Tag Archives: how does spray tanning work

Spray Tanning

Spray tanning involves the application of chemicals to the skin to produce a tanning effect similar to what the sun can offer. Spray tanning has been recommended all throughout the years due to the incidence of skin cancer and other health problems associated with sun tanning and other procedures such as sunbeds and tanning beds.

How Does Spray Tanning Work?

Spray tanning requires a trip to a salon where you can be tanned in a booth or get an airbush tan. The spray tanning booths operate by spraying a fine mist of a solution with fake tanning properties. This usually takes less than a minute to do and the ingredients in the solution will begin to react with the skin to create a darker color over the next few hours. On the other hand, an airbush tan involves the help of a tanning technician who will personally spray the tanning solution onto the skin. This may take time but it ensures that you get a perfect and even tan.

The active ingredient in most spray tanning solutions is dihydroxyacetone or DHA. The DHA is a derivative of glycerin that can temporarily darken the skin through reacting with the amino acids in the skin’s dead cells. DHA is approved by the FDA way back in the 70s for tanning objectives.

The result of spray tanning can be dependent from person to person. Some people may go very tan with a spray tan while others get just a glow. People, however, that have undergone repeated sessions may get more tan as the skin tends to get used to the solution. Moreover, the effect of DHA on the skin is temporary. Hence, spray tanning is also just temporary, much like sun tanning. A spray tan usually lasts from five to 10 days but if you are used to spray tanning, your skin will get used with the solution and so the tan can hold on longer.

Spray Tanning Cost

The price of spray tanning usually varies from salon to salon. So how much does spray tanning cost? Usually, it is calculated per session. One session may range from $25 to $60 depending on the spray tanning method and the technician’s experience.

If you are a person who wants to maintain a tan, you can save more on spray tanning costs by purchasing packages from salons. For instance, most salons ask for $33 per session in a package. For the first month, you will be required to undergo four spray tanning sessions just so your skin can get used to the solution. If you do the math, you will spend $132 in total. For the second and subsequent months, you may need two sessions of spray tanning only. Hence, your monthly spray tanning expenses will be $66.

Additional costs of spray tanning involve the use of a tan extending lotion. One tube of this kind of lotion can cost $35. This tube can already last for one whole month.

Spray Tanning At Home

The cost of services in spray tanning salons may come out to be expensive. So if you are wondering whether there is a cheaper alternative, there is. Spray tanning kits are available these days for a do-it-yourself tan at home. A can of spray tan costs usually a couple of dollars only.

One of the major disadvantages of home spray tanning is the mess. The floors, walls, and furniture can be permanently stained by the tanning products. Moreover, tanning at home can be difficult, especially when speaking of hard-to-reach and hard-to-see areas. So if you are thinking of applying this tan alone, you will be facing a problem. Plus, it may be a challenge to spray the product evenly on the skin. Careless self-tanners usually get dark spots and streaks somewhere in their skin.

Tips Before Spray Tanning

Whether you choose a salon spray tan or a DIY tan, you need to do some rituals to ensure that you will get a good tan out of the procedure. Check out and follow these tips prior to going out for a tan:


  • Exfoliate. The DHA in tanning solutions reacts with the dead skin cells. If you do not exfoliate before tanning, you can have uneven and blotchy coloring. Therefore, it is best to exfoliate your whole body with a scrub or loofah a day before the procedure.
  • Wax or shave. Hair is not usually a problem when you get a spray tan. However, if you intend to wax or shave some hair soon, do it before the treatment. Waxing or shaving can make the fake tan fade a lot quicker.
  • No makeup, perfume, and deodorant. Some ingredients of perfumes, makeup, and deodorants may prevent the tanning solution to react with the skin properly. Other products may even cause the skin to turn green. So to play safe, get a spray tan without wearing these products.

Risks Associated With Spray Tanning

It is true that spray tanning is less harmful as compared to sun tanning. However, there are certain problems involved with this kind of tanning procedure, too. Some of the problems associated with this procedure include:


  • Skin problems. Dry skin and thickened skin are two side-effects that are encountered by people submitting to a spray tan. This is usually on areas that absorb more of the solution such as the knees and elbows.
  • Flaws. Spray tanning is not perfect. In most cases, it can make your freckles, moles, and other skin imperfections darker. There are also some incidents of turning orange when you go for a spray tan. This is especially true for the palms and the soles of the feet.
  • Other health problems. The risks of inhaling or ingesting DHA are not known yet to medical science. Plus, some tanners may contain fragrances that can trigger allergies such as asthma.


Have you tried spray tanning yourself? Did you think it was worth your money? How long did the tan last?