How Does Spray Tanning Work?

chemicalSitting in the sun all day isn’t the only way to get an amazing tan. There’s a much faster way.

This is by using a spray tan. There are naturally a few assumptions you may make about the process. Is it staining your skin? What sort of colors can you get? How does the process actually work? Hopefully below we’ll give you a basic understanding of how exactly everything works.

What is the Process All About?

One of the main reasons why spray tanning has become popular is because of the short amount of time the whole process takes. All you have to do is to walk into a tanning salon where you’ll be sprayed with special tanning chemicals. The process is complete within a few minutes and you can walk out of the tanning booth with the tanned look that you wanted. The reason this process is so fast, mostly comes down to the chemical reactions happening on your skin.

The Main Ingredient: DHA

The spray on tanning solution essentially contains a chemical called DHA or dihydroxyacetone. It’s derived from plant sources such as sugar cane. It’s a FDA approved ingredient, which means that the US Food and Drug Administration find it to be safe and effective.


Skin Layers

To understand how exactly the DHA gets you a tan, first you need to know a little about human skin. Our skin has two layers, the outer layer (called the epidermis) and the inner layer (called the dermis). When DHA is sprayed, it sticks to the skin at the cellular level. The outer layer is where the change of color takes place due to a chemical reaction. The chemical reaction is similar to the process you see on food when it goes brown – like when an apple gets left out for too long.

Shedding of Skin

However everyday our body shreds the dead cells which are replaced by new cells. This means that when the dead skin cells collapse only to give way for new cells to grow, a bit of the tanning spray also wears off. This is the reason why tanning appears to fade after some time.

Though the application of tanning sprays is not very different from spray on / rub on tanning lotions, the benefit of spraying when done by a professional is that the spread is more even with no blotches. They can also use stronger tanning solutions which will last for longer. It overall should look much better

Other Ingredients

  • Spray tan does provide some protection against UV rays. But to further help some solutions contain sun tan lotion to further protect the skin.
  • Moisturizers may be included in the solution to help prevent the skin shedding too quickly.
  • If the skin is naturally oily already alcohol may be added to counter this.

How Long Does The Effect Remain?

Typically, the spray tanning effect lasts for about a week. However, if you can visit the salon every week, you can maintain the tanning effect almost permanently. Some people don’t get it done all the time, but for special occasions. Others love the amazing, yet safe, way it tans the skin so have the session regularly.

What Colors are There?

Since DHA is the basic ingredient for spray tanning, the color always has to be a shade of brown. No matter which shade of brown you choose, the time required for one session remains unchanged. It’s just the concentration which changes. The higher the concentration, the darker the tan. It’s better to start with less concentrated doses at first. If you go too dark it won’t look natural.

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