Tanning Nasal Spray: Should You Skip It?

As you may already know, getting that old-fashioned tan — from exposure to real or artificial UV rays — can lead to sunspots, wrinkles, and other signs of premature aging. It can also increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

Discover a wide range of sunless tanning products, from self-tanning lotions to serums and nasal sprays. Wait – nasal spray?

If this has taken you twice, you are not alone. But tanning nasal spray actually exists.

Tanning nasal spray, which contains a hormone called Melanotan II, has been getting a lot of airtime on TikTok lately. Influencers and online retailers who illegally sell this product are promoting it as a way to get a “safe and natural” tan.

However, melanotan can cause several health problems, including:

Some dermatologists have even taken to social media to urge people to avoid using tanning nasal sprays.

Contrary to what some influencers on TikTok and Instagram are suggesting, you don’t just inhale a spritz of spray tan before bed and — poof! — Wake up with a perfect tan. Sprays also don’t give you a “permanent tan.”

The Melanotan in Tanning Nasal Spray replicates alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormones in your body. When you inhale Melanotan through your nose, it enters your bloodstream through your mucous membranes. It then binds to your melanocortin receptors and stimulates the production of melanin, a pigment in your skin cells.

The more melanin your body produces, the darker your skin gets (temporarily). But even this tan doesn’t last forever. When you stop using the spray, your body’s melanin production will slow down and your tan will fade.

Melanotan I and II, found in tanning nasal sprays and tanning injections, are not approved or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You cannot legally buy Melanotan in a number of countries including the United States United Kingdomand Australia.

Because the FDA doesn’t regulate these products, you can’t know for sure whether the ingredients in the product you’re buying actually match the ingredients on the label — no matter what the retailer says.

So even if you are willing to put up with the potential health risks associated with using Melanotan, you could end up with a product that contains contaminants or unsafe additives.

one Study 2014 studied products sold as Melanotan-II by several online retailers. The researchers found that these products contained between 4.1 and 5.9 percent impurities. Moreover, although the vials were advertised as containing 10mg of Melanotan-II, the actual amount of Melanotan-II in the vials varied between 4.3mg and 8.8mg.

Aside from contamination and mislabeling, very little research has looked at the long-term effects of tanning nasal spray. Experts don’t know enough about the possible side effects of Melanotan to determine if people can safely use it.

In other words, any claims that influencers or online retailers have made about the safety of tanning nasal sprays are false. There is no scientific evidence that these products are safe.

If you use an unregulated product, you run the risk of inhaling and absorbing too much of the medicine and introducing pollutants and impurities into your body.

Much is still unknown about the long-term effects of Melanotan. but Experts | to have identified a number of short-term side effects associated with tanning nasal spray, including:

Melanotan may also contribute to more serious effects, including:

When using a tanning nasal spray, anything but mild side effects warrant a visit to a doctor.


If you develop severe symptoms, go to an emergency center or nearest emergency room immediately. Let your healthcare team know you’ve used a tanning nasal spray so they can better identify and manage any Melanotan side effects.

You can Get a suntanned beach glow without exposing yourself to harmful UV rays or injecting (or inhaling) melatonin and other untested, unregulated products.

Safe tanning options include:


Bronzers act like much makeup. You apply these products to your skin to achieve the look you want and then wash them off at the end of the day.

You can find bronzers in a variety of forms, including cream, stick, powder, and spray.

self tanner

Self-tanners come in the form of creams, lotions, and serums. They contain ingredients that darken the skin in the absence of UV light.

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), an ingredient used in many sunless tanning products, darkens the skin by reacting with amino acids on the skin’s surface.

The FDA allows DHA in sunless tanning products, but this ingredient is only considered safe for topical use. This means your self-tanner should not come into contact with:

  • Eyes
  • lips
  • Mucous membranes, the moist tissues found throughout the body, including the nose and genitals.

There are self-tanners with and without DHA. Some self-tanners also include bronzers, giving you an instant glow while you wait for the color additives to work and darken your skin.

Results typically last 7 to 10 days, although this period may vary depending on the product.

Spray on tan

A spray tan is exactly what the name suggests: a tan that you get through a spray, usually at a spa or salon.

A technician will mist your skin with a sunless tanning product containing DHA in depth and the tone of your choice. Depending on how dark you want your tan to be, your results can last anywhere from 7 to 10 days.

Tanning nasal spray just isn’t a good option for tanning.

Even discounting the lack of research on Melanotan’s long-term effects, these products remain unregulated. There is no guarantee that your spray will actually contain the ingredients printed on the label. It might even contain impurities as an unwanted bonus.

It’s safest to stick to approved tanning alternatives, like bronzers, self-tanners, and spray tans.

Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and writer who has written extensively on health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not hiding in her office shed researching an article or interviewing health experts, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with a husband and dogs in tow, or splashing across the lake trying to do the stand-up master paddle board.

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