Tag Archives: dihydroxyacetone

Spray Tan Q & A

25 Jun

Spray tanning has become a hot commodity on the beauty block as of recent. So here’s some info for you about how to get that flawless, natural tan without being outside. I read a few articles online about spray tanning (and by online I mean the Patient Care Coordinator printed them for me. Thanks Buddy.)

After doing a little reading, I asked Lauren a few questions. She has started a business doing custom spray tanning recently, and is very knowledgeable about this hot new trend.

Me: So, I know I do this wrong, but how do you prep for it?

You need to exfoliate your skin and shave before you spray. Exfoliating is KEY and an oil-free exfoliant is reccomended for the best result. Do not use any deodorants, lotions, or perfume prior to your tan. Make sure to remove all makeup prior to the tan as well.

What gives a Spray tan color? How do you avoid the “orange” look?

The active ingredient in the solution is DHA (Dihydroxyacetone). DHA is an ingredient derived from sugar cane and is found in the majority of tanning products. It reacts with the amino acids in the uppermost layer of the skin to create the darkening reaction or tan.  DHA has been used safely in cosmetics for over 30 years. As the skin cells wear away, the color gradually fades just like a real sun tan. The type of solution you use will determine the outcome of the color of the spray.

How exactly does it work?

Whether you have it professionally done, do it at home yourself, or use an automated machine, it all basically works the same. A thin layer of solution is sprayed evenly over your skin. Over the next few hours your skin will get darker. It takes at least 8 hours for the solution to fully be absorbed into your skin and react with amino acids to create full color.  You may shower after 8 hours, but it is recommended to leave it on overnight if you can. The solutions come in different skin tones and you can apply multiple coats to make a person darker. A big trend is to add a shimmer to the spray.

How long does it last?

It can last 5-10 days, depending on how you take care of it. It’s important to keep your skin moisturized after your spray tan. Make sure to avoid long baths and hot tubs. Salt water or a chlorinated pool can also shorten your spray tan.

Is it safe?

The solutions used in most spray tan formulas, at home and in a machine, usually contain dihydroxyacetone (or DHA). Although there is controversy over how safe this product is, it is not a known carcinogen, and is considered safe to use topically. You should not breathe or ingest it. When used according to the FDA guidelines, spray tanning is perfectly safe. The spray tan consultant will have nose filters available for your peace of mind. Also, it is not recommended for children or women who are pregnant.

How much does it cost?

A can will cost anywhere from $10-$50 (but they are most likely to be streaky), a spray in a machine usually costs about $30, and to be professionally custom spray tanned is usually $45 (this gives the best result).

In Conclusion…/me ranting

There is some controversy over the portrayal of the “spray tan” as being a completely safe alternative to the tanning bed, especially when it comes to children and pregnant women, which most of the articles referenced. Hmmm… it comes from an aerosol can, and has a man ingredient with the suffix –acetone (dihydroxyacetone)… probably not something I would recommend pregnant women and children be sniffing… but… I mean… really? I think as long as your tan takes place in a well ventilated setting (or you at least hold your breath while it’s spraying your face) you should be ok. I speak from experience… I definitely sprayed myself in the bathroom with the door shut and started feeling light headed. But I was going from winter white to summer black (in 5 coats or less) to get ready for the Celtics game and I wasn’t thinking! Spray responsibly.

Obviously, pregnant women and those tiara toddlers should not be getting spray tanned. But the tanning bed alternative… WAY WORSE.

So that’s my two cents on studies that are “duhhhhh” and personally, I’ll take my chances with spray tan (aka fake and bake, aka tan in a can) any day! All the girls at the office are psyched to have this service available to us, and to our clients!

“A Penny For Your Thoughts,

Inflation Has Doubled,

And No One Wants Your Two Cents”

~My inspirational quote of the post.

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