August 2014
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“Spray Tan” Death Causes a Slight Hysteria

Ever since the news aired about a week and a half ago about the gentleman who was wrongfully accused in the death of his wife being acquitted, there has been much of a renewed interest on whether or not the so called “safer” tan, the fake spray tan, is really healthy. Or could it possibly be dangerous?

Read this entire article for information on whether DHA, the active chemical in self tanners that turns your skin brown, has been found to be toxic – it surprised me too.

And what sparked the renewed interest? I found all the details out after I read the headline, the story behind the Florida woman who lost her life, and saw the Dateline special on the whole case (I love that show by the way).

A young wife and mother named Eleanora died under fairly mysterious circumstances on her master bathroom floor about five or six years ago. The case baffled investigators, as most cases do that involve a person who is young and seemingly in flawless health at the time of their death.

The woman was discovered by her husband on the floor of their master bathroom in the morning. He said that she was slumped over near the toilet, and was unresponsive and cold to the touch. When he called 911, he was hysterical, as anyone would be when seeing their spouse unresponsive.

The police investigation veered off in several directions, first focusing on whether the woman may have died due to her first spray tan experience, which she had just the night before her death. An expert testified who said he did not think it impossible that she had an allergic reaction to the spray tan, and since it was her very first one (she had gotten it to look good for her brother in law’s impending wedding), that seemed a fairly plausible explanation.

Even though this is a very rare occurrence, perhaps even the first of its kind, allergic reactions can happen with just about anything. What may be totally inert and harmless to me and you may actually cause severe reactions in another. It really all depends on the person’s immune system and their individual tolerance to various allergens.

Although the allergy to the spray tan could never be proven, it continues to be a theory out there of what caused the young mother and wife’s death. The husband got off as not guilty as doubt was cast over whether he may have had a role in her death, but he was cleared and after I saw the evidence and the botched investigation on Dateline, I agree with this verdict.

The tragedy is that this woman did lose her life, and people are wondering if the active chemical in spray tans and other self tanning products really is safe. The chemical is DHA, and some are really questioning the held belief that it is a safe alternative to tanning. Recent testing showed that it caused mutations in fish cells, but human trials have not been done yet.

This is interesting, because many chemicals considered “safe” enough to use in today’s cosmetics such as parabens and phthalates are actually toxic to the human body, so I wouldn’t doubt that DHA may have a similar problem. We will have to await further research on this, but this definitely plants some doubt.

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