How to Prepare for A Spray Tan: A Step-by-Step Guide

Achieving a natural and radiant spray tan involves more than just stepping into a tanning booth. Proper preparation is key to ensuring an even, long-lasting tan that leaves you looking sun-kissed and glowing. Whether it’s your first time using a spray tan machine or you’re a seasoned pro, follow these steps to ensure your skin is prepped and ready for the perfect spray tan experience.

Basic Procedure of Spray Tan

1. Hydration Without Oil and Lotion


While it’s crucial to keep your skin hydrated, refrain from using oil or lotion on the appointment day. These can hinder the spray tan’s development. Instead, your technician will apply a non-oil-based moisturizer to dry areas like hands, elbows, knees, and wrists.

  • Natural State is Key: Prior to the spray tan, completely remove makeup, deodorant, and perfume using a cleansing wipe. This ensures your skin is free from any products that might affect the spray tan process.
  • Hold Off on Retinoids and Hydroxy Acids: To prolong the tan’s duration, avoid using retinoids and hydroxy acids in your skincare routine 24 hours before the session. These ingredients accelerate cell turnover, potentially leading to faster tan fading.
  • pH-Balancing Primer: Enhance your spray tan’s effectiveness by priming your skin with a pH-balancing spray right before the appointment. This step helps your skin achieve an optimal pH level of 4.5, allowing the tan to penetrate deeper and last longer. Aligning your skin’s pH with the tanning solution’s pH ensures quicker absorption.

Use a gentle scrub or exfoliating mitt to remove dead skin cells, ensuring an even application and longer-lasting tan. Pay extra attention to areas prone to dryness, like elbows, knees, and ankles.

2. Shave or Wax


If you plan to shave or wax, do so at least 24 hours before your spray tan. This allows your skin to recover and ensures that the tan adheres evenly to the skin’s surface.

3. Avoid Moisturizer


In the days leading up to your spray tan, keep your skin well-hydrated with a light, oil-free moisturizer. However, avoid heavy creams or lotions on the day of your appointment, as they can create a barrier and prevent the tan from developing evenly.

4. Skip the Makeup and Deodorant


Arrive at your spray tan session with clean, makeup-free skin. Remove any makeup, oils, or lotions to ensure that the spray tan solution adheres properly. Avoid wearing deodorant on the day of your appointment, as it can interfere with the tan’s development.

5. Choose the Right Attire and Remove Accessories


Opt for loose, dark clothing and undergarments for your spray tan session. Tight clothing can rub off the tan and cause uneven patches. Dark colors prevent any potential staining and help you avoid the “tan lines” effect.

Take off jewellery, watches, and any other accessories before your spray tan. These items can create unwanted marks on your skin or interfere with the even application of the tan.

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  • Maintain Your Tan

Moisturize your skin regularly after your spray tan to extend its longevity. Use a hydrating, alcohol-free lotion to keep your skin nourished and prevent premature fading.

  • Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water helps maintain healthy skin, which, in turn, can help your spray tan last longer and fade evenly.

  • Follow Professional Advice

Listen to your spray tan technician’s advice and aftercare instructions. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your skin type and the specific spray tan solution used.

By following these steps and preparing your skin properly, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a flawless and natural-looking spray tan that enhances your appearance and boosts your confidence.

Communicate with your spray tanner

Effective communication with your spray tanner is paramount for a successful and tailored tanning experience. Share any skin sensitivities, allergies, or specific preferences you have regarding the shade and intensity of your tan. Discuss any previous tanning experiences or challenges you’ve encountered. Be open about your desired outcome, whether it’s a natural glow or a deeper tan. This dialogue ensures your spray tanner can customize the solution and technique to match your expectations. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek advice on pre-tan preparation and post-tan care. Clear communication empowers your spray tanner to deliver the results you desire while addressing any concerns or uncertainties you may have.

Risks of Spray Tan

While spray tanning offers a safe alternative to UV tanning for achieving a sun-kissed glow, it’s essential to be aware of potential risks and take precautions to ensure a positive experience. Here are some risks associated with spray tanning:

  • Skin Sensitivity: Some individuals may experience skin sensitivity or allergies to the ingredients in spray tan solutions. Patch testing before the full session can help identify potential reactions.
  • Uneven Application: Improper application techniques or failure to follow pre-tan instructions can lead to an uneven or streaky tan. This is more likely if the technician lacks expertise or if the client doesn’t adequately prepare their skin.
  • Unnatural Color: Over-application or using a shade that doesn’t match your skin tone can result in an unnatural or overly dark tan, affecting the desired outcome.
  • Allergic Reactions: While rare, allergic reactions to the DHA (dihydroxyacetone) in spray tan solutions can occur. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional if you experience severe irritation.
  • Inhaling DHA: Inhaling DHA mist during the spray tan session may pose health risks. Wearing protective gear like nose plugs and mouth masks is recommended.
  • Tanning Booth Risks: Automated spray tan booths might lead to uneven application or missed spots, requiring extra care to ensure uniform coverage.
  • Short-Term Staining: The bronzer in some spray tan solutions may temporarily stain clothing, bedding, or other fabrics.
  • Short Duration: Spray tans typically last about a week, and factors like skin type, aftercare, and daily activities can influence the duration.
  • Skin Conditions: Individuals with certain skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, may find that spray tanning exacerbates their condition. Consulting a dermatologist is advisable.
  • Eyes and Mucous Membranes: Direct contact with the eyes, mouth, or other mucous membranes should be avoided during the session.
  • Excessive Tanning: Frequent spray tanning sessions without proper intervals can lead to an unnatural colour and may compromise skin health.

Spray tans offer a radiant, sun-kissed appearance without the harmful effects of UV rays. Enhancing your tan’s longevity and outcome begins with proper skin preparation. Prior to your session, it’s advisable to consult your tanning technician for personalized guidance on shade selection and product suitability based on your skin’s unique needs.

Ensuring a successful spray tan experience involves a few essential steps. Start by taking a shower and exfoliating your skin before your tanning session. This process eliminates any lingering product residue and dead skin cells, promoting a more even and flawless outcome. Additionally, wearing loose-fitting, dark attire to your appointment is essential to prevent staining and ensure optimal coverage. By following these recommendations and engaging in proactive communication with your tanning professional, you’re poised to enjoy the benefits of a stunning spray tan that accentuates your natural beauty while safeguarding your skin from the perils of UV exposure.



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