Is sunless tanning safe while you’re pregnant?
Probably yes – but check with your OB/GYN regarding your specific situation.
The best pregnancy-safe self-tanners bronze your skin without harmful ingredients.
Then, you can look sun-kissed while you’re expecting.
Why are self-tanners safe?
For one, the FDA has approved the primary self-tanning ingredient for use on the skin (1).
It’s called DHA, or dihydroxyacetone.
This chemical reacts with cells on the outer layer of your skin. It bronzes your body similar to the way that an apple turns brown after you cut it open (2).
As long as you don’t inhale it or get it in your eyes, it’s safe. It’s been tested clinically for over four decades and does not appear to absorb into the body past the skin.
The only risk in using DHA is that your skin is probably more sensitive during pregnancy. There is a chance you could have an allergic reaction. Therefore, test your new self-tanner on a small area of skin first. Wait a day to see how you react (3).
Next, for extra safety during pregnancy, don’t spray tan.
Spray tanning makes it more likely that you’ll inhale or ingest particles.
Instead, opt for fake bake lotions, mousses, and wipes.
In a pinch, you can use a bronzing powder, too (4).
Now, let’s review the best self-tanners for use during pregnancy.
St. Tropez Self Tan Express Advanced Bronzing Mousse
People ask if the St Tropez self-tanner is safe during pregnancy. As always, I’d recommend you speak to your doctor first.
In the meantime, you should know that this is one of the best-selling award-winning self-tanning products available.
Part of its appeal comes from the fact that you can choose how dark you want to go.
If you leave it for one hour, you’ll have a light bronze.
After two hours, you’ll develop a medium tan.
And after three hours or more, you’ll be a sun goddess.
For best results, exfoliate thoroughly before applying it. If you use the applicator mitt, it’s easier to get perfect coverage with this mousse.
Just go easy on your elbows, knees, and ankles as they tend to absorb more of the product.
Then put on sunscreen and an antioxidant-rich moisturizer to keep your body in top condition.
The vegan formula is free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates.
Skinerals Californium Self Tanner – Sunless Tanning Mousse
The Skinerals mousse promises streak-free color that lasts up to seven days.
It’s made with natural and organic components and doesn’t have sulfates or parabens.
While some sunless tanners have an overbearing fragrance, this one does not. That’s good news if you’re extra sensitive to smells.
Miami Gorgeous LaPlaya Clear Self Tanning Mousse
You may have noticed that some fake bake products have bronzers that serve as a color guide. That can be helpful to help you see where you’ve applied and where you haven’t.
But instant bronzers are notorious for rubbing off on sheets, towels, and clothing.
The Miami Gorgeous mousse is clear-colored. You won’t need to worry about it staining anything.
It takes about four to six hours to develop a golden glow. In the meantime, it moisturizes to soften your skin.
Try it, and if you don’t love it, they offer a full refund.
Bondi Sands Self Tanner Foam
The Bondi Sands Self-Tanner smells like coconuts. It’s designed for first-time tanners and those with light or medium skin tones.
They recommend applying the foam with a mitt.
Leave it on for at least an hour but no more than six hours to achieve the perfect color.
Some users have criticized the way the color transfers onto towels and the fact that it takes a long time to dry.
ArtNaturals Sunless Self-Tanner Lotion Set
This set from ArtNaturals includes sunless tanning lotion and an applicator mitt. After you apply it, it takes about four hours for a tan to develop.
You also want to wait about ten minutes to let it dry before dressing.
The formula is based on DHA and skin-conditioning plant oils. It’s packed with sweet almond and jojoba seed oils plus shea butter and soothing calendula.
There are ingredients like green tea that fight premature aging, but they don’t protect against sunburn. You’ll still need to use sunscreen when you go outside.
Take note that one of the last ingredients in the list is retinyl palmitate. Chances are that the quantity is minuscule, but it is potentially toxic to fetuses (5).
