Sunless Tanning Products

Julie Weber Is This A Poison

Toxicity:  Only minor toxicity expected in small, accidental ingestions of sunless tanners.

Expected symptoms:  Ingestion of tanners usually involves small amounts, such as a child taking a taste or a lick of the product placed on the hand.   Symptoms after a small ingestion may include mild stomach upset and diarrhea. Temporary mouth or skin staining can occur.

What to do:  Wipe out the mouth using a soft, wet washcloth.  If the child is old enough, have him or her swish water in the mouth and spit out several times, then give the child some water to drink.

Note:  If tanner has gotten into the eyes, call the Missouri Poison Center right away for help and specific instructions as to how to flush the eye.

Quick Facts about sunless tanning products:

Sunless tanning products are used to get the appearance of a suntan on the skin without the use of the sun. These products come in a variety of forms including sprays, lotions, gels, mousses, and wipes that can be applied to the skin. Most sunless tanning products cause a darkening effect that will gradually fade in days and weeks. Small amounts ingested by children, or from accidental sprays into the mouth, are not likely to cause more than minor symptoms.

Most sunless tanning products contain a variety of extracts and cosmetic and food grade dyes that color the skin. Some also contain a color additive dihydroxyacetone (DHA) that reacts with the outer skin layer to cause a temporary darkening of the skin or the appearance of a tan. Additionally, sunscreen and SPF may be added to prevent actual sun exposure. Some people are sensitive to the different oils, fragrances, alcohols, or dyes present in sunless tanning products and experience burning, stinging, or redness with the use of these products.  If irritation develops after skin application, wash it off thoroughly and stop further use.

If you find your child has ingested tanner, do not panic.  Take the tanner away from them, wipe out the mouth with a soft, wet cloth and give them some water to drink.  If problems start or you have questions,  call the Missouri Poison Center right away at 1-800-222-1222 . The poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions.

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