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How to Avoid Patchy Fading Sunless Tans

If you are new to spray tanning or even a seasoned sunless tanner you may from time to time see that your tan fades in a patchy manner. People refer to it as “Alligator Skin”. Skin preparation and application technique will determine the end result. To help prevent patchy fading do the following:

  1. Properly prepare for your spray tan treatment. The purpose of exfoliating prior to a sunless session is to remove the loose dead skin cells that naturally shed from the body. If solution is applied over these loose cells, the sunless tan will shed off pre-maturely in those areas leaving a patchy result. 

How to properly exfoliate: Keep it simple. We recommend using a regular-ole washcloth and bar soap to exfoliate the skin. The fibers found in most washcloths are perfect to loosen and gently remove tired, dry skin. Choose a soap that does not leave a residue (we recommend Dove).

A note about scrubs & poufs: Scrubs generally contain moisturizers that leave a film residue. This may prevent the solution from penetrating. In addition, the granules found in many scrubs can damage healthy skin. Shower poufs, while they seem like they are exfoliating the skin are not. They are made with plastic webbing that whiles it feel like it is exfoliating the skin, is not doing it evenly.

  1. Keep your skin well hydrated. A lack of moisture in the skin due to skin conditions or dry air (generally found in the winter months) can cause uneven shedding of the skin. To minimize this natural occurrence, moisturize the skin with the recommended moisturizer. Your favorite lotion may not be the remedy. Just because a lotion is free from mineral or petroleum oil based ingredients doesn’t mean that it’s the right moisturizing system to maintain a sunless tan. Make sure to use a moisturizer that’s purpose is to be used with sunless tans.
  2. Don’t spray tan over an old spray tan. You should never get a spray tan to cover over an existing sunless tan. The skin must be clean
    and free from previous sunless residue. Leftover airbrush from previous sessions will have noticeably darker patches, resulting in uneven fading.
  3. Don’t choose a color too dark for your natural skin tone. Skin cells shed at different times. If the color is too dark for your natural skin tone the fading will be more prominent. The fading will appear patchy. Always choose a color that compliments your skin tone.

Some other notable reasons for patchy fading can be; the use of deodorant, makeup, perfume, lotions and powders prior to or a sunless application will prevent the solution from absorbing evenly. Exfoliating, sweating, rubbing or excessive exposure to liquids (i.e. swimming, exercising, etc.) may also result in patchy fading.

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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.