Norvell Sunless Self Tanner Mousse with Bronzer
Norvell is one of the top spray tan manufacturers. Happily, they’ve also created this mousse that you can apply at home with a sponge or mitt.
Then, wait eight hours before you shower or swim.
Like other products from this company, it’s free of parabens, petrochemicals, artificial fragrances, sulfates, gluten, and GMO ingredients.
It contains anti-aging and moisturizing ingredients like antioxidants, aloe, and tomato seed extract. Plus, it’s designed for both the face and body and won’t cause acne.
The fragrance is a pleasant raspberry almond blend.
My Skin’s Friend Self Tanner Organic Spray
Skip the mitt when you use this self-tanning lotion. It’s not in a squeeze bottle or pump, but a spray bottle.
It’s clear so that it won’t stain clothing.
Primary ingredients include DHA extracted from sugar, organic aloe, erythrulose from raspberries, and frankincense.
Erythrulose is another molecule that can bronze your skin like DHA (6). The color it creates may last longer than DHA, but it hasn’t been formally approved for this purpose by the FDA yet.
COOLA Organic Sunless Tan Body Lotion
If you’re very concerned about what’s in your sunless tanner, check out this lotion. It might be the best fake tan when you’re pregnant.
COOLA avoids GMO ingredients, parabens, and nuts. The formula is non-toxic to coral reefs and vegan. And as many ingredients as possible are organic.
Even the piña colada scent is natural.
After you apply the lotion, it won’t streak or rub off on your clothes. It’s rich in vitamins, shea butter, and baobab oil. It also has caffeine from green coffee beans to firm the skin.
Beauty by Earth Self Tanner with Organic & Natural Ingredients
Beauty by Earth offers a satisfaction guarantee on their self-tanner lotion. It won’t turn you orange or blotchy.
Instead of chemicals, it relies on DHA extracted from sugar cane. It also has organic coconut oil, organic pomegranate, and organic witch hazel.
The pleasant fruit and vanilla fragrance will appeal to men as well as women, so you can share this one in the bathroom.
Also, the lotion makes skin feel silky soft.
Aliver Self Tanner with Organic & Natural Ingredients
The effects of the Aliver lotion should last about a week. But “lotion” is a misnomer even though it makes the skin feel silken.
There are gradual self-tanning lotions available. The amount of DHA in the product can help you decide if it’s a gradual tanner that builds up over a few days or something that develops color within a few hours.
In this case, DHA is the third ingredient. That indicates that one application should significantly darken your skin tone.
Other ingredients include aloe and botanical extracts.
Lavera Organic Self-Tanning Body Lotion
Lavera’s lotion is designed for both the face and body. It works quickly, and you can see effects within two hours or less.
This is a product made by a company designated as a Green Brand by Germany. It contains certified organic ingredients and natural essential oils.
It uses DHA and erythrulose to naturally darken the skin.
Other delicious components include organic macadamia nut, soy, lavender, and rosewater, as well as shea butter and calendula.
Vichy Capital Idéal Soleil Moisturizing Self Tanner Milk
Vichy’s Self-Tanner Milk has been tested by dermatologists to be safe for sensitive skin. It’s not greasy, and it’s free of allergens and parabens.
Use the lotion up to four times a week to maintain a natural-looking bronze.
One important point is that it contains Vitamin E. This is an antioxidant that prevents and heals damage from sun exposure. It also helps moisturize.
L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Lotion Medium
L’Oreal’s Sublime Bronze reveals your tan in four hours or less.
Since it contains mild alpha hydroxy acids, it promotes skin renewal.
Users say that it has a mild fragrance that dissipates quickly.
Control Your Glow Gradual Tan by Bahama Tan
Build up color with this gradual tanning lotion that’s safe during pregnancy. Your bronze should last for at least four days and up to a week afterward.
The white-colored lotion contains Eco-Cert-approved DHA and natural and organic ingredients. While you wear it, argan oil and shea butter condition your body.
There are no petrochemicals, mineral oil, lanolin, or parabens. There’s not even an artificial fragrance.
