Fake Tan Nearly Killed Me
All she wanted was a tan, but a dodgy spray almost proved deadly for Lucy…
These days, you’d have to be daft not to realise the dangers of sunbathing.
But I still liked that golden glow, so I bought it in a bottle. I’d tried many different fake tans and found the sprays easiest to apply.
When shopping, I’d always stock up on supplies.
On Sunday 29 May 2016, I was preparing for a meal out with some friends.
The sun was out, so I dressed in shorts and a T-shirt.
Only, looking at my legs and arms: so pasty and white!
I found a product I’d never used before - St Tropez Instant Tan Wash Off Face & Body Spray - in the bathroom cabinet.
I’d bought it for just £10 about a month earlier.
I began spraying my legs and arms. Within seconds, I started
I was trying to avoid the dangers of sunbathing
coughing and spluttering. I flung open the window to get some air, but it was no use. Gasping for breath, I headed to the bedroom. Sitting on the bed, trying to take deep breaths, my lungs struggled. It felt like a ton of weight was crushing my chest. I could taste chemicals in my mouth and, panicking, I dialled NHS 111 for some advice. I described my symptoms and fifteen minutes later, paramedics arrived to check me over. They gave me a nebuliser mask, as I was shaking and dizzy. Slowly, my breathing eased, but my chest still felt tight. ‘You seem OK, but go to A&E if you feel unwell,’ one paramedic advised. Must’ve been an allergic reaction, I thought. I didn’t want to let my friends down, so I struggled to the restaurant to meet them. Only, once I was there, I had no appetite and a bad headache. ‘It feels like flu,’ I explained, cutting the night short. Back home, though, I couldn’t
sleep at all.
Curious, I typed my St Tropez product into Google and I was horrified to read that that particular product had been recalled three years earlier, as it had caused problems with breathing in some people.
How had I been able to buy it a month ago?
The next morning I went to A&E at King’s Mill hospital and texted my mum asking her to meet me there.
I had numerous blood tests done, a chest X-ray and I was given oxygen.
The mask helped me breathe easier, but I was shocked to be admitted to a ward.
Mum soon arrived. She was appalled at what’d happened.
A few hours on, the doctor visited. ‘You’re lucky to be here,’ he began.
Then he explained that if I’d left it any longer, my reaction to the chemical could’ve been life-threatening.
I discharged myself at 8pm, as there was nothing more medics could do.
My body needed plenty of rest.
Off my food, I spent four days in bed sweating and feeling rotten.
My lungs felt bruised and I had to take a week off from work.
I shuddered to think what might have happened if I hadn’t sought help when I did.
St Tropez immediately launched an investigation into how it’d been available to buy.
The only problem was, I couldn’t remember which shop I had bought
THE DOCTOR TOLD ME I WAS LUCKY TO BE ALIVE
it from - it was over a month ago.
I’m not angry, it’s just an unfortunate mistake. But I nearly paid with my life. One thing’s for sure, I’ll never use fake tan again.
I’d rather be pale than dead.
My chest felt so tight I was shocked to be admitted to hospital