Spray Tanning 101:
Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DOES AIRBRUSH SPRAY TANNING WORK?
An airbrush spray tan is achieved when an airbrush technician applies a self-tanning formulation mist. The mists contain DHA, the FDA approved active ingredient that produces the long-term tan effect. When applied, DHA reacts with the proteins in the skin’s superficial layer to form a golden brown color. Your skin begins to darken two to three hours after application and reaches its peak color within 24 hours. The color will gradually fade through natural exfoliation, just like a tan from the sun.
We offer several choices of tanning mist in clear formulations. If an instant tan is desired, we use bronzer additives. These are water soluble, bronzing cosmetics that produce an instant tan. The bronzer is a temporary cosmetic color that washes off in the shower or bath without affecting your ultimate tan.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR DURING MY AIRBRUSH TANNING SESSION?
Bottoms are required during your airbrush tanning session. Tops are optional. Please note that undergarments may become stained. The bronzer used in the bronzer additives is water-soluble and should wash out, but the DHA may permanently stain what you wear during the tanning session. Wool, Lycra, nylon, spandex, or silk are more prone to stains.
Remove jewelry and pull hair back. Wear dark and loose clothing. Wear loose shoes with socks or flip flops.
SHOULD I COVER MY HAIR DURING MY AIRBRUSH TANNING SESSION?
Most of our customers wear a disposable shower cap (provided by us) to keep hair dry. Other customers choose to get their treatment without covering their hair. The tanning mist does not penetrate the hair follicle. However, if you use a bronzer additive and have very light or white hair, it may become temporarily stained.
WILL MY SKIN BE WET WHEN I COMPLETE MY TANNING SESSION?
If any excess moisture remains on the skin’s surface after the session, simply use a towel to remove it. Towel off completely just as you do when you shower. This won’t streak your tan.
HOW LONG SHOULD I WAIT AFTER A SESSION BEFORE SHOWERING?
To give the DHA enough time to fully set, we recommend waiting a minimum of 4 hours after a tanning session to shower. Showering sooner may diminish the intensity of the tan.
WILL SWIMMING AFFECT MY TAN?
Swimming in chlorinated water or salt water can fade the tan results, cause possible streaking and will diminish the length of your tan. However, normal activities such as bathing, showering or physical activities will not affect the quality of the tan.
WILL MY SKIN LOOK ORANGE?
Not at all. Before the creation of spray tans, most self-tanners were creams and lotions applied by hand. That meant inconsistent coverage. Too much lotion applied in one place left the skin looking orange. Not enough lotion left unattractive streaks. Today’s lightweight spray tan formulations combined with advancements in spray-gun technology provide a uniform micro-spray of tanning mist to the entire body in the exact amount required to produce a smooth, even, natural-looking tan.
DOES THE TANNING MIST HAVE ANY SMELL AFTER CONTACT WITH MY SKIN?
Some people notice a slight starchy smell on their skin a few hours after a tanning session. This is simply the DHA reacting to proteins in your skin and it fades away fairly quickly.
HAS ANYONE HAD AN ALLERGIC REACTION TO THE TANNING MIST?
The components in the tanning mist have been successfully used in cosmetics and food products for decades, and are proven safe for use on the skin. If you’ve had previous allergic reactions to self-tanning lotions or cosmetics, you may want to do a “patch test” first. If you like, you can come in to the salon and we’ll put a small amount of tanning mist on a small area of your skin to test for possible reactions.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE TANNING MIST GETS IN MY EYES?
The tanning mist formulations have been thoroughly tested by third-party labs and the results showed no eye or skin irritation. More than 20 million tanning sessions occur each year, with no adverse reactions documented. However, we provide protective eyewear should you wish to use it.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I INHALE ANY OF THE TANNING MIST?
While no one should purposely inhale or ingest the tanning mist, it is known that DHA (the active tanning ingredient) is a non-hazardous compound and causes no adverse reaction in moderate quantities when applied topically or even ingested. DHA has been used as a diet supplement in sports nutrition and is non-carcinogenic. Testing has further shown that DHA is less toxic than aspirin, caffeine and even common table salt. However, we also provide nose filters should you wish to use them.
ARE THERE WAYS TO ENHANCE THE TAN RESULTS?
Yes, we carry after-tan products that feature ingredients specially formulated for sunless tanning. Over the counter products are not formulated for sunless tanning, and may block the tan’s application and impede the development process. Check out our complete line of products designed to prolong, protect and enhance your sunless tanning experience.
For more information about spray tanning, check out our expert's articles below!
How to Prepare for Your Spray Tanning or Airbrush Session
Extending the Life of Your Tan: Proper Post-Spray-Tan Care
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