What Are Tanning Pills? Dermatologists Warn Oral Tanning Is 'Not Safe'

Join Fox News to access this content

Plus, with your account you get special access to select articles and other premium content, completely free.

By entering your email address and clicking Continue, you agree to Fox News' Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which includes our Financial Incentives Notice.

Please enter a valid email address.

Some people are swapping UV rays for tanning pills, as countless social media influencers rave about how these supplements have given their skin a bronzed glow. But are they safe?

These pills contain several ingredients, including L-tyrosine, beta-carotene, and astaxanthin, which may have a color-changing effect on the skin.

Doctors warn that this alternative way of tanning the skin may carry risks.

DOES SUNBURN CAUSE SKIN CANCER? DOCTORS DEBUT FALSE CLAIMS MADE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

According to a March 2022 release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are currently no FDA-approved tanning pills.

The FDA confirmed to Fox News Digital that this has not changed to date.

The US Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that there are no FDA-approved pills to tan the skin. (iStock)

“Nevertheless, pills continue to appear on the market with tanning claims,” ​​the FDA wrote. “Consumers should be aware of the risks associated with such products, as well as questions about their efficacy.”

According to Dr. Alexis Young, a dermatologist at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, one of the biggest risks is that some people think they are more protected from the sun because of their dark skin tone.

SKIN CANCER CHECKS AND SUNSCREEN: WHY THEY ARE (STILL) IMPORTANT FOR GOOD HEALTH

“I can assure you [that] “This is not the case,” she told Fox News Digital. “These pills do not provide SPF protection against the sun's harmful UV rays, which can increase our risk of skin cancer — including melanoma, the deadliest form.”

These pills often contain a pigment called canthaxanthin, which accumulates in the skin and eyes, the dermatologist added.

When used long-term in high doses, this pigment could potentially cause liver damage, Young warned.

Close-up of a happy, smiling woman taking a pill

Experts warn that tanning pills can have side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and allergic reactions. (iStock)

“Symptoms may include fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain and jaundice,” she said.

“Canthaxanthin deposits in the retina can potentially cause blurred vision, night blindness, and even permanent vision loss.”

According to Young, tanning pills can also have other side effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and allergic reactions.

SUNBURN SOS: 7 TIPS TO SOOTHE YOUR SUN-DAMAGED SKIN, ACCORDING TO A WELLNESS EXPERT

In addition to canthaxanthin, tanning pills may also contain other elements such as beta-carotene and L-tyrosine.

“Although generally considered safe, excessive beta-carotene intake may be harmful, especially for smokers, as it may increase their risk of lung cancer,” Young said.

“L-tyrosine…may interact with certain medications and may worsen pre-existing conditions such as hyperthyroidism.”

woman sunbathing by the pool

Tanning pills offer no protection against the sun's rays, experts note. (iStock)

Dermatologist Dr. Mina Amin of California Dermatology Specialists also weighed in on this trend in an interview with Fox News Digital. She noted that carotenoids—which are often found in these supplements—give fruits their color.

“As dermatologists, we actually see this when someone eats too many carrots,” she said. “They can also get a similar 'brown' effect that looks more like an orange color, which often shows up first on their hands and feet.”

“The safest approach is to avoid sunbathing altogether and embrace your natural skin tone.”

Amin agreed that too many carotenoids can cause liver damage, as they have been linked to increased alcohol-induced swelling and inflammation when taken in high doses.

Manhattan dermatologist Dr. Brendan Camp also advises against the use of tanning pills, he told Fox News Digital, as they must be taken in higher doses to produce visible changes in the skin's pigment.

HOW TO WEAR SUNSCREEN PROPERLY: YOUR GUIDE TO SPF

“And the results are temporary, meaning you have to keep using them to maintain the tan they give,” he said via email.

