Still, another U.K. company, 2bTanned, posted a TikTok showing a user spraying the product up his nose and, in the comments, @2btanned suggested that the spray should be used at least a week or two before sun exposure “in order to get full effects.”
@sashawoodx tells her viewers “Don’t walk … RUN for these products,” as she shows herself in several outfits, squirting 2bTanned spray up her nose. As of March 2, the TikTok video had been viewed over 212,000 times.
TikTokker @giannaarose, who has 125,000 followers, said in a video that she uses “2-3 sprays” up the nose before stepping into a tanning bed. A commenter said, “this is scary but where do I buy it.”
The main ingredient in self-tanning products is dihydroxyacetone, or DHA. It’s FDA-approved for use on skin, causes a chemical reaction when heat is applied, and a pigment is deposited on the skin.
Adam Friedman, MD, a professor and chair of dermatology at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in Washington, DC, says given that self-tanning products were never meant to be inhaled and that nasal sprays of any kind must be approved by the FDA, a company promoting the products is playing a dangerous game.
“People could go to jail over this,” he says.
What’s more, the products are unlikely to produce a tan, he says.
“Because of the way self-tanners work, it would make no sense,” says Friedman.
“It’s purely a camouflage,” he says, adding that it does not produce melanin, which determines skin color.
Self-tanners were never intended to be inhaled, “so who knows what those ingredients would do to a different anatomical site like the inner passages of the nose,” Friedman says.
At a minimum, spraying into the nose could at cause irritation. But it could also potentially lead to acute or long-term damage, he says.
Some other spray ingredients, such as tyrosine and tyrosinase, are involved in producing melanin, but they only act within skin cells, says Friedman. If sprayed into the nose, the ingredients might produce melanin inside the nose, but not on the skin.