Perceptions about skin tone and beauty vary from culture to culture and are very interesting to look at and analyze. In many countries where people have darker skin tones, such as in much of Asia, beauty is usually seen as correlative to how fair skinned someone is.
Much of the cosmetic procedures and beauty products you will see aim to make someone’s skin fairer and lighter. In the West, however, where most of the population are lighter-skinned, tanning is a very popular activity as people want to achieve a healthier, darker glow in their skin tone.
Spray Tan Tips for Men and Women
In the United States, women and men alike are very attracted to the sun-kissed, youthful glow of tanned skin tones, and many troop to beaches during the summer and lay out under the sun for long periods of time in order to achieve that natural tan.
During the winter months, or for those people who do not live as close to the coast, tanning beds and salons have become a popular method for achieving a quick tan.
There is a general perception that tanned skin means someone is healthier, more active, and younger, hence the popularity of different products and ways to achieve a darker skin tone.
Another method that has proven to be successful among many consumers is the spray tan, or what is referred to more formally as sunless tanning.
What are Spray Tans?
Spray tans refer to chemically-produced products that are applied topically to a person’s skin to achieve a tanned, bronzed look without the use of any direct sunlight or ultraviolet rays.
Spray tans became very popular starting a few decades ago when many medical studies and research began to highlight the dangers of extended periods of sunlight exposure, a practice which a lot of Westerners were doing to tan their skin.
Also, the risks of skin cancers and other disorders from excessive use of tanning beds and salons contributed to the shift to spray tans as a method of tanning.
The most popular ingredient of spray tanning products and solutions is DHA or dihydroxyacetone.
DHA as an active ingredient causes a chemical reaction when it comes in contact with amino acids on the skin surface, which then causes a browning or color change.
The resulting color change can last between 3 to 10 days. There are other active ingredients in other spray tan products, including tyrosine (an amino acid that stimulates melanin production).
Is Spray Tanning Safe?
In your area, it is very possible that you have seen establishments or businesses that offer professional spray tanning. Many spas and salons offer this service to their clients.
A tanning spray booth is utilized for this process, where the DHA tanning solution is sprayed as a mist while the customer is inside the booth. The process usually lasts only several minutes. In one episode of the sitcom Friends, Ross (played by David Schwimmer) was seen using a spray tanning booth (with very funny results).
While the DHA solutions and products used for professional spray tanning booths are considered safe, the tanning booth itself has not been approved yet by the FDA. The DHA may be approved for external application, but in a spray tanning booth, the solution can be inhaled, swallowed, or ingested through the eyes, mucous membranes, or lips. The effects of ingesting DHA this way have not been fully tested or studied.
On the other hand, DIY spray tanning products that can be used at home have been approved by the FDA.
As long as consumers follow the guidelines and directions for using these spray tan products, there are very little risks involved in this process, and it is still considered much safer compared to regular tanning bed sessions or sunbathing for extended periods of time.
Any product or procedure, no matter how safe, effective, and regulated, can become potentially harmful or hazardous to one’s safety and well-being if the proper usage directions are not followed closely. This is why it is very important for the consumer who wants to try a do-it-yourself spray tan kit at home to read the instructions first, and to avoid any excessive application of the product.
Want to learn more about Spray Tanning Safety? Check out: Is Spray Tanning Safe?
How Long Do Spray Tans Last?
The length of time that the average spray tan lasts hinges a lot on the quality of product used, as well as how you prepared your skin prior to spray tanning. The skin needs to be prepared prior to the application of any spray tanning product in order to maximize the effects of a spray tan.
As a general average, the effects of spray tanning can last between 5-10 days before you see the gradual fading away.
It is important to note that if you regularly use spray tanning products, your skin will get more used to the process and will be able to maintain the color much longer over time.
Spray Tan Tips: Make Your Spray Tan Last Longer
There are several spray tan tips to make your tan last longer. Below are the 5 most commonly recommended spray tan tips to lengthen the life of your spray tan.
- Exfoliate Before Your Spray Tan Session
In order to maximize your spray tan product use, experts recommend exfoliating the skin before the session. At least a half hour before spray tan is applied, you should shower and use an exfoliating scrub to remove dead cells from the skin’s surface. This makes your skin more prepared to absorb the spray tan solution, and results in a more even tan as well (without the streaks or lines).
- Wait at Least 8 Hours to Shower or Swim
To prolong the effects of a spray tan, you should also wait at least eight hours after the session before showering. Showering too soon after a spray tan session can cause uneven streaks all over the skin.
- Use Moisturizers Every Morning
You can also maintain and prolong a spray tan by using moisturizers with DHA ingredients. Apply the moisturizer every morning and night to maintain the spray tan effects.
- Avoid Harsh Soaps and Cleansers
When bathing or taking a shower, use gentle skin cleansers, body wash, or soaps, and stay away from harsh ingredients like BHAs or AHAs.
- Pat Skin Dry After a Shower or Swim
When drying yourself after a shower or bath, pat your skin gently instead of rubbing vigorously. Also, swimming in pools with chlorine can wipe out your spray tan completely, so be careful.
How Much is a Spray Tan?
The cost of a spray tan depends on the source or manufacturer, the frequency, and the demand in your area for this procedure.
In large urban communities where demand is higher, you may be able to get better prices because of the competition.
Professional spray tanning booth sessions range between $25-$60 per session.
Self-application spray tan kits, meanwhile, can cost anywhere between $25-$50.
If you are planning on making spray tanning a regular regimen, inquire about packages from your local spray tanning establishment. Many of them offer special prices and packages for multiple sessions or memberships, and you may be able to save big if you sign up for one of these packages.