The tantalizing promise of an effortless tan has always been an alluring yet elusive dream—until now. New self-tanning nasal sprays are creating a splash as the hottest way to achieve a sun-kissed glow without ever stepping foot in the harsh, wrinkle-inducing sunlight. But behind the buzz and hype, the truth about these mysterious tanning potions remains obscured. How do these so-called “natural” remedies actually work their sunless sorcery? Are they safe, or is it all smoke and mirrors? Before you take the plunge and spritz your way to an instant tan, learn the truth about tanning nasal sprays. I’ll reveal what’s really inside them, weigh their pros and cons, and why you may want to keep your nose out of it. A tan isn’t worth putting your health on the line. Don’t let these tanning sprays up your nose—or pull the shade over your eyes.
How Nasal Self-Tanners Work
Self-tanner nasal sprays contain peptides like Melanotan or afamelanotide, which work by stimulating the melanocortin 1 receptor in the skin. This triggers the production and release of melanin, the pigment that darkens the skin and creates a tanned appearance. The effects typically appear 2 to 4 days after use and last around 2 weeks.
The sprays are convenient since they are administered through the nose rather than applied directly to the skin. They also produce a gradual, natural-looking tan by stimulating your melanin. This may seem safer than tanning beds or sun exposure, which expose you to harmful UV radiation.
However, self-tanner nasal sprays come with significant risks and downsides:
• Unknown long-term effects: The long-term effects of these nasal sprays are unknown since they are new to the market. While they seem safe in the short term, frequent or long-term use could lead to unexpected side effects that have not yet been studied.
• Potential side effects: Some common side effects include nausea, flushed skin, and headaches. Though usually mild, these can be unpleasant and worrisome. There may also be more severe side effects that have not yet been discovered.
• Risk of melanoma: Of greatest concern is the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers. The nasal sprays overstimulate the cells that produce melanin, which is implicated in melanoma. According to experts like Dr. Emma Wedgeworth from the British Skin Foundation, this could increase the risk of melanoma, especially with frequent use or in people with moles or pre-cancerous skin lesions.
• Expense: Self-tanner nasal sprays tend to be more expensive than lotions or spray tans. Coupled with the unknown effects and risks, the cost may not be worth it.
• Unnatural look: While the tan from nasal sprays may look natural for some, especially those with darker skin, others may find the resulting color is too dark or unnatural-looking. It can also be difficult to control how dark the tan becomes.
The Bottom Line
Self-tanner nasal sprays promise an easy tan without sun exposure, but they also pose risks due to unknown health effects. While these sprays may seem like a convenient way to get a tan without UV damage, the safety of delivering agents like melanotan II nasally remains unclear.
According to scientific sources, melanotan II is a synthetic hormone used in some tanning nasal sprays to stimulate melanin production and darken skin tone. However, little research has been done on the effects of inhaling melanotan II through the nose, and there are concerns these substances may be absorbed into the bloodstream and cause damage.
Any health effects from tanning nasal sprays, whether serious or minor, may not be apparent for years. The safest way to get a tan remains limiting sun exposure and using FDA-approved self-tanners that provide color without the risks of UV damage or unknown side effects. It is best to consult a doctor with any health concerns and do your own research on the risks of tanning products.
While tanning nasal sprays may promise an easy glow, that promise comes with too many unknowns regarding safety and health effects. A tan is rarely worth putting your health at risk from untested substances like melanotan II. Safer alternatives can provide the same results without the dangers.
Consider embracing your natural skin tone or using reputable self-tanners if you desire a sunless tan. Your health is worth more than a tan in a bottle.