If you are looking forward to celebrating a special occasion, you might want to have a great tan to go with your party outfit. However, if you're recovering from cancer and are still undergoing chemotherapy, you may be wondering if a spray tan is a safe option. Read on to find out more.
What does a spray tan involve?
Self-tanning involves having a fine mist of chemicals sprayed onto the skin, which then react with your skin's chemistry, creating the tan. The chemical most commonly used, dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is generally safe to use on your skin and is actually derived from organic vegetable colourants.
Your local salon will administer the spray tan in a special tanning booth. You may be given disposable paper underwear to wear for the process, and you stand in the booth while a number of nozzles dispense the tanning product onto your body in a fine mist. A spray tan typically lasts for a week or so.
Spray tanning and chemotherapy
Spray tanning is generally considered safe for patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, although you will probably need a letter from your oncologist confirming that they are happy for you to undergo the treatment. This is usually a requirement of the individual beauty salon's insurance policy so that they are covered if you subsequently suffer an adverse reaction to the product used.
It's important to be aware that your skin may become more sensitive than usual following a period of chemotherapy treatment. For this reason, it's sensible to discuss the tanning treatment with the salon in advance, as they will probably want to carry out a skin patch test first. This test involves placing a tiny amount of the spray tan product on an inconspicuous area of your skin. The product is left there for 24 hours or so to see if the skin reacts by becoming itchy, painful or reddened. If your skin shows no reaction, it should be safe for you to have a complete spray tan.
Another potential issue is that chemo can sometimes cause your skin to become very dry, meaning that the tan may not take very well or could come out looking patchy. The best way to combat this is to keep your skin well-moisturised in the days leading up to your spray tan and following it.
If you've undergone chemotherapy, you should still be able to have a spray tan. Always ask the advice of your medical team first and be sure to explain your circumstances with the beauty salon.