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Recently, tanning pills have hit the market and are advertised as a way to get a natural-looking, even tan from the inside out. While avoiding the sometime messy process of applying self-tanning lotions and sprays may seem appealing, consumers should be cautious about ingesting chemicals that have not been tested and approved for this use. Most pills contain the pigment canthaxanthin, which has been approved by the FDA as a food color additive, but not as a tanning agent. After large amounts of canthaxanthin are consumed, it is deposited throughout the body - including in the skin, which turns an orange-brown color that is known as a “tan”, and also in internal organs, including the liver and the brain. Unfortunately, canthaxanthin-based tanning pills have been linked to dangerous side effects, including hepatitis – a dangerous inflammation of the liver. There is no point in avoiding the harmful effects of the real sun just to subject yourself to the harmful effects of these pills: bronzers and tanning lotions will give you that truly healthy glow you seek.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|