Self-tanning preparations

Is it safe to use self-tanning creams during breastfeeding? I hate to ruin my skin in the sun so I wondered if these sunless tanning products are ok to use.

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

Self-tanning preparations are increasing in popularity. They're a great way for you to get a tanned look, without the risks of overexposure to the sun.

The active ingredient in self-tanning products is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). It is derived from sugar cane. This reacts with the amino acids in the upper layers of the skin to produce a tan. No dyes are used, and this is considered to be a safe process.

In general, there is some absorption from any product used on the skin. Only use if your skin is not damaged. There is no evidence that use of skin care products has any negative effect on your nursing baby. When applying to the breast, avoid using around your areola and nipple. Allow to dry thoroughly (about one hour) before breastfeeding.

Remember that your skin will still need to be protected from the sun. Be sure to use sunscreen when you'll be spending time outdoors. Best wishes!

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