The expert pointed out that astaxanthin has been linked to gastrointestinal side effects such as abdominal pain and diarrhea.

woman takes pill with water

According to a dermatologist, the potential risks of tanning pills, particularly skin cancer and liver damage, outweigh any perceived benefits. (iStock)

According to Young, tanning pills are “not considered safe,” even when dosage instructions are followed.

“The potential risks, particularly for skin cancer and liver damage, outweigh any perceived benefits,” she said. “It's important to remember that the FDA has not approved any tanning pill as safe or effective.”

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR HEALTH NEWSLETTER

Amin agreed that there is “simply not enough evidence to support the use of these supplements to tan the skin.”

“Given the unknown safety profile, I recommend not using these pills in amounts that could lead to a tan,” she added.

woman using sunscreen on the beach

A dermatologist advises everyone to use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher when exposed to the sun. (iStock)

For alternative tanning options, Amin suggested using an at-home self-tanner.

Young also prefers self-tanning products and self-tanning creams, such as lotions, mousses and sprays, which provide a temporary tan “without exposing your skin to harmful UV rays.”

For more health articles, visit www.foxnews/health

She also recommended professional spray tans, which provide a “more natural-looking,” customized tan.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Remember, the safest approach is to not tan at all and embrace your natural skin tone,” she said. “Protecting your skin from sun damage is crucial to maintaining long-term good health and preventing skin cancer.”

Fox News Digital contacted several manufacturers of tanning pills and asked for comment on possible safety risks.

Related Posts

  • Health
  • July 25, 2024
  • 3 views
  • 5 minutes Read
Doctors react to Biden's live address to nation, concerned about 'lack of emotion'

After President Joe Biden During his address to the nation Wednesday night, several doctors shared their opinions with Fox News Digital about his alleged health condition, based on his live…

  • Health
  • July 24, 2024
  • 2 views
  • 2 minutes Read
Doctors back Biden's withdrawal from race, plus health problems in previous presidents

President Biden’s announcement that he is dropping out of the presidential race has raised questions about his health. Dr. Marc Siegel (top left) and Dr. Brett Osborn (top right) share…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Missed

Nvidia supplier SK Hynix posts highest profit in 6 years on AI chip boom

  • July 25, 2024
Nvidia supplier SK Hynix posts highest profit in 6 years on AI chip boom

hedge fund manager Dan Niles

  • July 25, 2024
hedge fund manager Dan Niles

Not to inflame tempers, but chickens blush

  • July 25, 2024
Not to inflame tempers, but chickens blush

Chinese EV startups spend more on research than Tesla

  • July 25, 2024
Chinese EV startups spend more on research than Tesla

Biden explains post-election exit, praises Harris over Trump

  • July 25, 2024
Biden explains post-election exit, praises Harris over Trump

'Inside Out 2' is the highest-grossing animated film ever, surpassing 'Frozen 2'

  • July 25, 2024
'Inside Out 2' is the highest-grossing animated film ever, surpassing 'Frozen 2'

LeVar Burton Talks His Changing Definition of Success on NPR's 'Wild Card' : NPR

  • July 25, 2024
LeVar Burton Talks His Changing Definition of Success on NPR's 'Wild Card' : NPR

Doctors react to Biden's live address to nation, concerned about 'lack of emotion'

  • July 25, 2024
Doctors react to Biden's live address to nation, concerned about 'lack of emotion'

USWNT defender Tierna Davidson on 'difficult situation' created by Korbin Albert's anti-LGBTQ posts

  • July 25, 2024
USWNT defender Tierna Davidson on 'difficult situation' created by Korbin Albert's anti-LGBTQ posts

South Korea GDP, Wall Street Sell-Off

  • July 25, 2024
South Korea GDP, Wall Street Sell-Off

This Retirement Misstep Could Cost You More Than $100,000 in Savings. Here’s What You Need to Know.

  • July 25, 2024
This Retirement Misstep Could Cost You More Than $100,000 in Savings. Here’s What You Need to Know.