Nasal tanning sprays are taking over TikTok – but read this before searching for one

There have been some brilliant hacks born and raised in TikTok, then there are some that, quite frankly, need to be chucked into the virtual bin. A new trend, mostly coming from US-based users, is a “sunless skin tanning” method that sees tan lovers using a nasal spray to get a full-body glow. As you might imagine, experts aren’t thrilled at this particular trend taking off.

So, what even is a nasal tanning spray? The bottle resembles an allergen spritz, but rather than containing sniffle-fighting ingredients, some of these sprays contain an ingredient called melanotan. This claims to stimulate your body into producing melanin, and since melanin is the pigment that determines skin colour, inhaling melanotan is *supposed* to make the user’s skin look more tanned with continued use.

Other sprays, as you’ll find out shortly from our expert, don’t even feature that as a key ingredient. Instead, they use an active meant for purely topical self-tanning use. Tut, tut.

Before you head to Google to snap yourself up a bottle of this self-proclaimed liquid sunshine, we’d like to remind you of the old saying: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. But, to do our due diligence to the trend, we’ve asked an expert to weigh in on nasal tanning sprays and their actual abilities (if they even have any).

Here’s what Bruce Green, chartered scientist and chemist has to say on the subject…

“I researched several products on the US market and looked at their INCI list – if they even showed them. But why do they not disclose their ingredients – is there something to hide?” he points out.

“A popular active that was shown is dihydroxyacetone methylchromonyl palmitate, a self-tanning active that helps increase melanin production when used topically, ” he says.

“In America, nasal sprays are classed as drugs and as such would have to go through a new drug application process to prove their safety. No such work has been done, so who knows their safety. It’s interesting to note that many of the nasal sprays instruct that you should lay in the sun for a short time without a sun block to kick start the tanning process – ridiculous.

“It’s also interesting to note that many of the sprays carry wording such as ‘our product is intended for research purposes only and we do not promote it for personal use’. That says it all – do you really want to be an experiment?”

It’s also worth pointing out that in the UK and the US, it’s currently illegal to purchase melanotan products. Despite this, they pop up on some websites in the form of injections and sprays. Dihydroxyacetone methylchromonyl palmitate as an ingredient isn’t illegal; however, as Bruce points out, it is most definitely not intended for internal use.

Bruce concludes: “If you must tan then my recommendations are to use SOS H20 Day Cream with SPF 30 [£30 here] and tan in the sun for short spells to slowly and naturally develop the shade you like. Follow this with the application of SOS SPF 50 Sun Cream [£30 here] to give maximum skin protection.”

Finally, Bruce advises people not to “sniff at the truths”. Amen to that, we say!

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