How Does Spray Tanning Work?
Spray Tanning Basics
Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is the active ingredient in all good spray tanning solutions that is responsible for that rich, dark color that tanners are seeking. DHA is a colorless chemical that reacts with the amino acids in dead skin cells to produce a brown color. The human body is constantly shedding its outer-layer of skin (anywhere from every 5-10 days) depending on exfoliation and moisturizing. This unique natural process of the body gives us the opportunity to apply a temporary enhancement to the appearance of the skin.
Is DHA in spray tanning safe to use?
The FDA has approved DHA for external application. Studies have not been done to determine the effects DHA has on humans if ingested. Because the studies have not been done, it is better to be safe than sorry. You should always make sure anyone who could potentially ingest the spray is protected. You can take precautions to ensure the solution is not ingested.
There are benefits to applying spray tan on the face, but it is important to be careful when doing so. If you follow the techniques on this site, a proper application on the face will eliminate the need for make up (hard to believe but very true). The face is the most vulnerable area, you should protect against this by doing the following:
- cover the eyes with strapless goggles (like you use in a tanning bed)
- use nose plugs to prevent inhalation
- use chapstick to protect the lips (chapstick should also be used on blemishes to prevent discoloration)
- the technician applying the tan should wear a mask while applying (a surgical mask works fine)
How Spray Tan is Applied
There are a few different ways an airbrush or spray tan can be applied. Spray tans and airbrush tans are basically the same thing the only difference being the gun that is used. There are HVLP turbine guns or an airbrush hooked to an air compressor.
HVLP Style Gun
Airbrush Style Gun
There other alternative to receiving a spray tan is the spray booth option. As spray tan technicians we will not be focusing much on this option, but it is important to understand why. While it does eliminate the need for a spray tan technician, the quality of the tan is usually not as great.
A booth only allows for one way to get the tan applied and different body types sometime require different application techniques. A well-trained spray tan technician has the ability to apply the correct amount of solution in every situation. After following the steps outlined on this website you will be able to do the same.
The Color Guide
Spray tanning solutions contain a bronzer that is known as a color guide. This is the initial tan color that you will see before taking a shower. The DHA takes some time to set in (usually around 8 hours unless you are using a “rapid” style solution). Before the DHA shows up the color guide is what gives the tanner the color they are looking for. After the color from the DHA develops it is usually one to two shades darker than the color guide.
The color guide also serves another important purpose for the spray tan technician. An airbrush tan technician uses this color guide to know where the solution has already been applied. It is important as a technician to find a solution with a dark enough color guide for you to see as you are applying the tan. This varies from individual to individual, finding a solution with a good color guide will make applying the tan a lot easier.
Now that you know how spray tanning works, it’s time to schedule your appointment and take the necessary steps to get a beautiful spray tan every time.
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