The Tanning Process
Many people who have never had a spray tan before wonder how it works and what will happen during your appointment, This page will hopefully answer those questions for you.
How Spray Tanning Works
Tanning occurs on the outer layer of the skin which is known as the epidermis. The epidermis is made up of five layers and, as shown on the diagram (right), spray tans and other self-tanning products work on the top layers of the epidermis (whereas UV tanning occurs in the deepest layer of the epidermis, thus causing penetrative damage to the skin).
When you tan from the sun, the UV rays will penetrate the epidermis and react with the melanocytes (cells within your skin that produce the colour pigmentation Melanin) which will then oxidise and darken the skin. This is the skin’s way of protecting the body from too much UV damage.
With spray/self tanning the DHA in the tanning solution reacts with the amino acid found in the Keratin (‘dead’ skin cells) found on the top layer of the epidermis causing a semi-permanent change in the colour of the skin.
When you get your spray tan done you will have an instant colour (shown as the darkest brown on the diagram). This is purely cosmetic and is a guide colour that allows the technician to see where she has applied the solution. This is not the true colour of your tan which will be revealed as a lovely golden brown (see the lighter brown colour on the diagram) when the guide colour has been washed off the skin.
Q. Why does my tan fade?
A. We shed skin every day, millions of dead skin cells, and have a totally fresh layer of epidermis ever 35-45 days. As tanning effects the epidermis only, the tan will fade with every layer of skin cells that are shed.
During Your Appointment
If it’s your first appointment we begin with a quick consultation which just checks on your current health (click here to see health issues that may prevent tanning) to ensure you do not suffer from any reactions to the tanning solution, and also to discuss how you want your tan to look so we can select the best percentage solution for your needs.
After the consultation you will be given a few minutes to undress ready for the tanning session to begin. We can provide hair nets, to keep your hair out of the way, and disposable briefs if you do not want to wear your own underwear.
Once ready your spray tan technician will return to get you in position in the tanning tent where she will apply a barrier cream to dry areas; the ankles, feet, knees, elbows, wrists and hands. The barrier cream is used to prevent darker areas where the skin is drier, which is not a great look!
You will then be asked to stand in various positions while the technician sprays you with the tanning solution. Application can be quite cold so it may help to have your room well heated. Once the technician is happy the tan has been applied all over the body she will then detach the gun to dry you off with the hose.
That’s it! Your tan is then done. You will then be given a few minutes to dress (we advise loose, dark clothing with no tight straps) before your tanning technician gives you the aftercare advice that will help you care for your new tan.