Want a golden glow without the worries of cancer, wrinkles and dry skin? Spray tanning may be just the thing. A sunless alternative to achieving that “healthy glow,” spray tanning essentially dyes the color of your skin temporarily. The days of identifiable “fake bake” are in the past with this innovative product. Though it can be tricky to apply solo, spray tanning can have smooth, even results if used properly (and with a helpful assistant sprayer).
How It Works
According to the Mayo Clinic, the “active ingredient in most sunless tanning products is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). When applied to your skin, DHA reacts with dead cells in the outermost layer of skin to temporarily darken the skin’s appearance” The “tan” lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 days and can vary in color depending on how well you apply it. To make sure it works properly, you must prepare your skin in advance.
Spray tan products can be self-applied or applied by professionals. You can purchase spray tan products in most drugstores and apply them yourself or with a friend (it is nearly impossible to get your back just right without help). If you seek a professional, you can be “airbrushed,” where you are sprayed over your body with a hand-held device. Another option is a booth, like Mystic Tan, where you stand in a private 360-degree booth and are sprayed by a machine.
If strange symptoms occur after applying a spray tan, you should stop the spray immediately and wash with gentle soap and water. Symptoms can include itching, rash and swelling. Do not get another spray tan until you can determine the cause of the symptoms. If the symptoms persist, contact your physician.
First and foremost, you must prepare your skin in advance to make sure the spray tan sets properly on your skin. Exfoliate your skin to remove any debris and old skin cells. Dry your skin completely. Wet skin will lead to a blotchy or streaky tan. After your spray tan, wait the time designated by your product before applying clothes and washing your skin.
Pregnant and nursing women should seek advice from their doctor before using spray tanning of any kind. The active ingredient in tanning sprays, dihydroxyacetone, may cross the skin barrier and be absorbed directly into the blood stream, causing an accidental chemical exposure that should be avoided when pregnant or breastfeeding for the health of the baby.