There is no denying that a deep, golden tan looks good. It gives the impression of vibrant health, and even youthfulness. Getting that tan, however, can be anything but a healthful proposition. Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can lead to all sorts of trouble, including sunburn, skin damage, and in some cases, cancers. In the past sun exposure was encouraged as a healthy activity, but no more. Today, anyone can play it safe by using a spray tan at home.
Can the use of chemicals really look as good as an old-fashioned sun-exposure tan? Tanning outdoors is really the skin’s reaction to sun damage. Tanning agents, on the other hand, do not burn. They work by means of a reaction between the applied chemicals and naturally occurring amino acids. The two most common chemical ingredients are dihydroxyacetone(DHA) and erythrulose. If they are applied judiciously, the result actually mimics a suntan, without the harmful rays.
Other darkening methods include tanning pills, or even implanted hormones. There are temporary bronzers which are similar to makeup, and can be rinsed away after a day’s use. These are not as popular, effective, or convenient as the spray-on or airbrush tan, both of which originated in salons. Like any other salon treatment, they can be costly. The serious tanner is now able to purchase home equipment similar to those professional spray-tanning booths or airbrush sets. These are actual equipment purchases, but are still less costly than buying a home tanning bed, and are less damaging.
There is, however, the option of using less costly spray systems designed for home use. These products work well, and tans last about a week before beginning to fade away. They can be reapplied whenever necessary. Choose a home tanning spray based on the tone of your skin, because different formulas produce varying shades of color. Don’t hesitate to be brutally honest with yourself if you are choosing a product that promises a ‘deep, golden tan.’ If you are very pale, using a large amount right at the start of the tanning season may color you orange. Use a product that is easily controlled, and that will build color gradually.
Also, no two bodies are alike. If a friend looks absolutely terrific after using a particular home spray-on tanning product, don’t assume you will get exactly the same end result. Skin conditions can change with the years and even with the season. A product that worked for you in the past may be less effective as time goes by. Do your own product research before you buy.
When you have decided on a product, preparation is essential prior to applying the solution, whether is is to be airbrushed on, or sprayed from a can. Be sure and read the directions carefully to avoid any mistakes. Inviting a friend to help is probably a good idea, because manually spraying those hard-to-reach areas like your back, for instance, can be difficult. There can still be some streaking or uneven color. Most of these products recommend application at night to allow maximum drying time. Then, in the morning any color looking uneven can be given a touch-up.
Before using a spray tanning solution it is important to exfoliate. Because the chemicals in the tanner affect only the skin’s outer layers, it is important to make sure that any excess dead cells are removed first. If not, then the tan will disappear more quickly, because those cells will fall off anyway. Also, don’t wear any makeup, and don’t apply deodorant before an application. They will block the effect of the spray, and leave pale spots needing touch-up.
If done correctly, using a home tanning product or equipment can result in looking nearly as good as a day at the beach, or even a visit to the spa. They may save you time and money and a drive to the salon. Avoid sun damage this year and spray tan at home.