Tanned skin is a fashion staple that many women desire. It feels great to have a deep tan while on vacation, for a special event, or on the day-to-day.
Perhaps winter feels like it is dragging on, and you need a spring pick-me-up.
Whether the reason is a special event or that you’re looking for a healthy everyday glow, there are many ways to go about tanning.
Methods include sun tanning, spray or self-tanning, and using tanning beds.
However, if you are nursing, you may want to consider the risks before choosing a tanning route.
This article will share whether tanning while breastfeeding is safe or not for you and your baby and tips for successful and safe tanning.
Can I Suntan While Breastfeeding?
Tanning under the sun is safe while nursing. No evidence suggests that doing so affects your milk supply or your breastfed baby.
When tanning outside, be sure to wear a good sunscreen and reapply every few hours or after being in the water.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends broad-spectrum protection with at least an SPF of 30. A zinc oxide formula is one of the most effective types of sunscreen.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you choose a sunscreen that does not contain oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is an ingredient in some sunscreens that might have hormonal properties.
If you need to nurse throughout the day, wash off your sunscreen in between feedings. After nursing, reapply before going back into the sun. If you don’t wash it off, your baby can ingest sunscreen when nursing can be dangerous.
Too much sun exposure can be dangerous to your skin, so even with sunscreen, try to limit the time. Tanning outside can cause painful sunburns, premature aging, skin cancer, and other serious skin issues.
Always Keep Baby In the Shade
The AAD recommends keeping your baby in the shade when taking them to the beach or a pool. Try using an umbrella or a canopy, or dress your baby in light clothing.
If you cannot provide shade, you can use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. The AAP recommends limiting sunscreen use as much as possible in children younger than six months old, but if no shade is available, it is okay to use.
Can I Use A Tanning Bed While Breastfeeding?
Yes, you can use tanning beds while breastfeeding. Tanning in a bed will not cause harm to your breast milk supply.
Research has found that tanning beds, which emits UV rays to tan the skin, do not affect breast milk or breastfed babies.
However, before getting in a tanning bed, cover your breast area to protect your nipples and areola from getting burned.
Nursing can become extra painful if you have burned and red nipples.
Tanning Beds and Effect on Skin
While there are no known risks from tanning bed use to breastfeeding, tanning can affect your health. The AAD reports that indoor tanning heavily increases your risk of getting skin cancer.
Tanning beds are thought to cause hundreds of thousands of skin cancer cases a year, including melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, as it can quickly spread throughout the body.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, tanning bed use also causes “wrinkles, age spots, and loss of skin firmness.”
Several types of tanning beds differ in the ratio of UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can penetrate deeper into your skin. UVB rays are the rays that cause sunburn.
Both UVA and UVB rays cause skin cancer, but UVB rays are slightly less damaging.
If you notice any changes in your skin, such as asymmetrical moles or birthmarks, see your dermatologist immediately.
If you choose to use a tanning bed despite the risks, do not use it for longer than you need to. If you need assistance knowing appropriate time lengths and levels to use in a tanning bed, ask the salon’s attendant.
Some tanning salons also offer tanning vitamins that claim to enhance your tan along with tanning bed use or on their own.
If you are breastfeeding, it is best to check with a medical professional before taking these.
Can I Get A Spray Tan While Breastfeeding?
It is entirely safe for breastfeeding mothers to get a spray tan. This route is safer than sun tanning and bed tanning because it is a sunless tan.
You do not expose your skin to harmful UV rays, which cause skin cancer. Instead, a formula is applied to your body that changes the outer layer of cells to darken a few hours after application.
Follow the directions correctly while getting a spray tan and close your eyes and mouth when getting sprayed.
Try to avoid breathing in the formula by holding your breath while the spray passes.
Nursing mothers must cover the breast area before spray tanning. You can use a barrier cream, which might be provided by the tanning salon, nipple pads, or Vaseline.
You can even wear an old bathing suit top that you don’t mind getting stained to protect your breasts.
Failure to cover your breasts while getting a spray tan might cause your baby to ingest the tanning formula when you feed your baby, which can be dangerous.
It is not encouraged for your baby to accidentally taste because babies have such sensitive immune systems. Having spray-tanned breasts while nursing also may allow your baby’s skin to come in contact with the spray tan during breastfeeding.
Because your baby’s skin is so sensitive to allergens, this could cause an allergic reaction or even cause the tan to rub off and unintentionally tan your child!
Plan Your Feeding Schedule
It might be a good idea to plan out your feeding schedule around your spray tan because the spray tan needs to develop over a few hours.
The minimum number of hours to wait after getting the spray tan before showering is 4. For an optimal tan, you should wait 8 hours.
Your skin might feel sticky while the tanner is developing. Therefore, you might want to pump and save your breast milk in the fridge or freezer for the day you get your spray tan.
This way, you don’t have to feed while the tan is developing, and you can stick to your breastfeeding goals!
Can I Self-Tan While Breastfeeding?
Yes, you can use self-tanning products while breastfeeding to reach your desired skin color. Like spray tans, this is a healthier choice for tanning because you are not exposing your skin to UV rays to acquire your desired skin color.
The use of tanning products does not affect your milk supply or your breastfed baby. Self-tanner is a convenient way to get tan skin cheaply and at home.
It comes in lotions, foams, wipes, and serums that you can apply in the comfort of your bathroom.
When applying your tanning lotion, try to avoid using it on your breasts. Doing so will prevent the formula from getting on your baby and causing harm through a skin allergy or ingestion.
What Ingredient In Self-Tanners Tans Your Skin?
Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is the active ingredient in both spray tan formulas and self-tanners. DHA is derived from plants and causes a reaction with your skin’s top layer, which tans your skin.
DHA has not been found in the milk of breastfeeding mothers who use sunless tanner. One downside of sunless tanning is that it only lasts a few days.
However, with self-tanning, you can reapply whenever your tan needs a refresh.
The Verdict: Spray Tans and Self Tanners Are The Safest Option
Having a gorgeous, year-round tan feels great and can boost your confidence. Breastfeeding women who choose to tan should not worry that their milk supply or baby will be affected.
Evidence shows that skin tanning when you are breastfeeding has the same risks as tanning when you are not nursing. However, sun tanning and bed tanning do pose risks to your wellness.
It is important to consider those dangers before choosing a method. Your baby needs you healthy. Always talk to your doctor if you have any questions regarding you or your baby’s well being.
Stay healthy and happy!