The DHA in spray tans is at best questionable! The spray tan industry is not regulated by the FDA and is a segment that almost falls through the cracks on safety oversight. The agency advises consumers who spray tan they are "not protected from the unapproved use of this color additive" if they are inhaling the mist or allowing it to get inside their body. They state that protective underwear, eye wear and nose plugs as well as lip balm should be used. Most of the salons that ABC News stepped into didn't even have any of these items available.
Recent studies have raised serious concerns and many questions. The DHA found in tanning spray has been found to alter genes in certain cells, cause mutations and speculations have lead that it could cause cancer, among other things. These findings were based on lab studies and have not been studied in humans.
They have also discovered that the DHA is being absorbed into the body at a higher rate than they previously thought. Remember, anything you put on your skin is at some rate being absorbed into the body. An entire industry exists based on this information (the nicotine patch, the birth control patch, etc).
So what are we to do? Sun tanning causes cancer, not to mention premature aging, spray tans are at best questionable, so then what? The alternatives really don't exist, there are tanning lotions out there without DHA, they don't really give you a bronzed look, however, they can provide a warm glow. And tanning pills - well they contain beta carotene, the same additive that gives carrots their color and isn't popular because it gives more of an orange color.
The best advice is to simply protect your skin with sunscreen and love it no matter what color your skin is. We spend so much energy and money on products that lighten our skin...it seems like a contradiction to go out and spray tan! If you have a night out and want some color on your legs, then use some of your foundation, or if you have mineral powder mix it with some lotion and spread it around. Viola, instant, healthy color!
For the full report done by ABC News: http://news.yahoo.com/spray-tans-safe-experts-raise-questions-industry-puts-190727621--abc-news-health.html