A “cocktail” of chemicals in bestselling lotions may pose a risk to a person’s health such as fertility problems, birth defects and even cancer, experts said.Dangerous ingredients can also include hormone-disrupting compounds — which can harm babies — as well as carcinogens including formaldehyde and nitrosamines.
The increased use of fake-tan products can also have skin irritants and chemicals linked to allergies, diabetes, obesity and fertility problems.
Officials warned that its potentially dangerous effects were thought to be more worrying than for other cosmetics because it is applied over the whole body regularly.
The active ingredient in fake tanning products is dihydroxyacetone, which reacts with the amino acids on the skin to turn it brown.
When it is sprayed on to the body, it is often inhaled and absorbed into the bloodstream. Scientists say it could damage DNA and cause tumours.
“It would be prudent to take a precautionary approach to many of these chemicals until their effects are more fully understood,” said Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the European Environment Agency.
“They may be a contributing factor behind the significant increases in cancers, diabetes and obesity and falling fertility. It’s the cocktail effect.”
Elizabeth Salter-Green, of UK charity the Chem Trust, warned: “Many of the chemicals in fake tan are toxic to reproduction and can harm a foetus.”
Fake tan sales are worth an estimated £100 million a year and are the fastest-growing area for cosmetic sales. A third of women and one in 10 men admit to using the products.
Cosmetics manufacturers insisted all ingredients were safe.
Dr Chris Flower, director general of the Cosmetics, Toiletry and Perfumery Association, told The Sun: “There are stringent EU laws covering the manufacture of cosmetic products.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.