Can You Tan While Pregnant?

image001As the winter weather fades and the summer once again makes an appearance, woman all over the world begin questioning whether or not they should be tanning while pregnant. Can you tan while pregnant? The thing to remember is that no matter whether you’re pregnant or otherwise, the sun can damage your skin. From premature aging to potentially fatal skin cancer, the sun has the potential to do more harm than god to anyone – unless sensible precautions are followed.

Can You Tan While Pregnant?

So really, should you be tanning at all while pregnant? Well, it’s no secret that sun-kissed skin can work wonders for your confidence at a time when you may not be feeling your most attractive, but it’s more important to look after your health and that of your baby.

On the plus side, the instant tanning creams and sprays you can pick up from all manner of stores are 100% harmless as they simply stain your skin on a temporary basis. Even better still, a fair few advances have been made in the industry which means it is now possible to tan at home without ending up looking like you’re slowly turning into a carrot!

Bottle Tanning: Yes 

Perhaps the safest tanning option of all for pregnant women is to apply a splash of color straight from the bottle. There are hundreds of different products to try out these days which are for the most part affordable, easy to use and provide genuinely impressive results with none of the attached risks.

That being said, it’s still prudent to only ever choose skin products that have been extensively verified and proven to be safe, as it’s likely that your skin will be more sensitive during pregnancy and this prone to allergic reactions and general irritation.

Tanning Beds: No 

As for tanning beds on the other hand, it’s not quite as simple. While it’s only fair to say that using a tanning bed has never been directly linked with any damaging effects as far as an unborn child is concerned, their ill effects on yourhealth can be truly devastating. Tanning beds are designed to replicate the effects of the sun and they do exactly that – right down to the way in which they can cause all manner of health problems.

  • Skin cancer. It’s been suggested following several studies that if you were to use a tanning bed just ten times over the course of twelve months, you increase your risk of developing deadly melanoma skin cancer two-fold. Melanoma is one of the deadliest cancer types known to mankind and has the very real potential to kill you and harm your baby.
  • High temperature. But it’s not just the effects of the UV rays that you need to be aware of. When you use a tanning bed, your body temperature is raised to such an extent that you could end up doing serious harm to your baby – especially during the all-important early months. Anything above 102 ° F is considered dangerous, which applies to anything you might be doing from sitting in a sauna to lounging in a hot tub – high temperatures have been linked with serious developmental issues in unborn infants.
  • Skin aging. Last but not least, pregnant mothers are also far more susceptible to developing unsightly signs of aging like sunspots and blemishes all over their skin – something that each session on the tanning bed increases the risk of.

It’s also safe to say that lying on your back for a long period of time also isn’t a great idea when pregnant as doing so can lead to blood flow restrictions.

Beach Tanning: Watch Out for the Sun!

Most of the risks associated with tanning beds also apply to natural beach tanning – don’t let nature lull you into a false sense of security! A woman’s skin becomes infinitely more sensitive during pregnancy, which greatly elevates her chance of developing all manner of skin complaints caused by excessive exposure to the sun. In order to prevent skin rashes and hives, it’s advisable to stay on the shade as much as possible.

And even if you’re staying out of the sun, you need to make sure you stay very well hydrated and use a factor 30 sunscreen or higher – also be sure to wear a hat to protect your head. You should never spend too long in any environment where the temperature is high, so make sure you take plenty of breaks to cooler areas.

What Precautions Should Be Taken?

Most fake tan products contain Dihydroxyacetone or DHA, which research has proven to be non-toxic and generally harmless in every way. The DHA that colors your skin only penetrates the very top layer of the skin and doesn’t go any deeper, which means that it has no effect on your baby whatsoever.

However, some people have mild or moderate allergies to DHA and this can become more of a problem during pregnancy when all women are more susceptible to sensitivities. The best advice when trying a new product is to first apply it to a small area of skin, leave it for at least 24 hours and assess the effects before applying it to the whole of your body.

The only time DHA can be harmful is if it is inhaled or in any way consumed, which in turn makes it advisable to favor creams and lotions rather than sprays. Or if you choose to use a spray, do so with your mouth and nose fully covered – maybe ask a friend or family member to help you out.

And if you find strong scents too much to bear while pregnant, check out the fragrance-free options that can be much more palatable.

Advice from Other People:

Is tanning safe during pregnancy? I’m about half way through my second trimester and I recently went to my doctor with this exact question and what he told me was pretty simple – tanning whether pregnant or otherwise is a risky business. He pointed out to me that no matter what kind of tanning I go for it’s not likely to have an effect on my baby – he’s too deep inside me for the rays to make it through. If this wasn’t the case, anyone living in a hot country would end up with a baked baby! But when he told me about the elevated risk of skin cancer and permanent, unsightly damage to my skin, I decided it just wasn’t worth it.”

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