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Spray Tan 101: Q&A Session

Spray tanning is the safest way to achieve a natural looking tan but even if you are a spray tan veteran you may still have some questions about spray tanning.  We broke down the most common questions people have when thinking about getting a spray tan.


How does spray tanning work?

Sunless tanning, often referred to as spray tanning, is a personalized service performed by a professional airbrush technician. The result is an instant tan that looks natural. The active ingredient that creates this appearance is Dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA is derived from natural sugar cane which interacts with the amino acids on the outermost layer of the skin to produce a brown color. If the you properly prepare and care for your sunless tan it can last from 7 to 10 days.

 

Are there any risks with spray tanning?

While airbrush tanning has been reported as the safer way to obtain a tan, the FDA offers recommended guidelines for clients that wish to get a spray tan such as: use nose filters, seal the lips with lip balm, wear protective eyewear and protective undergarments. Some people have reported allergic reactions to the Dihydroxyacetone (DHA). If you are concerned about allergies, have your technician conduct a patch test before your session.

 

Why should I try airbrush tanning?

A sunless tan will give you the exact color you are looking in minutes. A spray tan will give you color that would normally take days in the sun or give you color you never thought you could have. In addition, you’ll get all the benefits of sun-kissed tan, without the harmful side effects from traditional tanning (i.e. skin cancer, early skin aging).

 

If I am pregnant, can I still receive an airbrush tan?

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is FDA approved and considered safe as it only penetrates the outermost layer of the skin. There is no evidence that DHA is harmful. However, we do recommend that pregnant women always consult with their physician first.

 

Will an airbrush tan affect my tattoo?

Airbrush solution will not hurt tattoos. However, it may darken the color during the life of your sunless tan. If you are concerned about this, ask your technician for a recommended barrier cream to cover your tattoo before your spray tan session.

 

How deep a tan can I get from an airbrush session?

Many people think that the darker the tan the better. However, if the color is too dark for your natural skin tone the fading will appear more prominent resulting in a patchy look. Our goal at Sol Potion® is to provide a natural looking tan that is specific your skin tone. Your airbrush technician will suggest the shade that will best suit your needs.

 

How do I prepare for my airbrush session?

There are a few things that you should do to prepare for your airbrush tan treatment:

  • Shower, shave and exfoliate at least 3 hours before the airbrush session. It is important to give the amino acids on your skin time to rebuild in order to accept the sunless tan.
  • Do not use lotions, depilatories, oil-based exfoliating scrubs or moisturizing shave creams prior to the session. Sol Potion’s Blue Seas Exfoliating Sunless Body Prep is moisturizer free and perfect for preparing the skin for the airbrush session.
  • Apply clear nail polish to nail beds to prevent staining. If you do not wear nail polish apply a very light amount of barrier cream to your nail beds.
  • Do not wear makeup, perfume or deodorant to the session.
  • Wear dark loose clothing to the session. The solution will wash out of most fabrics, but we recommend cotton.
  • Bring an umbrella if there is rain in the forecast.

 

What products I should avoid before my sunless session?

It is recommended that you do not use any lotions, depilatories, oil-based exfoliating scrubs or moisturizing body washes or creams before your session. Do not wear perfume, deodorant or makeup.

 

How do I protect my fingernails and toenails from staining?

Painted fingers and toes will protect your nail beds from staining. If you do not wear polish, apply a clear base coat before your airbrush or use a barrier cream on the nail beds.

 

What should I wear to my spray tan session?

Wear dark loose clothing. Cotton is recommended. Avoid wearing a bra, socks or other restrictive clothing immediately after your session. The spray tan solution can permanently stain leather and silk.

 

Will the airbrush solution strain my clothing?

Most sunless tanning solutions contain bronzers. This is so you can see color immediately while the DHA develops. Bronzers are a temporary color that will wash off during your first shower. The bronzer can leave color on clothing and/or sheets. The solution is water soluble and will wash out of cotton. Silk, leather and other materials may stain.

 

How long will it take to develop?

DHA takes up to 12 hours to fully develop. Early exposure to moisture stops DHA development. However if absolutely necessary you can shower 8 hours after your airbrush session.

 

When can I shower after my session?

It is recommended that you avoid moisture (i.e. swimming, showering, sweating, and hot tubs) for at least 12 hours after your session. Early exposure to moisture can stop the DHA’s development process.

 

Can I use lotion after my session?

Our solutions have moisturizers that will keep your skin hydrated until your first shower. You should lotion every day after your first shower to prolong the life of your tan. Make sure not use any lotion that contains petroleum or mineral oil as this will cause early fading and streaking. Sol Potion Lotion is the perfect complement to your sunless tan.

 

How long will my airbrush tan last?

The average sunless tan can last from 5 to 10 days. If you are active or do not properly care for your tan it can fade more quickly.  Ask your spray tan technician for instructions to keep your tan looking fresh.

 

Are there ways to extend the life of my tan?

YES!  In addition to proper care of your sunless tan, you can use Sol Potion Ritual tan extending lotion to keep your color looking fresh. This product contain DHA that will freshen your tan in between sessions.

 

Can I swim or go in tubs with my airbrush tan?

