Spray, lotions seen as safest tanning options

Dermatologists make no bones about the fact that there’s no safe way to get a tan through ultraviolet light.

“Any exposure to ultraviolet light is too much exposure to ultraviolet light,” said Dr. Christopher Obeime, a dermatologist at St. Vincent Health. “Ultraviolet light is not a good thing.”

But if you can’t live with your pale skin, there are some alternatives that doctors endorse instead of heading to the beach or the tanning bed.

Spray tans and self-tanning products offer two safer options for darkening one’s skin.

Most of these products contain the chemical dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, originally developed as an oral glucose substitute to treat diabetes, said Dr. Keeter Sechrist, a dermatologist with Dermatology Inc. When doctors noticed that the substance also darkened the skin, they started looking into using it in tanning lotions.

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