure it’s pure henna, as black henna may contain harmful chemicals.
  4. Sunbathing: While it’s the oldest method, moderate natural sun exposure can give you a tan. Always use sunscreen to protect against UV rays and avoid tanning during peak sun hours.
  5. Tan Towels: These are infused with a clear self-tanning formula, which, when applied to the skin, gives a uniform tan. They are easy to use and portable.
  6. Carotenoid-rich Foods: Consuming foods high in carotenoids, like carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach, can give the skin a natural orange-brownish hue over time.
  7. Tanning Oils: Some natural oils, like coconut and hazelnut, can slightly darken your skin when applied before sun exposure. They don’t offer UV protection, so always pair with sunscreen.

Tips for Getting a Spray Tan While Pregnant

Spray tanning can give pregnant women that sun-kissed glow. It’s essential to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of both the mother and the baby. Here are some tips for having a spray tan while pregnant:

Tip #1: Consult Your Doctor: 

Always check with your healthcare provider before scheduling a spray tan. They’ll advise based on your specific health and pregnancy conditions.

Tip #2: Choose DHA-Free Solutions: 

DHA is commonly used in spray tans, but DHA-free alternatives are available. Opting for these can be a safer choice during pregnancy.

Tip #3: Avoid Inhalation: 

Make sure to hold your breath when the spray is near your face, or request a mask to prevent inhaling chemicals, especially around the nose and mouth area.

Tip #4: Protect Mucous Membranes: 

Use protective gear such as goggles for your eyes and lip balm for your lips to prevent any spray tan solution from entering sensitive areas.

Tip #5: Patch Test: 

Before getting a full-body spray tan, do a patch test to check for any allergic reactions or skin irritations, as pregnancy can sometimes make your skin more sensitive.

Tip #6: Ensure Good Ventilation: 

Ensure the room where you’re getting the spray tan is well-ventilated to reduce the risk of inhaling fumes.

Tip #7: Follow Aftercare Instructions: 

Proper aftercare will not only help in making the tan last longer but will also prevent any skin complications. This includes avoiding immediate showers and moisturizing regularly.

Check out this video about tanning hacks and tricks while pregnant.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, yes, you can get a spray tan while pregnant, but it’s essential to be careful and know the risks.

While most ingredients in spray tans don’t absorb deeply into the skin, concerns about inhaling fumes or chemicals remain. It’s always recommended to discuss any beauty treatments, including spray tanning, with a healthcare professional during pregnancy. Alternatives like bronzing powders and natural sunbathing offer safer ways to achieve a radiant glow. Ultimately, the safety and comfort of the mother and the baby should always be the top priority.

Check out these other pregnancy related guides!