• Ensure that any shaving or waxing is done at least 24 hours prior to tanning hair removal too close to the application of a tan can result in a rash if the skin has not had enough time to recover
• Exfoliate all areas of the body concentrating on hard skin areas paying special attention to dry areas such as knees, ankles, hands and elbows. This will maximise the duration of your tan as the skin cells will take longer to naturally shed. It will also ensure even fading and avoid “patching” of the tan. If you are using an exfoliating product such as a scrub, make sure that it doesn’t contain oils as this will create a barrier which the tanning solution can’t penetrate.
• Remove all deodorant, body lotion, make up, perfume from the skin
• Ensure hair is dried and not wet (dripping) and tied up
• Do not wear any jewellery for the tan application ‒ it will leave untanned skin beneath it.
• Keep your skin well hydrated by moisturising up to 3 days prior to your tan. This will prevent your skin from drying out once your tan has been applied and avoid “cracking” of the tan.
• Bring loose clothing and footwear to wear home so that nothing rubs the tan away
• It’s advisable to wear dark clothing as the tan may come off on light fabrics
• To ensure that nothing rubs it is recommended that for women that no bra is worn home
• The easiest way to ensure no tan rubs off is too wear dark loose track bottoms and top and sleep in it over night. This will ensure that the tan doesn’t come off on to bedding.
• If you do change your clothes then it may be advisable to put old towels over any bedding, as the tan may stain.
• Be careful not to sit or lay on light fabrics
• Make sure that you do not get the tan wet before time to wash off
• It is recommended that you schedule your tanning appointment as late in the day as possible so that you can come home and allow your tan to develop whilst you are asleep at night. This will minimise the risk of damaging your tan. Also, sleeping in your tan will mean that you give it at least 6-8 hours to develop which should result in a deep fully developed beautiful tan.
What’s happens during a spray tan?
Your therapist will give you a disposable hat to cover your hair and disposable pants (although if you wish to leave your own on it’s best to make sure they are a dark colour). She will then apply barrier cream to the soles of your feet and palms of your hands being careful not to get any on areas to be tanned. You will then be asked to stand in the tanning tent and explained the different positions you will have to stand in. Once the spray tan machine is on it can be quite loud (similar to a Hoover) and as the tan is sprayed you may find it quite cool. The tan dries really quickly on the skin leaving a tan guide colour. After spraying, the tan is checked to ensure everywhere is covered and barrier cream removed. You are then able to get dressed straight away.
Tips and advice
Certain factors such as time of the month, diet and medications such as antidepressants may affect the pH balance of your skin and the overall result of your tan may be blotchy. You can get around this by using an oil neutralising skin product. Most importantly, when your tan is developing, do not get any water on yourself! This means no showers, no swimming, no exercise (no sweating), no washing dishes, no walking outside in the rain, etc. Even a single drop of water will wash off the tanning residue leaving a white mark which will remain untanned. You should also take care when eating and drinking when the tanning residue is developing as you can accidentally wash off the tan around your mouth by licking your lips or taking a big swig of drink which will go on the corners of your mouth. If unsure, use a straw!
It is essential to moisturise daily, preferably 1-2 times a day (morning and night). This is to ensure that your skin remains hydrated as tanning solutions generally dry out the skin, regardless of whether they contain aloe vera or not. Maintaining well hydrated skin will prevent your tan from “cracking” and extend the life of your tan.
Friction is bad and should be avoided where possible as it literally sloughs off skin cells (and your precious tan).
• Showers should be as brief as possible, warm rather than hot and at a moderate pressure (not hard pressure) as heat and friction will shorten the duration of your tan. Never rub yourself dry with a towel as this will shed skin cells and remove your tan. Instead, gently pat your body dry so as to avoid any friction with your skin and the towel.
• Avoid wearing clothing that has tight straps, bands, etc. as these will rub against your skin and exfoliate it leaving white untanned patches.
• If you need to shave your legs after you have had your tan, try to hold off for as long as possible as a razor will exfoliate the skin on your legs and remove some if not all or the tan. If shaving is a must, it is best to use an exfoliating glove to very lightly exfoliate your legs all over, and then shave using the razor at half pressure rather than firm normal pressure. The light exfoliation will ensure that the tan comes off evenly on your legs whilst the light pressure shave will remove a minimal amount of tan. Follow by moisturising using a gradual tanner, tan extender moisturiser or moisturiser mixed with fake selftanner to deepen the colour on your legs to match the rest of your body.
Exfoliants are also bad, having the same effect as friction and are in more forms than you might realise.
• Avoid swimming in hot spas, salt water and chlorine pools, and the beach (watch out for the sand too!) where possible as these activities will decrease the life of your tan. If you must swim, keep it brief as the longer you are in the water, the more tan will be soaked away.
• Do not use moisturiser or any products that contain the anti-aging chemical Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) as this is known to strip tan very quickly.
• Avoid spraying perfume directly onto your skin, particularly your chest, as this may cause your tan to go patchy. Spray it onto your clothing or hair instead.
How to extend the life of your tan
You can lengthen the life of your tan by using a tan extender moisturiser, a gradual tanner or applying a small amount of fake self-tanner to your own moisturiser. It is best to start doing this a few days after your tan to maintain the deepness of your tan only when it is starting to fade, rather than from the very first day of your tan. Using shimmer gels and bronzers on top of your tan will also help add life back to a fading tan, ideal for boosting your colour when you are going out.
It is very important to still use sunscreen as spray tans do not offer any UV protection.