Doctors are baffled at a new trend of TikTokers snorting tanning nasal sprays to help darken their skin. There’s quite a bit to unpack here, so let’s dive in.

Tanning company Glow Darker is one of many businesses that has become popular on BeautyTok after promoting its “tanning nasal sprays”, which involve users snorting an unlicensed compound called melanotan II to help them achieve a darker tan.

The account reshares various clips of women recommending its nasal spray, and the original videos having thousands of views.

@glowdarkertanning

LINK IN BIO ????

♬ original sound – Katrina Wright

@permatanco

Link in bio to get your tanning nasal spray now! ⚡️ #fyp #viral #materialgirl #materialgworl #faketan #tanning #faketantips #tan #tiktokmademebuyit

♬ sound ni grace – BENGBENGMARCOS

One video shared on Glow Darker’s account is of an influencer preparing for her weekly sunbed tan by inhaling the nasal spray and taking tanning fruit drops (??).

@glowdarkertanning

@miajomelling using our XS spray to get her glow on ????????

♬ original sound – GlowDarkerTanning

Another tanning company called Permatan also sells the nasal sprays. It has videos on TikTok that claim the sprays can change your entire skin colour in as little as three days if paired with some UV light.

@permatanco

Link in bio to get your nasal spray now! ☀️ #fyp #viral #materialgirl #materialgworl #faketan #tanning #tiktokmademebuyit #tan #faketantips #tanned

♬ Melanin Secrett – Heki

Aside from the underlying racial issues around tanning culture and literally changing your skin tone to mimic that of ethnic people — you can read more about that here — these products are also not as trustworthy as they seem.

Tanning nasal sprays are quickly becoming a cult beauty favourite in the TikTok tanning scene, but what a lot of people don’t realise is that these products are unlicensed, meaning you can’t actually be sure they’re safe.

UK based doctor Gabriella Birley told FEMAIL that there are serious concerns in the medical community that there may be long term side effects to these products.

“Nasal tanning sprays are not licensed in the UK which means that they have not undergone the stringent safety, quality and effectiveness testing that all medicines have to undergo before they can be licensed for use,” she said.

“Because they have not undergone this level of testing, there are serious concerns amongst medical professionals about the potentially serious side effects of the product meaning that it is, therefore, unsafe to use.”

According to Dr Birley, reported side effects of the nasal sprays are quite worrying. They include nausea, headaches, spontaneous erections, darkening of moles, stomach and heart problems, as well as blood and eye disorders and life-threatening allergic reactions

“The products have been designed to try and stimulate melanocytes which are the cells in your skin that produce pigment,” Dr Birley explained.

“Due to the lack of testing, it is unknown whether this has the potential to overstimulate those cells and potentially cause something more sinister like Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.”

@permatanco

Link in bio to get your nasal spray now! ⚡️#materialgirl #materialgworl #fyp #viral #beautyhacks #tanning #faketan #faketanroutine #tan #tanninghacks

♬ original sound – Permatan

Dr Ahmed El Muntasar of The Aesthetics Doctor also reinforced their dubiousness, telling FEMAIL: “Nasal tanning spray contains melanotan. They are not very regulated and are quite unsafe. There is no clear regulation of the concentration and chemical structure.”

“Because they increase melanin production, theoretically it might increase long-term chances of skin cancer/ make the pre-distinct freckles change colour which could cause a skin cancer scare, in my opinion, I would not advocate using them,” he said.

So kids, if you see a brand telling you to snort a spray to get a tan, maybe just ignore it for now. Tanning in the sun or using UV light is already dangerous and increases your cancer risk as it is.

Better yet, perhaps you should consider why you feel like you need to change the colour of your skin in the first place.

If we’ve come to a place in society where we view skin bleaching as a symptom of insecurity around our skin, then it’s time to reconsider tanning as a practice, too.