Things to Know Before You Get a Spray Tan

Are you planning to get a spray tan? Discover the essential things you need to know before you indulge in this sunless tanning method. From preparation to aftercare, we cover all the crucial aspects to ensure a flawless and long-lasting glow.

So, you’re considering getting a spray tan to achieve that beautiful sun-kissed glow without the harmful UV rays.

Before you take the plunge into the world of sunless tanning, it’s crucial to understand the process, preparation, and aftercare involved.

In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through everything you need to know before you get a spray tan. From the benefits and risks to the dos and don’ts, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s dive in and get you ready for that flawless tan you’ve been dreaming of.

The Basics of Spray Tanning

Before we delve into the details, let’s start with the fundamentals of spray tanning. Spray tanning is a popular method of achieving a bronzed complexion without exposure to UV rays.

During the process, a fine mist containing Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is sprayed onto your skin, which reacts with the topmost layer, resulting in a temporary tan that can last up to 7-10 days with proper care.

Understanding DHA and its Effects

DHA, the active ingredient in spray tanning solutions, is a colorless sugar derived from beets or sugar cane.

When applied to the skin, it interacts with the amino acids in the dead skin cells, causing a chemical reaction that darkens the skin’s surface.

This reaction usually takes a few hours to fully develop, and it’s essential to avoid showering during this period to allow the tan to set evenly.

The Importance of Patch Tests

Before proceeding with a full-body spray tan, it’s vital to perform a patch test. A patch test involves applying a small amount of the tanning solution on a small area of your skin, usually on your arm or leg.

This test helps identify potential allergic reactions or skin sensitivities to the product. If you experience any redness, itching, or irritation, it’s best to avoid the tanning solution or consult with a dermatologist.

Preparing for Your Spray Tan

Achieving a flawless spray tan begins with adequate preparation. Follow these steps to ensure your skin is ready for the treatment:

1. Exfoliate Thoroughly

Exfoliation is key to a smooth and even tan. It helps remove dead skin cells and any residue from lotions or oils that could interfere with the tanning solution. Use a gentle exfoliant and focus on areas prone to dryness, such as elbows, knees, and ankles.

2. Avoid Moisturizers and Oils

Moisturizers and oils create a barrier on your skin, preventing the tanning solution from adhering evenly. Avoid applying any products to your skin on the day of your appointment.

3. Remove Makeup and Deodorant

Before your spray tan session, remove all makeup and deodorant to allow the tanning solution to interact directly with your skin.

4. Choose Loose, Dark Clothing

After your spray tan, wear loose-fitting, dark-colored clothing to prevent the tanning solution from transferring to your clothes.

During Your Spray Tan Session

Now that you’re prepared, it’s time for your spray tan session. Here’s what you can expect during the process:

1. Professional vs. DIY Spray Tan

You have two options for getting a spray tan: visiting a professional tanning salon or trying a DIY self-tanning product at home. While DIY products are convenient, a professional spray tan tends to deliver more even and natural-looking results.

2. Customization Options

Discuss your desired tan shade with the tanning technician to ensure they use the appropriate tanning solution that complements your skin tone. They can help you achieve a sun-kissed glow that looks entirely natural.

3. Proper Application

The tanning technician will guide you through various poses to ensure even coverage of the tanning solution on all parts of your body. Pay attention to their instructions to achieve a flawless tan.

4. Protective Measures

The technician may provide protective items, such as disposable underwear and hair caps, to shield certain areas of your body during the tanning process.

Aftercare Tips for a Long-Lasting Tan

Congratulations on your new spray tan! To make the most of your sunless glow and ensure it lasts as long as possible, follow these essential aftercare tips:

1. Avoid Water and Sweating

For the first 6-8 hours after your spray tan, avoid contact with water and sweating, as it may cause streaking or uneven fading.

2. Choose the Right Products

Use sulfate-free, gentle body washes and moisturizers to prolong the life of your tan. Avoid products with exfoliating ingredients, as they can cause the tan to fade more quickly.

3. Pat, Don’t Rub

After showering, gently pat your skin dry with a towel instead of rubbing, which can help maintain an even tan.

5. Moisturize Daily

Keep your skin hydrated by moisturizing daily, as dry skin can lead to faster fading.

6. Avoid Chlorine and Saltwater

Chlorine and saltwater can be harsh on your tan, so avoid swimming in pools or the ocean.

7. Maintain with Gradual Tanners

As your spray tan naturally fades, consider using a gradual tanning lotion to extend its life.

How Long Does a Spray Tan Last?

A spray tan typically lasts between 7 to 10 days, depending on several factors. These factors include your skin type, how well you prepare and care for your tan, and the quality of the tanning solution used.

