Those seeking a bronzed skin tone without exposing themselves to harmful radiations could instead be at risk from the main ingredient in sprays, which is potentially harmful if inhaled.
If the substance, known as dihydroxyacetone (DHA), enters the lungs and is then absorbed into the bloodstream, it could damage DNA and cause tumours.
Scientists claim the chemical may make asthma worse, as well as other lung problems such as emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
According to ABC News, a panel of medical experts said that the DHA can cause genetic mutations and wreak havoc on human DNA.
“The substance seems to have a potential for what they call creating mutations or changing DNA in living cells which is a serious problem and needs to be further investigated, yet hasn’t been,” the Courier Mail quoted Dr Lynn Goldman, dean of the School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University in Washington DC, as saying.
“What we’re concerned about is not so much that reaction that creates the tanning, but reactions that may occur deeper down with living cells that might then change DNA, causing a mutation and what the possible impacts of that might be.
“I’d be very concerned for the potential of lung cancer,” Goldman added.
Doctors said that they became worried about the harmful effects of spray tanning after reviewing 10 scientific studies of DHA.
However, none of the studies involved actual human testing.
The risks do not apply to at-home tanning lotions, as it is applied to the outer skin and cells only, avoiding the potential for DHA to enter the bloodstream.