Is tanning safe during pregnancy? You have probably heard warnings about overexposure to the sun’s UV rays and the risk of skin cancer. But what about tanning while pregnant? Is it risky for your pregnancy?
The answer depends on a couple of factors, such as how far along you are in your pregnancy and the type of tanning methods you are using.
Is Tanning Safe During Pregnancy?
Pregnant or not, skin experts or dermatologists usually advise against getting tanned, considering that chronic sun exposure is often linked with premature aging and skin cancer risks. Even the risks are higher for pregnant women since their extra sensitive skin becomes more vulnerable to hyperpigmentation and sunburn.
Having said that, the lure of getting a sun-kissed glow might be too much for some to ignore. Keeping that in mind, dermatologists often recommend a few precautions for individuals seeking safe tanning advice during pregnancy.
First and foremost, if you’re in the first trimester or at the beginning of the second trimester, you should avoid bronzing up your baby bump. Several studies suggest that UV exposure may induce folate deficiency in pregnant women. After all, folic acid is very crucial to laying the foundation for a baby’s brain development.
Before you decide, consult your doctor. The best way to know if tanning is safe for you is to ask your doctor. There are certain guidelines that you can follow as well, but speaking with a medical professional is always a good idea.
Risks Associated with Sunbath Tanning while Pregnant
You need to know that UV rays penetrate the skin more deeply when you are pregnant. The number of UV rays penetrating the skin while tanning varies depending on the tanner’s melanin levels. Melanin is the natural substance that protects our bodies from the sun’s rays.
In the case of individuals with darker complexions, melanin levels are much higher than individuals with lighter complexions. Therefore, individuals with lighter skin are more susceptible to harmful UV rays than those with darker skin.
Risks Associated with Tanning Beds while Pregnant
Like sun tanning, pregnant women are strongly advised against using tanning beds during pregnancy. Though the direct impact of tanning beds on an unborn child is still unknown, no one can predict how much penetration occurs during tanning sessions since tanning beds pump out huge amounts of UVA rays.
UVA rays can cause your skin to burn and increase the chance of skin cancer significantly. Also, tanning bed exposure increases the risk of macular degeneration (vision loss) because of UVA exposure. Among women who use indoor tanning beds regularly, cataracts are twice as likely as in non-users. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among people older than 55 years old.
Even worse, the harmful effects of tanning are not just skin deep. A new study shows that tanning during pregnancy is linked to a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis in the child later in life.
Now that you know the risks associated with tanning beds and direct sun tanning during pregnancy. What about sunless tanners? Is it safe to try different types of sunless tanners such as lotions, creams, and foams?
Is Sunless-Tanning Creams and Lotions Safe for Pregnancy?
Self-tanners during pregnancy are considered safe. To understand why these products are safe during pregnancy, you need to know what they are and how they work.
- Self-tanning lotions, creams, and foams are all dyes that stay on the surface of your skin, not inside it. They don’t come into contact with your baby, so there’s no risk of exposure to harmful substances.
- Titanium dioxide is a common ingredient in self-tanners. It helps block some of the most dangerous ultraviolet rays from the sun and converts them into harmless heat energy that feels warm on your skin.
- Self-tanning products affect only the color of your skin, so they won’t interfere with your body’s processes or cause other kinds of harm to your developing baby. As long as you use these products according to the instructions on their labels, you’ll be fine.
- Usage during pregnancy isn’t just for cosmetic reasons, either; self-tanners can also help protect against sunburns when you’re outside in the summer heat. However, it is important to know that self-tanning lotion may not provide adequate protection against harmful UV rays.
However, you should avoid spray tans. That’s because the dangers of chemical inhalation of spray tans is higher compared to self-tanning lotions and creams .
Considerations about Tanning during Pregnancy
Here are some things you should know about tanning during pregnancy:
- Tanning beds and sun lamps give off a lot of UV rays that are just as harmful to your skin as the sun. The hormones produced by pregnancy make your skin more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation, so tanning indoors can be just as damaging as going out in the sun.
- In many states, it’s against the law to use tanning beds while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you’re concerned about getting enough vitamin D during pregnancy, talk with your health care provider about other ways of getting enough vitamin D.
- Staying out of the sun isn’t always possible, though. A little sun exposure is good for you when you’re pregnant — research shows it may raise your baby’s immunity to disease and help their eyes develop properly. Wear a pregnant-safe sunscreen outside, and try to get 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight a day without burning yourself. But if you have any doubts about whether it’s safe for you or your baby, don’t go outside at all.
The Bottom Line
It’s okay to get some sun as long as you use sunscreen and other measures to protect yourself and your unborn baby. Since different skin type reacts differently to sunlight, check with your doctor for specific recommendations about how much sun exposure is safe for you during pregnancy.
There is a lot of misinformation out there about tanning during pregnancy. Some women are afraid of any UV radiation exposure, while others truly believe that they need to get a base tan to enjoy their summer. The best advice we can offer is try to understand the risks and then make your decision based on your personal preferences. If you want to be extra cautious, ask your doctor which type of self-tanner is safe for pregnancy before you spray it all over yourself.