A few decades ago, tanning was not a fad among the beauty- and fashion-conscious. But when French fashion designer Coco Chanel showed up from a sailing trip with golden brown skin, the tanning trend was born.
Celebrities, movie stars, teenagers, athletes, and others began to flock to sunny resorts and beachside hangouts, soaking in the sun’s rays in order to get that tanned look.
Soon, dermatologists and doctors were sounding the alarm about the potential harmful effects of too much exposure to the sun’s rays. They brought attention to skin damage, wrinkles, excessive drying, and even skin cancer that can be caused by excessive sunbathing.
This brought about the rise of alternative tanning products and procedures, including indoor tanning lotions and creams, spray tanning, and tanning beds.
Because of its relative affordability, ease of use, and minimized risks (compared to direct sunlight exposure or UV ray exposure in tanning beds), spray tanning has become a popular choice among those who want to achieve a glowing, bronzed skin tone. So how exactly does spray tanning work?
The Science of Spray Tanning
Tanning products and methods such as spray tanning target the epidermis, or the outer layer of the skin. The outermost layer of the epidermis is the most affected by the tanning products. The common active ingredient in most spray tanning products is dihydroxyacetone (DHA).
DHA is a colorless sugar that when applied to the skin, reacts with the dead skin cells in the outermost layer of the epidermis. After a period of time, the reaction causes the skin to change color, resulting in a tanner skin tone.
The resulting tan that we see is actually the dead skin cell layers that have turned color. One thing about spray tans is they do not last very long; within 5-7 days, the skin cells will gradually be sloughed off or worn away.
Other self-tanning products and moisturizers can be applied to the skin to maintain the color, but eventually another spray tanning session would be needed. Eventually, when a base skin color is formed, tanning sessions can be lessened in frequency.
How Spray Tanning is Applied
It is quite easy to drive around your city and find several business establishments that offer professional spray tanning application. They may have attendants who take care of it manually, or a tanning booth where you step right in and the mist solution is sprayed all over your body.
You will need to be careful not to ingest the spray tan or let it get inside your eyes, nose, ears, etc. The DHA ingredient of spray tans is not approved for ingestion, and there effects have not been studied at length (spray tanning establishments generally provide eye goggles and other protective wear).
Spray tan products for home use are also available. You can apply spray tan at home, although this can be quite messy if you are not careful or prepared for the application process.
Spray tanning products can leave permanent stains on tiles, walls, or floors, so you have to be careful during the application. Quick cleaning procedures are necessary.
Learn more about Spray Tans by visiting our homepage: Spray Tan Tips