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Spray Tanners Can Cause Breathing Problems

Jun 20, 2016

A young British woman developed serious breathing problems after she applied a spray-on tanner, though the product had been recalled nearly three years ago.

Moments after Lucy Fowler sprayed St. Tropez Instant Wash Off Face and Body Spray, an aerosol bronzing mist on her legs, the 25-year-old telemarketing representative was gasping for breath. "My chest started to tighten, and I thought maybe I had used too much," Fowler told the Daily Mail.

She was taken by ambulance to a hospital and was put on oxygen. When doctors learned what had provoked the breathing problems, they called St. Tropez to ask about the product and learned that the spray tanner had supposedly been removed from store shelves nearly three years ago, following a number of incidents where users had been left breathless after inhaling the spray.

Fowler spent a night in the hospital for observation and tests. "After finding out about the chemicals in the product, [the doctors] said I was very lucky to be alive," according to the Daily Mail.

Yahoo Beauty contacted St. Tropez about the U.K. incident and the company said it was contacting "retail partners" to make sure the recalled product is off shelves. "We take the health and safety of our consumers very seriously, and we have begun an investigation to establish exactly how Lucy was able to purchase this product recently." Consumers should not purchase the St. Tropez Instant Wash Off Face and Body Spray and if they have the product on hand, they should return the product for a refund.

Dr. Jonathan P. Parsons, director of the OSU Asthma Center at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center said consumers should be aware of safety concerns surrounding aerosol sprays in general. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Consumer Reports magazine have warned consumers about using aerosol products like self-tanners and spray-on sunscreens, especially on children, Yahoo Beauty reports. "Aerosol self-tanners can contain many different chemicals, which vary depending on the type of product being used," Dr. Parsons said. "These products can cause asthma attacks, as they create a fine mist that’s easily inhaled deep into the lungs. The chemicals and strong smells of some aerosol products can cause worsening asthma when inhaled."

Parsons says the main component in most aerosol self-tanners-dihydroxyacetone (DHA)-may have negative health effects if it enters the lungs. For small children and people with respiratory issues, it is probably best to avoid aerosol products, including sunscreens, spray tanners, and deodorants. Some experts recommend that people with respiratory issues eliminate aerosol products of any type from their homes and limit their exposure at school and in the workplace. "If [aerosols] must be used, they should be applied in well-ventilated areas and outdoors whenever possible." For people who want to use a self tanner to get some color without sun exposure, Yahoo Beauty suggests safer, non-aerosol choices, like lotions, foam, or towelettes.

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