Account Navigation

Account Navigation

Currency - All prices are in AUD

Currency - All prices are in AUD
 Loading... Please wait...
Biddiscombe Sunless

Sunless Tanning Safety

Posted by John Melville on

Sunless Tanning Safety

ABC's Good Morning America released a segment on the spray tanning industry on June 12, 2012 that has attempted to stir up some controversy. Following is the link to the online article and the YouTube Video of the segment.

Biddiscombe International was not interviewed for the segment, and following Biddiscombe president John Melville's response below is the Media Alert that was issued by the Indoor Tanning Association prior to the segment airing.

Click here to see the response from Smart Tan's Joe Levy to the one-sided interview of him presented by ABC's Good Morning America.


The report is clearly of concern to us and all in our industry.Our mandate as a cosmetic manufacturer under law is to produce products that are safe to use, a responsibility we take seriously.

  • 1.Use of HVLP systems to reduce overspray.
  • 2.Use of exhaust fans and filters to pull overspray down and away from clients and technicians.
  • 3.Protection of the eye area when spraying.
  • 4.Applying a barrier to lips
  • 5.Use of nose plugs or filters.
  • 6.Use of a mask by technicians.

A report by the Danish Toxicology Center showed that the concentration levels of DHA solution in the air was very low using HVLP equipment as opposed to booths.Making sure good ventilation is present will enhance this further.

Indoor Tanning Association, Inc., 2025 M St, NW Suite 800 Washington, DC 20036 Phone: 888-377-0477 Fax: 202-367-2142
Media Alert- May 29, 2012

ABC News Report To Target Spray Tanning Safety
An ABC News undercover investigation into spray tanning safety is in the editing phase right now and appears set to air, perhaps as early as this week. The report appears to be centered on three areas that you may need to address locally after the piece airs.

  1. Are professional tanning salons effectively using safety gear in spray tanning sessions, including protective eyewear, nose filters, lip balm and protective undergarments?
  2. FDA has approved DHA for self-tanning products for decades, but does not specifically regulate DHA spray tanning. The agency has published guidelines for those who use spray tanning and is well aware that spray tanning is a growing business, but has no regulatory enforcement over its recommendations.
  3. Despite the fact that DHA safety has been established, ABC appears to have interviewed some sources who are questioning whether or not DHA spray is safe.

We expect the report to be negative. ABC interviewed Smart Tan's Joseph Levy two weeks ago in New York for more than an hour. Despite two requests prior to the interview, ABC did not give Levy any indication what the story was about. The reporter placed studies and reports in front of Levy for the first time on camera and asked him to respond. ABC also used hidden cameras to visit spray-tan salons, allegedly showing that many salons are not following spray tanning safety standards.

To prepare yourself for the airing of this story:

  1. Review the FDA web site, which lists FDA's recommendations for consumers who spray tan.
  2. Make certain that your staff is aware of consumer safety procedures outlined by your manufacturer for the proper usage of spray tanning equipment in your salon – particularly the usage of nose filters and protective eyewear.
  3. Understand that even though some sources interviewed by ABC for this story are pointing to a 2004 study questioning the safety of spray tanning, our DHA product is the same spray tan product delivered over-the-counter without consumer safety training by cosmetic companies like Neutrogena, Estee Lauder and Clinique — which do not appear to be scrutinized by ABC in the report.
  4. A 2010 multi-source report from The European Commission established the DHA spray tanning safety record that we stand by.

We will send out an advisory after the piece airs to answer any other questions raised by the story.

The entire professional tanning community continues to support adherence to safety recommendations for the usage of both UV and spray tanning equipment. An ABC News investigation into DHA spray tanning (which has not yet aired) apparently will allege that many professional salons are not following these standards. Prior to ABC's story even running, retailers and manufacturers in the market have already initiated a universal effort to improve salon and consumer awareness of existing safety standards – including the usage of protective eyewear, nose filters, lip balms and protective undergarments. It should be noted these safety standards are provided in professional salons, but are not provided when a consumer purchases department-store over-the-counter, self-use spray tanning products, which apparently were not targeted in the ABC News investigation.


Media Update - June 13, 2012

President's Message

The recent ABC sting on spray tanning is just another reason to love the media. This is "Got Ya” journalism taken to the next level… and the reporter apparently thinks it's news.

In case you missed it, ABC broadcast a very negative report on spray tanning/DHA in June. Joe Levy (Smart Tan) was interviewed by an ABC investigative reporter regarding the safety of spray tanning and steps the industry takes to prevent inhalation and eye contact. They followed up with a sting operation in Manhattan under the guise a "sunless tanning special”. Using a hidden camera, the reporter looked at what salons do to prevent inhalation of the spray and protect the customers' eyes.

This is the third sting operation run on our industry this spring and there may have been others run locally of which we are not aware. In any case, the pattern is clear. The people that want to put you out of business are entrapping salons and then exaggerating the results to get the attention of the public and ultimately policymakers.

What is also clear is that we have a new opponent -- most likely labeled the cosmetic industry. Until recently this industry has been in agreement with our offering spray tanning services as an alternative to UV tanning. As the spray tanning business has grown, it has begun cutting into their profits.

Please make sure your staff is aware that this industry is under intense scrutiny and that any question asked by a "customer” could be a setup for a sting. As important, make it a priority to regularly review with your staff all state and federal requirements for both UV and spray tanning.

Let's not make it too easy for the bad guys. As we saw with the New Jersey tanning mom, they don't require much ammunition to cause a national commotion.