Are Tanning "Tingle" Lotions Safe?
by Ray Allard (Tan Plus/Essentials Of Life)
It is not surprising that so many people experience skin reactions to many
tanning and skincare products on the market today. Many tanning products
contain chemicals that could one day prove to be more harmful than helpful, not
only to your skin, but to your health as well.
Specific chemicals, like methyl nicotinate, have been added to many indoor
tanning products to purposely cause the skin to redden so that the tanner will
feel they are getting instant results from the product and the tanning session.
In reality, they are more-likely getting an allergic reaction from these
"cheap" chemical ingredients. Results can be extreme redness, red streaks or
blotchy patches of skin. Masks must be worn by chemists preparing these
products to prevent shortness of breath from these chemicals. These products,
are commonly referred to as hot, spicy, or tingling to the skin. Although they
are relatively inexpensive to produce they can sell for as much as $60.00 a
Another way of causing an adverse reaction to the skin, according to our
chemist, Dan Bayer, is excessive use of preservatives like Propylene Glycol and
Butylene Glycol. Many manufacturers are using preservatives as the base of
their products. While these preservatives, if used, should appear near the
bottom of the ingredient label, they are found near the top of the ingredients
list. The greed of the manufacturers is further supported by the lack of
product knowledge of the tanning salon operators taken in by the hype of these
products through creative marketing campaigns.
As the cost of safer preservatives continues to increase, and since the FDA
doesn't regulate the cosmetic industry, expect to see ingredients such as
Butylene Glycol being used in many popular tanning products, even those selling
for more than $50.00. Butylene Glycol is a humectant most resistant to high
humidity and also being used in hair sprays and setting lotions as a
preservative and to retain scents. It is known to be similar in toxicity to
ethylene glycol, found in antifreeze and solvents. According to "A Consumer's
Dictionary Of Cosmetic Ingredients" (Ruth Winter, M.S.-1994 edition), Butylene
Glycol is one of the few humectants not on the FDA's Generally Recognized As
Safe List, although efforts to place it there have been made through the years.
Many products also contain petroleum based ingredients such as mineral oil,
petrolatum or paraffin that are derived from the same crude oil used to make
gasoline and motor oil and will cause reactions in certain skin types.
According to certified nutritionist Robert Crayhon, M.S. (Nutrition Made
Simple), "toxic chemicals in many tanning lotions may damage the skin when
mixed with free-radical producing sunlight." He suggests choosing sunscreens
and tanning lotions that are rich in antioxidants and as low in synthetic
chemicals as possible.
Like everything we put on our skin, these ingredients are absorbed and
eventually end up in the bloodstream. It may take years before we realize the
health effects of these chemicals in our blood.
The purpose of tanning salons should be to minimize the clients chances of
burning not cause it or create allergic reactions on purpose. The responsible
tanning salon operator should never lose sight of that. The time has come for
all retailers of cosmetic and skin care products to take responsibility for
what they are selling. If they are more aware of the potential short and long
term effects caused by the ingredients in their skincare products they may
think twice about putting it on their shelves in the first place. If
manufacturers can't find a market for their junk, they won't make it anymore.
There is nothing more valuable to us than maintaining a client's trust. To
offer products like these would only serve to diminish that trust and make a
mockery of what we stand for.