If you participate in water related activities, you will not get the longevity out of your tan. AVOID the hot tub at all costs, unless you want to completely remove the sunless tan.


Will my airbrush tan protect my skin from the sun or UV tanning?

NO! Sunless tanning solutions do not have sunscreen protection, and will not protect you from damaging effects from UV exposure. Whenever you go into the sun you should always apply a sunscreen. Make sure it is a spray application sunscreen.  The lotion SPFs will strip off the tan.

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Sunless Tanning Myths

There are several urban legends of sunless tanning. We are sure that you have heard a lot of them! In the past some of these were true. Even though the sunless industry has grown and developed much more sophisticated methods of creating and implementing airbrush
tans, these legends still linger. Since we continually hear these questions, we thought we should break down and dispel the most
common myths.Sol Potion Sunless

Myth #7 – Having a sunless tan protects the skin from the sun exposure.

The theory behind this statement is that if you build a base tan your skin is less likely to burn when exposed to the sun. While this may or may not be true, a sunless tan is a cosmetic coloring of the skin, NOT a real tan. It will no more protect you from then sun, than if you sprayed on perfume just before going the beach.   You would fry crispy.   You should always wear a good protective sunscreen when exposing your skin to UV rays.

Myth #6 – Sunless tans don’t last.
The reality is that all tans fade, whether it’s a sunless or traditional tan. Sunless tans last about seven days, but with proper care can last as long as ten days. Traditional tans last only slightly longer. The sunless tan will afford you the same tanned appearance without the UV side effects (i.e. peeling or damaged skin, premature aging and cancer).

Myth #5 – The color I see immediately after the session is the final color.
Many sunless solutions contain bronzers. This is a temporary color that gives a tanned appearence while the DHA develops, but it is not representative of the final result. The final color depends on what level of solution is used and how long its left it on before getting wet.

Myth #4 – The chemicals in the solution are more harmful than UV exposure.
Sunless tans are safer than traditional UV tans for the obvious reasons (i.e. skin damage, premature aging and cancer). Many of theStinky
same ingredients that are used in your shampoos, cosmetics, hairsprays and lotions are also used to create sunless solutions and considered to be safe.  If you are concerned about the composition of your solution, ask your technician for a list of ingredients.

Myth #3 – Spray tan solution makes you stinky.
Anyone who has gone to a spray tan booth or has used self-tanners in the past may have experienced the starchy smell that DHA produces. At one time it was a very prominent smell that was difficult to mask even with perfume or scented lotions. The sunless industry has made tremendous leaps with the development of spray tan solutions. Solutions are now created with a host of pleasant fragrances and neutralizers that do not leave you smelling like an old potato.

Myth #2 – Using any lotion will keep a sunless tan looking fresh.

The key to a lasting sunless tan is moisture maintenance. However, if you use a lotion containing petroleum, mineral, coconut and sesame oils or containing Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) they will most definitely destroy their sunless tan. About 98% of the lotions on the market contain one or more of ingredients that don’t play fair with a sunless tan. Make sure to read your lotion bottles before using or ask your Technician for a recommendation. There are lotions on the market, like Sol Potion Lotion, that are designed to work well
sunless tans.

Myth #1 – Spray tanning turns you orange.BadSpray

Spray tanning will NOT turn you orange. Why won’t this urban legend die? One only needs to look at photographs of Snooki and Lindsey Lohan, or watch the famous episode of “Friends” where Ross turns himself orange in a spray booth. Even worse, you get a glimpse of a poor gal you pass on the street that looks like she drank three gallons of carrot juice. It is not the solution that created the orange appearance. It’s the spray tan technician. These are classic cases where the technician has used way too dark a color or has sprayed too heavily. Just because you want to be dark doesn’t mean your skin tone can handle the depth. If you go for the lighter shade, you won’t be orange.

While there are several more crazy myths that we could tackle these are the best of the best. If you have a myth you want us to dispel let us know. We’ll keep you posted on new myths and the true answers.

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Sunless Tans – Dark or Natural?

As the summer continues we get more requests from our clients that they want to receive the darkest possible sunless tan.  Even though it’s August, this sends shivers down our spines.  We always want to accommodate our customers but know that applying a darker shade will not necessarily give the desired result.

Remember the goal of a sunless tan is to look pretty and natural.  We always try to advise our clients that a darker level of solution may not look natural on certain skin tones.Woman-half-tanned

So what exactly is DHA and why do I care?

The primary ingredient in all sunless solutions is DHA (Dihydroxyacetone).  DHA reacts with the naturally occurring amino acids on the epidermis causing a bronzed color to appear.  In other words, DHA adheres to the dead skin cells and turns them brown.  As the cells begin to shed so does the coloring attached to it.

All sunless solutions contain a certain percentage of DHA.  A higher percentage of DHA will produce a deeper result.  In addition, the more DHA concentration in the solution the more the color changes from a golden brown to a red brown. Using too high a percent of DHA on lighter skin will produce an unnatural color and have patchy fading.

When you get a sunless tan no matter what color is used, you WILL look tan. The key is to choose a shade that will look best for your skin tone and fade in natural looking way.