Of all the sunless tanning methods available such as sun beds, lotions and creams, spray tanning has become the most popular with celebrities, Instagrammers and their millions of followers. There are many good reasons for its popularity.
Indeed one of the attractions of a spray tan is that it is quick and easy with most people opting for a session in a spray tanning booth. Although not cheap it is very convenient and private. A self-contained spray booth will dispense a fine spray all over the body ensuring an even application and tan. This is in contract to the laborious hours spent applying lotions and creams across your entire body and hoping that you get an even tan.
The way that spray tanning works is actually no different from the creams, gels and lotions you can buy of the shelf or online. The active ingredient is a substance called Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) that interacts with the surface cells of your skin to turn them brown. The surface layer of skin called the epidermis is mainly made up of dead skin cells and these are constantly being shed so will typically all be shed within 3 to 7 days. This makes spray tanning and other sunless tanning safe and non-permanent.
A significant advantage of a spray tan is that the fine spray that is applied dries very quickly unlike the lotions and gels, which prevents the stain being transferred to everything you come in contact with. But you should still wear loose clothing afterwards to prevent staining your clothes or rubbing of the tan due to friction.
DHA is the only FDA approved sunless tanning ingredient and all sunless products contain DHA. The artificial tan takes 2 to 4 hours to begin appearing on the skin surface, and will continue to darken for 24 to 72 hours. The tan can be removed by showering and scrubbing – exfoliating – the skin. This temporary tan will typically last from 3-7 days.
However you should note that although a spray tan looks like a genuine sun tan it doesn’t provide any protection against the sun so you will need to use the same sun blocks and lotions to protect against sunburn.
In addition, you should be aware that if you go to a booth there may be only a very limited choice of tan colors, which will typically be light, medium and dark. A spray gun or spray-can might give a better choice but will not have the same privacy as you will have to have someone else do the spraying.
In order to get the best results it is recommended to prepare the day before by exfoliating your body to scrub off the dead skin. This will maximize the length of time the tan will last as well as provide a better all-round even tan. But be careful when you plan your appointment to realize that for optimum results you should not shower or use soap or moisturizer for 8 hours afterwards.