The Spray Tan Skincare Treatment

If you love the healthy look of a nice brown tan but you don't want to stay out in the sun, lay on a tanning bed, or fiddle with sunless tanning lotions you might want to give a spray tan a try. Many salons now offer this full-body spray-booth tanning service. A spray-on or "misting" tan usually is free from streaks or blotches. It costs around $25 per session.

What they'll be spraying on you while you're in the booth is something called DHA (dihydroxyacetone) which is the same coloring ingredient that's been used in sunless tanning lotion for decades, but luckily the formulations these days yield a nice tan that doesn't look orange. The color develops within a day after the spray and it will hang around until your dead skin cells are shed, about five to seven days. Usually if you keep your skin well-moisturized it will last longer. It will also last longer if you exfoliate your skin before you have the spray tan mist applied. Your tan may show up uneven if your skin is sun-damaged, mottled or freckled, and if scars are present.

First-timers wanting a "tan" for a special occasion like prom or a wedding should try a spray tan at least a week in advance of the event. If you're given a choice between different shades of tanning, remember to choose wisely. A dark tan on fair skin will look awkward, regardless of the quality of the product being applied.

DHA is only approved for external use and you're advised against inhaling the mist or getting it into your eyes, nose, and ears. Inquire at the salon whether they have installed ventilation to help keep you from overexposure to the mist. If the salon does not provide eye goggles and nose and ear plugs, remember to bring your own. To keep your palms and the soles of your feet from getting misted, some salons offer special hand lotion and disposable booties. These areas just don't look right when they're tanned. You may also want to put your hair up and/or cover it.

Try a "tantoo" where you place a sticker or decal on your skin before the spraying begins. When you peel it off, it will leave tan lines. This works well with sunless tanning lotions, too.

Don't be deceived by your freshly tanned skin, it does not protect you from sunburn since the mist does not contain any SPF. Some spray tan mists may leave an odor on you temporarily, so don't plan on going out right after your tanning session.

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