Spray Tans: How Does This Stuff Work?

Talk to any who gets a spray tan and they will tell you that color is the most important factor.  They want a rich golden tan that keeps them going back for more again and again.  However, with all the different spray tan companies out there the quest to find the perfect tan can be difficult.

What Makes The Tan Brown?

The primary ingredient in all sunless solutions is DHA (Dihydroxyacetone).  DHA is a clear liquid that stains the skin by reacting with the amino acids on the skin and the air causing a bronzed color to appear.  The best analogy to describe this is an apple. If you bite into an apple then let it sit, the air oxidizes the enzymes in the apple causing it to turn brown. DHA causes a similar effect on the skin. All sunless solutions contain a certain percentage of DHA. Professional grade solutions can range anywhere from 5% to 14%. A higher percent of DHA will produce a deeper result. DHA takes between eight to twelve hours to fully develop on the skin.

Bronzers: Green, Red & Violet – OH MY!
Bronzers are a temporary color added to the spray tan solution to assist the technician with the application
process.  It also gives an immediate pop of color on the skin while the DHA develops. There are several ways to mix the bronzers resulting in different variations of brown.  Some can have hues of red, green or violet. This is a short-term coloring, similar to certain types of makeup that
wash off immediately. It is not representative of the final color.

The color of the bronzer can have a different affect on the skin depending on the color of the natural skin tone.  Redder skin tone look better with
green base bronzers.  Where as skin tones that are more on the neutral side look good with the violet or red base bronzers. The key thing to remember is that bronzers have absolutely no bearing on the development of the DHA, but they will affect how it looks while developing.

DHA Is What It IS…
There is no such thing as green, violet or red based DHA. DHA has no base. It is a clear liquid that stains the skin.  The depth of stain depends on the percentage of DHA used in the solution. How it develops on the skin depends on the level of DHA used and other ingredients found in the over-all formula.

When talking with your spray tan technician be clear with how you want your tan to look after development.  They will be able to choose the right DHA percentage to give you the perfect golden glow.

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