What Is Spray Tanning? And Is It Right For Me?
Unless you’re living under a rock, you probably know that “looking
tan” is the hottest accessory you can own right now.
And for good reason, just about everyone looks a lot better when
then have a little color.
Right or wrong, the pale, white ‘sickly’ look is definitely out!
And because we now know that baking in the sun (or in a tanning bed)
all day is REALLY bad for our skin, tons of people are turning to
spray tanning to get that beautiful bronze glow.
But what exactly is spray tanning? How does it work?
How much does it cost? And where do I get it done?
I’m glad you asked… let’s go over each one of those right now!
The Basics of Spray Tanning
Let’s start at the beginning.
Spray tanning is a form of self tanning (or sunless tanning) where a
fine mist is sprayed onto your body.
This mist has an ingredient in it called Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) that
interacts with your own skin’s chemistry to turn it tan, or bronze.
This temporary effect generally lasts from 3-7 days and is
completely safe for your skin (although it doesn’t provide any
protection against the sun’s rays).
The results you can get from tanning sprays are generally very good.
Many celebrities and models prefer spray tanning to just about
anything else to get the color they want.
Now, the mist can be sprayed from a variety of ‘devices’.
First, you can go to a tanning or beauty salon and have it applied
in a booth.
These specially-designed booths have several nozzles or jets that
spray your entire body with the spray tanning solution.
Second, a spray tan can be administered with a airbrush or airgun as
These look similar to a paint gun that painters use on your house!
They tend to be smaller and more mobile (obviously) than a booth.
Last, you can get a spray tan from a bottle.
There are lots of companies that make spray tanning products that
have the same ingredients you’ll find in a salon or airbrush gun.
Pros and Cons of Spray Tanning
If you compare spray tanning to other forms of self tanning products
like lotions, creams, gels, and mousses, you’ll definitely see some
But before we go over these differences, keep one thing in mind.
All forms of self tanning and spray tanning use the exact same
active ingredient, DHA. But that doesn’t mean you’ll get the same
results with any old product that has DHA in it (believe me)!
That said, let’s go over some of the benefits of spray tanning.
First and foremost, spray tanning is easy.
Once you’ve prepared, you just go to a tanning salon or have someone
come to your house.
The booth or technician then sprays your entire body with a fine
mist. Once you blend it in a little, that’s it, you’re done!
It’s definitely a little easier and less time-consuming than
spreading a lotion or gel all over your body.
Another benefit of spray tanning is the fact that it dries quicker
than many self tanning products.
That means it’s less likely to get all over your clothes, your bed,
and your partner!
As for the color achieved with spray tanning, that varies from
person to person.
Some people like the color and evenness you get with spray tanning,
others think self tanning lotions and gels are better.
Because everyone has slightly different skin chemistry, you’ll
really need to experiment a bit to see what works best for you.
Is Spray Tanning Safe?
For the most part, spray tanning is considered fairly safe.
Back in 2010, there was a report that basically said inhaling DHA,
the main ingredient in spray tan solution, hadn’t been studied by
the FDA and therefore could be harmful.
It turned out the report was sponsored by the indoor tanning lobby
and drew some incorrect conclusions on the minimal testing that had
been done 20 years ago… in test tubes (not on humans or animals).
Although the report was bogus, the FDA does recommend minimizing
inhalation of tanning solution and keeping it out of your mucous
membranes (eyes and nose).
So while spray tanning is considered safe, if you want to be
absolutely sure, you should use at-home self tanning
lotions, creams and gels.
If you do decide to spray tan, make sure you wear a nose clip and
cover your face :)