Some people with oilier skin might find that their tan fades more quickly, while those with drier skin might enjoy a longer-lasting tan.

To extend the life of your spray tan, it’s essential to follow proper aftercare. Moisturizing your skin daily with a gentle, sulfate-free lotion can help keep your skin hydrated, preventing the tan from fading too quickly.

Additionally, avoiding activities that can cause excessive sweating or prolonged exposure to water, like swimming, can help maintain the evenness of your tan.

Remember that the tan will gradually fade over time as your skin naturally sheds its dead cells. To keep a consistent tan, you may consider using a gradual tanning lotion or booking regular touch-up sessions every 1 to 2 weeks.

These touch-ups can help refresh your glow and maintain the desired shade.

It’s worth noting that different tanning solutions and application techniques can also influence the longevity of your tan.

Working with a professional tanning technician who can tailor the solution to your skin type and preferences may lead to better and longer-lasting results.

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How Long Does a Spray Tan Take?

On average, a spray tan session typically takes around 10 to 15 minutes to complete. The duration of a spray tan session can vary depending on the salon, the tanning solution used, and the specific instructions given by the tanning technician.

During the session, you will be guided by the tanning technician through various poses to ensure even coverage of the tanning solution on all parts of your body.

The technician will use a handheld spray gun or a spray booth to apply the mist of tanning solution, which contains Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the active ingredient responsible for the tanning effect.

It’s essential to follow the technician’s instructions closely to achieve the best possible results. They may provide protective items such as disposable underwear and hair caps to shield certain areas of your body during the process.

After the tanning solution is applied, it’s crucial to wait for the recommended development time before showering or coming into contact with water.

This development time is typically around 6 to 8 hours but can vary based on the tanning solution used. During this period, the DHA in the tanning solution will interact with the amino acids in your skin, resulting in the development of the tan.

Overall, a spray tan session is a quick and convenient way to achieve a sun-kissed glow without the harmful effects of UV rays. With just a short amount of time invested, you can enjoy a beautiful, natural-looking tan that lasts for days.

When Should You Get a Spray Tan Before an Event?

To ensure your spray tan looks its best for an event, it’s essential to time your session appropriately. The ideal time to get a spray tan before an event is usually 1 to 2 days before the occasion.

Here’s a general timeline to help you plan your spray tan for an event:

  1. 1 to 2 Days Before the Event: This is the optimal time to schedule your spray tan session. Getting the tan a day or two before the event allows it to fully develop and settle into a natural-looking color. It also gives you enough time to address any potential issues, such as uneven fading or touch-ups, before the big day.
  2. Immediately After the Spray Tan Session: After your spray tan, it’s essential to avoid water and sweating for the first 6 to 8 hours to allow the tan to set evenly. Follow the aftercare instructions provided by your tanning technician to achieve the best results.
  3. 24 Hours Before the Event: Within the first 24 hours after your spray tan, the color will fully develop. Take note of the shade and make sure it aligns with your desired look for the event.
  4. Examine the Tan: Check your tan to ensure it appears even and natural. If you notice any areas with uneven color or missed spots, consult your tanning technician for touch-up options.
  5. Moisturize Your Skin: In the days leading up to the event, moisturize your skin regularly to maintain the tan and prevent it from fading too quickly.
  6. Avoid Certain Activities: To preserve the quality of your tan, avoid activities that may cause excessive sweating or exposure to water, like intense workouts or swimming.

By following this timeline and taking proper aftercare measures, you can enjoy a beautiful, flawless spray tan for your event, providing you with the confidence and radiance you desire on that special day.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I Get a Spray Tan If I Have Sensitive Skin?

Yes, you can still get a spray tan if you have sensitive skin. However, it’s crucial to perform a patch test and communicate any concerns with the tanning technician.

Will a Spray Tan Protect Me from the Sun?

No, a spray tan does not provide any sun protection. You should still use sunscreen when exposing your skin to sunlight.

Can I Shave After Getting a Spray Tan?

It’s best to avoid shaving immediately after your spray tan, as it can remove the tanning solution and lead to uneven fading. If necessary, wait at least 24 hours before shaving.

Can I Still Tan Naturally After a Spray Tan?

Yes, you can still tan naturally after a spray tan. However, remember to use sunscreen to protect your skin and avoid overexposure to UV rays.

How Often Can I Get a Spray Tan?

To maintain your tan, you can get a spray tan every 1 to 2 weeks, depending on how well you care for your skin and how quickly your tan fades.


Now that you’re equipped with the essential knowledge about getting a spray tan, you can confidently embark on your sunless tanning journey.

Remember to prepare your skin adequately, choose the right tanning option, and follow proper aftercare to enjoy a stunning, long-lasting glow.

Embrace the beauty of sunless tanning and say hello to a radiant and bronzed you!