First Time Spray Tan?
Five things to know before you go!
by Katelynn Mouton
As the cooler temperatures make way for warmer spring days, you might be thinking ahead to your Spring Break getaway. Even if a beach trip is not in your near future, nothing breaks the doldrums of winter like fresh, glowing, sun-kissed skin. But getting that glow can be detrimental to your long-term wellness.
Spray tanning offers a healthier alternative to sunbathing by avoiding negative impacts on your skin, such as increased risk of developing wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer.
If you hope to achieve a natural look that will last by spray tanning, here are five things to know before you book your first appointment.
- Select a trained professional. Self-tanning can be a great option, but it is also very difficult to achieve an even, natural-looking glow. A trained professional will be able to start with a customizable base shade that will help ensure you do not end up with an orange hue to the skin. A professional grade product will also enhance the lifespan of your spray tan.
- Prep your skin before heading out. Exfoliating before a spray tan helps slough off old skin cells, creating an even base for the tan to adhere to, but it is important to choose the right scrub. The wrong exfoliating product may cause your tan to streak and the oils in popular sugar scrubs may cause the tan to run right off your skin. It’s best to use an exfoliating mitt and skip the moisturizing step post scrub. Spray tan formulas stick best to dry skin. Also, while it may seem like common sense to shave right before a spray tan, doing so immediately prior to your appointment may lead to some skin irritation. It’s best to shave about 12 to 24 hours prior. For your face, go foundation-free or remove your makeup prior to your appointment.
- Choose your outfit wisely. No matter how careful you are, the clothing you wear to your spray tan appointment will end up with some discoloration. It should wash out easily, but it is best to stick with dark clothing. A fresh spray tan can easily be altered so avoid tight leggings and tight sleeves, and wear loose-fitting clothes to the appointment. A dark-colored sundress or loose sweatpants and a T-shirt are smart choices, and if you can, avoid tight fighting undergarments for the first few hours afterward.
- Continue applying sunscreen afterwards. The idea of using a spray tan as a “base tan” is a bad one to begin with, but a spray tan has no effect on the melanin in your body. This melanin is what causes your skin to tan naturally and just because you look tan, does not mean you are not going to burn. Continue using a lightweight sunscreen to protect your skin and faux-glow. And avoid showering for at least eight hours after receiving your tan. While a quick dip in the pool will not ruin your tan, spending hours in chlorinated water will. Limit your swim time after getting a spray tan and pat your skin dry when you get out of the water.
- Moisturize with care and avoid layering spray tans. Keeping the skin highly moisturized post-spray tan may seem like a good way to prolong your tan, but not so fast! Heavy lotions and body butters will chip away at your glow, causing it to fade faster. Only moisturize if necessary and select a lightweight lotion instead. It may also be tempting to build upon your spray tan, but a new tan sprayed on top of an old one will likely look patchy—darker in some places where remnants of your old tan remain and lighter in areas where it has worn off. Enjoy your spray tan for about a week or week and a half and then remove it with a tan-removing mitt before starting over fresh.
Finally, one last note. If you book a spray tan ahead of a special occasion, schedule your appointment two days before your big event. Spray tans last slightly different lengths, but this two day window allows the time necessary for the tan to settle in and fully develop.