The vegan formula is non-comedogenic and mild enough to use on the face.
Famous Dave’s Tanner Organic & Natural (Medium/Dark) Sunless Tanning Lotion
Famous Dave’s lotion is designed for all skin types. It shouldn’t streak or turn you orange. To ensure quality, it’s made in small batches.
It contains anti-aging ingredients like Matrixyl 3000, argan oil, aloe, and Coenzyme Q10. But it also has hyaluronic acid to add plenty of hydration.
Eco Tan Invisible Tan Organic Face Body Tanning Lotion
The Invisible Tan lotion is made for medium to olive skin tones. It slowly develops your tan over eight hours. And it doesn’t contain artificial dyes or bronzers so it won’t stain clothing.
The natural color of the lotion comes from cacao. But once it sinks in, it’s invisible.
Fans of this product like how it doesn’t have the fake tan smell that some mousses and lotions have.
VITA LIBERATA Fabulous Gradual Tanning Lotion
Speaking of smells, VITA LIBERATA’s lotion has Odor Remove Technology. That’s a major bonus as the fake bake smell can be downright unappealing.
But there are other benefits. For example, the lotion seals in hydration for up to 72 hours after you apply it. And the fact that it tans your skin gradually means you can use it to boost your color each day.
The ingredients are 100% natural. Some are certified organic. Of course, there are no parabens, alcohols, or perfumes.
Sunless Tanning Oil GOLDEN STAR BEAUTY
If you prefer a tanning oil instead of a lotion, you might like this one from Golden Star Beauty. It comes in a spray bottle. Spritz it on and massage it in just like you would sunscreen.
It comes with a 100% guarantee that you’ll be satisfied. It won’t streak or smell terrible. It doesn’t even feel oily once it dries.
The American-made formula avoids parabens, dyes, and formaldehyde. Instead, it’s packed with organic plant oils like macadamia and evening primrose.
Facial Sunless Tanner w/Hyaluronic Acid and Organic Oils by GOLDEN STAR BEAUTY
Here’s a sunless tanning oil for your face. It’s based on luxurious moisturizers like hyaluronic acid and rosehip oil.
The idea is to bronze your skin and improve your complexion at the same time.
It’s made in the USA and doesn’t have parabens, dyes, or gluten.
Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster Self-Tanning Fluid
You can turn any moisturizer or lotion into a self-tanning product with this fluid. Just add three drops and mix well before you apply it.
Clarins recommends adding it to your day or night cream.
It features both DHA and erythrulose plus aloe for a natural-looking glow.
Vita Liberata Phenomenal Organic Tan Infused Cloths
Vita Liberata makes these biodegradable self-tanning wipes with organic materials and ingredients. They have no parabens, perfumes, alcohols, or harsh chemicals.
Just swipe and go as the formula dries fast. The bronze develops over the next six hours or less.
For perfect coverage, dampen knuckles, elbows, and knees before wiping with the tanning cloth. Then the dry skin and those areas won’t darken excessively.
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t be tan.
Bronze safely with sunless tanning products.
If you use pregnancy-safe self-tanners, you’ll avoid harsh chemicals and protect yourself and your baby.
If you found one today that you love using, tell us about it in the comments below.
1. https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-products/sunless-tanners-bronzers published June 3, 2018, accessed November 11, 2019
2. https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/is-it-safe-to-use-fake-tan-during-pregnancy/ published May 14, 2018, accessed November 11, 2019
3. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/tanning-while-pregnant#Is-Self-Tanning-Lotion-Pregnancy-Safe?- by Chaunie Brusie , published March 18, 2016, accessed November 11, 2019
4. https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/ask-heidi/self-tanners.aspx by Heidi Murkoff, published October 26, 2018, accessed November 11, 2019
5. https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredients/705545-RETINYL_PALMITATE_(VITAMIN_A_PALMITATE) accessed November 11, 2019
6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erythrulose accessed November 11, 2019