Spray tans last approximately 5 to 10 days. The first step in understanding how to get the most out of your tan is understanding how the product works. The darkening of your skin is due to a naturally-derived ingredient called Dihydroxyacetone (DHA for short) and is only temporary because, unlike UV rays from a natural sun tan, spray tanning only affects the topmost layer of your skin. This means that a spray tan will only last as long as that top layer of skin, which is determined by your personal skin cycle (where dead skin sloughs off and is replaced by newer skin underneath).
While everyone’s skin cycle is as unique, there ways to lengthen the time between skin cell birth and death; better, there are also ways you can improve your spray tan prep to get more out of each visit
Exfoliating cleans your pores, removes unwanted residues from soaps, shampoos, fragrances and restarts your skin cycle by removing all the older skin, bringing you to a clean slate. This is perfect for spray tanning because the fresher your skin is the longer you have before your tan starts fading, and because exfoliating removes those residues, which can actually create a barrier between you and the product. By exfoliating properly you can extend the life of your tan and ensure even color distribution.
Avoid PH Balancing Sprays, prep sprays, and barrier creams. Anything that is sprayed or applied to your skin prior to your spray tan service is going to negatively impact your tan by creating a barrier between you and the solution. This barrier means that the tanning solution is not adhering as effectively as it could, so you aren’t getting the best tan results possible, resulting in a faster fading tan and in some cases a blotchy or patchy tan where the DHA couldn’t get through at all due to the barrier.
It is okay to shave the morning of your spray tan, but only if the service is still a few hours away, and if you have time to exfoliate your skin afterwards. Shaving opens up the pores in your skin and the shaving cream leaves a residue on your skin, both of which can negatively impact a tan’s life expectancy and performance. If you absolutely must shave right before your tan, do so with lukewarm water, a brand new razor, and an oil-free shaving cream; the results can still be impacted but they’ll be better than the alternative!
Sunburns and chemical peels on the face, back or decolletage are contraindicated as skin peeling causes an uneven tan that can virtually disappear overnight as you peel. Wait until after your skin has recovered before getting your next spray tan–and of course: Wear SPF and don’t get burned!
A spray tan rubs off on clothing. You may think that this is just the bronzers rubbing off, but with oil-based solutions this is also a strong indication that you are losing DHA as well! Wearing loose fitting clothing is always the best option.
The most important thing to remember is DON’T wash it off too early, before the DHA has had a chance to work. This will result in the loss of your tan (or at least most of it). Most “traditional” spray tan solutions require a full 8-12 hours to develop. There are rapid tan solutions out there, which means you can leave the solution on for as little as 30 minutes in some cases, but it’s important to understand that you’ll still lose your bronzer color when you first rinse off with a rapid tan- the tan from a rapid solution will darken over time (that same 8-12 hours).
After your tan, use products with fewer ingredients to less likely negatively affect your tan. Moisturize in the days leading up to your spray tan and the days after to maintain the glow. Also minimize exposure to chlorine, ocean water and excessive sweating Avoiding these things will help your tan last longer but these things are often unavoidable. Just make sure to rinse well after and moisturize to reduce the effects on your skin and tan.
We chose Aviva as our preferred brand of spray tan because it’s oil free, alcohol free, fragrance free, and contains no aloe vera (meaning you won’t leave feeling sticky!) It also has proper bronzer to DHA ratio, no unnecessary ingredients, & is hypoallergenic, eco-certified, and available in a variety of colors. We also have a “Hollywood” spray tan which is fast acting and people are able to shower just an hour after the application.