Fake tan may lead to increased risk of infertility
Experts have warned that the cocktail of chemicals in cosmetic products such as fake tan may contribute to a variety of health problems.
These range from skin irritation to obesity, diabetes, cancer and infertility. Pregnant women who apply fake tan products could also face a higher risk of birth defects in their babies.
According to Elizabeth Salter-Green of UK charity Chem trust, “many of the chemicals in fake tan are toxic to reproduction and can harm a foetus.”
The active ingredient in tanning products is dihydroxyacetone, which reacts with amino acids to turn the skin brown. When inhaled and absorbed into the bloodstream, it may alter DNA or cause tumours.
According to scientists, other dangerous ingredients can include carcinogens such as formaldehyde and nitrosamines.
The tanning industry has strongly refuted the findings, insisting that there are laws in place to ensure cosmetic products are safe for use.
Dr Chris Flower, director general of the Cosmetics, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA), said “It’s an exasperating, stupid story that’s taken on a life of its own. Are there any risks to yourself, your fertility, your offspring? No, absolutely not.”
Under EU law cosmetic products must be thoroughly assessed before they can be released onto the market. According to Dr Flower, this assessment means that products are safe for use at levels far exceeding the recommended amount.
However, Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the European Environment Agency, has warned that “it would be prudent to take a precautionary approach to many of these chemicals until their effects are more fully understood.”
A report released in March by Chem Trust concluded that the chemicals accumulated in the body from food and everyday consumer products are likely to contribute to modern epidemics such as obesity and diabetes.