You Can Get Beautifully Bronzed From Spray Tans
Do you want to get a tan without risking the dangers of skin cancer and causing wrinkles? There is a way, commonly known as a “spray tan”, and it is available in salons and spas across the country.
Some have booths that you step into, and abracadabra! you come out tan, others have technicians who use an airbrush to hand-apply the product.
There are pluses and minuses to both of course, and in the end it’s really more a question of your own comfort and being happy with the results.
About Sunless Tanning – what makes it work?
Natural chemicals cause the inside of an apple to turn brown when it’s exposed to air. The naturally occurring chemical dihydroxyacetone, commonly known as DHA, does the same thing to your skin, and it’s the main ingredient in sunless tanning sprays.
DHA is a colorless sugar derived from plants such as sugar beets. It has been used to treat medical problems such as skin-pigmentation disorders for many decades, and has been approved by the U.S. FDA for cosmetic use as well.
It was first used in sunless tanning products by Coppertone in the 1960s, although that early attempt tended to turn people orange – as some of you may remember! The products have greatly improved since then, and we modern women can boast about getting the glowing tan we love without the sun – and without it looking artificial.
The products work by creating an enzymatic reaction with the amino acids in the outer layer, or epidermis, of the skin, causing the dead skin cells to turn dark. The effects of DHA are temporary, due to the normal way your skin renews itself, so within a few days your sprayed-on tan will begin to fade.
The best you can expect from spray tanning is color that lasts about a week, depending on if or how often you use exfoliating products.
Loofahs may make your skin feel soft, but they will literally slough off that tan you just paid money to get; so if you want to exfoliate (and that includes using scrubs and products that contain vitamin A, alphy-hyrdoxy and glycolic acid), do it before you go for the spray tan.
Most of the spray tan formulas also contain a bronzing agent as well, due to the fact that the DHA in your spray tan doesn’t develop color right away.
But since many people expect to leave the salon tan and not be told they need to wait hours before that happens, the bronzer has been added.
Unlike the darkening caused by DHA, the bronzer dye will wash off the first time you shower, swim or work up a lather, so your tan could be at its darkest during the first 24 hours.
More About Your Spray Tanning Options
The best-known brands for spray tan booths are VersaSpa and Mystic Tan (links to them below). Both companies offer well ventilated and roomy models. MagicTan, the maker of VersaSpa, and Mystic Tan merged in 2009, but the two names are still used independently. The machines tan customers all over in a matter of minutes by spraying them with a mist containing the tanning product, and this is done in total privacy.
You should expect to be given everything you need when you get to the salon – a plastic cap to cover your hair, sometimes a paper bra and panties that you can throw away, and always complete instructions for you to get both safe and beautiful results.
Also, you should be able to choose between light, medium and dark tanning. If you have very fair skin, you should not opt for the darkest level as this will not appear natural on you.
Some businesses also offer airbrush spray tanning. An skilled applicator, using a high-pressure gun similar to those used to paint cars, applies the tanning solution. You will be in front of the technician in a swimsuit, with some women opting to forgo the top.
If that is what you’d like to do, rest assured that you’re not the first woman in history to go topless in front of them, and that people who work in the business won’t raise an eyebrow. There are options here about where and how much product to use, such as accenting your muscle definition, and even creating some where you did not have it before.
The caution there is that if you use a spray tan to give your abs extra definition that it does wear off and if you don’t religiously keep up with it you will look decidedly different at the beach!
Cost and Details
Spray tanning is growing in popularity with salon customers nationwide so you should not have a problem finding this service in your area.
And depending on your local economy, spray tanning in a booth may run anywhere from $20 to $30 each time, and the airbrushing application can be from $30 to $45. Most salons will offer monthly packages that can save you quite a bit of money, so be sure you inquire about it.
Overall, getting a tan sprayed on is far safer than laying at the beach and letting the Sun damage your skin, so as long as you ask plenty of questions in advance and are given clear instructions, no matter how you choose to have your tan applied, it should be both beautiful and natural-looking.
Tips from Nancy
Wear loose-fitting sweats or a simple sundress and flip-flops when you go. You don’t want to wear tight fitting jeans or shorts that might leave lines as the spray tan dries. And, unless you’re offered disposable bra and panties, wear a bathing suit or underwear you won’t mind getting stained.
The product does not dry immediately, so you will see it on whatever you’re wearing that day, and also on your bedsheets the next morning as well. I have found that it does wash out without a problem, but some fabrics could hold the color more than others, so if you can find some inexpensive sheets to use on spray-tan days, it would be a good idea.
To help keep your tan looking good, apply face and body moisturizer morning and night, or as directed by the spa or technician.
Lastly, make sure you keep your eyes closed and do not breathe in when the mist is spraying at you. You’ll be told that during your spray tan, but I wanted to reinforce it as it’s an important point.