Doctors warn against using tanning nasal spray

‘I’d rather die hot than live ugly’: TikTok trend encourages the use of tanning nasal spray to darken the skin as doctors warn it could have ‘life-threatening side effects’

  • TikTok users are claiming tanning nasal sprays help to keep their skin dark 
  • A London-based tanning salon racked up 25,000 likes on a video showing spray
  • Doctors are warning against the trendy product which isn’t licensed in the UK

TikTok users who’ve filmed themselves using tanning nasal sprays to boost the effect of sunbeds have been accused of encouraging a dangerous trend.

Tanning salon Glow Getter in Chingford has joined other social media users in promoting the use of tanning nasal sprays for darkening skin, and have racked up more 25,000 likes on a video of a woman using the product.  

The clip shows a woman preparing for her tan by inhaling the tanning nasal spray, consuming tanning fruit drops then rubbing her skin with a cream before getting in a sunbed.

Nasal sprays, which contain an unlicensed compound called melanotan II, are designed to stimulate melanocytes, which are the cells in your skin that produce pigment. 

Despite impressing viewers, doctors have warned tanning nasal sprays are dangerous because they aren’t regulated and can have serious side-effects. 

Doctors have warned against the viral trend for using tanning nasal sprays to darken skin (pictured), as seen on TikTok 

A TikTok user posting under the handle @MadisonSutton gushed about the tanning nasal sprays working without the use of a sunbed, while another posting under @HannahTayy lip synced in her clip saying: ‘I’d rather die hot than live ugly, so if this is going to take 10 years off my life I don’t care.

‘I don’t want to be old anyway. Old people are ugly.’

The clips have each racked up thousands of views with commenters admitting they are eager to try tanning nasal sprays for themselves.

One person wrote: ‘I’ve never bough something so fast. Can’t wait to try’

‘I want a nasal spray,’ another said.

Tagging a friend, a third added: ‘We need those drops and spray’

Dr. Gabriella Birley of The Doctor Clinic told FEMAIL that tanning nasal sprays can be dangerous because they usually haven’t gone through a thorough testing process. 

She said: ‘Nasal tanning sprays are not licensed in the UK which means that they have not undergone the stringent safety, quality and effectiveness testing that all medicines have to undergo before they can be licensed for use. 

TikTok user Madison Sutton (pictured left) gushed about the tanning nasal sprays working without the use of a sunbed, while Hannah Tayy (pictured right) joked about not caring about the risks associated with the products 

‘Because they have not undergone this level of testing, there are serious concerns amongst medical professionals about the potentially serious side effects of the product meaning that it is, therefore, unsafe to use.

Are nasal sprays legal? 

Nasal tanning sprays in the same way allergy sprays are taken.  

They can contain an unlicensed compound called melanotan II, which is similar to a hormone that increases the production of melanin in the skin, causing it to darken.

Melanotan II is unlicensed and could have unknown side effects.

Under current UK law it is illegal to sell both Melanotan I and Melanotan II. However, it is not illegal for people to buy it. 

‘Due to tanning nasal sprays being unregulated, the products can also contain other impurities that could be damaging to your health. 

‘Like with most medications, there are side effects and users of nasal tanning sprays have already reported significant side effects, such as nausea, headaches, spontaneous erections, darkening of moles, stomach and heart problems, as well as blood and eye disorders and life-threatening allergic reactions.

‘The products have been designed to try and stimulate melanocytes which are the cells in your skin that produce pigment. 

‘Due to the lack of testing, it is unknown whether this has the potential to overstimulate those cells and potentially cause something more sinister like Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.

Many TikTok users have left comments admitting they are eager to try the tanning nasal spray and have encouraged others to also purchase it 

‘Administering products via the nasal cavity provides direct access to the systemic circulation via the nasal mucosa which will increase your risk of experiencing side effects. I would strongly advise anyone not to use any unregulated products like nasal tanning sprays.’

Dr Ahmed El Muntasar of The Aesthetics Doctor reiterated, saying: ‘Nasal tanning spray contains melanotan. They are not very regulated and are quite unsafe. There is no clear regulation of the concentration and chemical structure. 

‘So I would not advocate using them; they can increase blood pressure and cause headaches.

‘Because they increase melanin production, theoretically it might increase long-term chances of skin cancer/ make the pre-distinct freckles change colour which could cause a skin cancer scare, in my opinion, I would not advocate using them.’ 

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