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Is It OK to Use Self-Tanner During Pregnancy?

I'm 6 months pregnant and getting ready to go on a tropical vacation. I'm really pale and don't want to feel self-conscious about my ever-expanding belly and my pasty skin! Is it OK to use sunless tanner during pregnancy?
- Lisa

Although there's no proof that self-tanners are harmful, there haven't been many studies done on their possible effects on a fetus. So check with your doctor before applying any "tan in a bottle." As an alternative to self-tanner, you could apply bronzer to your face, neck, shoulders, and chest.

One thing that is clear is that using self-tanner is far safer than lying out in the sun and potentially becoming overheated. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can lead to skin cancer, and overheating can increase the risk for birth defects, such as neural tube defects, in the first trimester and dehydration later in the pregnancy.

When you're in the sun during your vacation, make sure to wear sunscreen, drink plenty of fluids, and don't let yourself get too hot.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: May 2015

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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