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The Controversial Technology Behind the Romney Tan

Not sure if you noticed or not, but Mitt Romney's rocking a pretty suspicious October glow. It's that rich guy look that former private equity executives pick up on weekend trips to the Caymans, where they go to visit their money. It's also the best...
October 24, 2012, 5:00pm

Not sure if you noticed or not, but Mitt Romney’s been rocking a pretty suspicious October glow. It’s that rich guy look that former private equity executives pick up on weekend trips to the Caymans, where they go to visit their money. It’s also the best way to tell who you ought to impress in a meeting at work, like George Hamilton playing a boss in a made-for-TV movie. Since he’s running for president and everything, though, Romney doesn’t have the time for island getaways. Plus he doesn’t look quite right. His skin sort of glows, looks weird around his eyes and changes by the day. And his face doesn’t match his neck. That’s a dead giveaway. It’s a spray tan.


This is no half baked theory. A month ago Romney appeared to be darker than usual during a town hall on Univision, where he tried to continue downplaying his comments about the 47% – but said nothing about another comment from that secretly taped fundraiser, related to the Romneys’ Mexican heritage (the subject of a recent Vice documentary.):

“My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico … and uh, had he been born of uh, Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a number of years. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.”

Now, a number of “industry experts” have explained the whole situation to BuzzFeed. (Okay, so it’s a little bit half baked.) One of said experts is Anna Stankiewicz, owner of the New York-based spray tan company Suvara, who says she’s spray tanned a number of politicians in her day. The color he’s choosing is totally not believable," Stankiewicz said. “It’s a dead giveaway… They’re clearly using way too dark a forumla for his skin tone, It’s just like, ‘Oh my God, he got sprayed. It’s just so obvious.” Tamar Verizan, another spray tan salon owner, back up the theory. At Monday night’s debate, Verizan said the former Massachusetts governor looked like he got a bad paint job. “It was very uneven, and it didn’t look natural at all. You can always tell by looking at the hands and the neck. On camera, it shows up a lot more too,” said Verizan. “I was looking at Mitt Romney the whole time and just thinking, with all that money you'd think he'd get the best spray tanner in the country.”

A “foundation line” was visible on Romney’s head hours before his Univision appearance

Maybe it’s not the spray tanner’s fault, though. The science of spray tanning – the “safe” alternative to tanning beds – is fairly simple, but the results vary person-to-person. Most salons use a special solution that contains a certain amount of dihydroxyacetone, a.k.a DHA. This colorless sugar causes a chemical reaction on the surface of your skin – one that can lead to serious allergic reactions and, according to a curious legal victory in Florida this summer, may have killed a woman. More conclusively, some experts say, is the potential that DHA could cause permanent damage to one’s DNA. In June, Fox News reported on ABC’s investigation:

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The DHA reacts with dead skin cells, causing them to become darker in a similar way that a half eaten apple goes brown if left out in the open air. Varying the amount of DHA in the solution changes the shade of the resultant tan. Combine this theory with the Mitt Romney-is-a-robot theory and you get the sense that his skin, like the electoral vote, could do just about anything.

Image via Flickr