What to Do to Get the Best Spray Tan

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perfect woman body closeup and hand with tanning gun for quick tanning on a white background

There are a number of benefits to getting a spray or airbrush tan. Your skin won’t be exposed to UV rays for long periods of time, and you can lower the risk of skin cancer, since you won’t be getting your tan from the sun. If you’re considering a spray tan, here are some tips that will keep the tan looking great and protect your skin.

Don’t shave your legs right before going to the tanning salon. The pigment in airbrush tans (DHA) can cause burning and itching if your pores are exposed. Do all your shaving the day before your appointment to avoid this. Shaving also exfoliates your legs and gets rid of dead skin cells that could make your tan uneven, but you’ll have to give your skin about a day or two to recover after shaving so that your tan will look its best. If you don’t need to shave before you get your spray tan, you should still exfoliate your skin with a sugar or salt scrub that includes essential oils that will soothe your skin and provide antioxidants. A combination of sugar and/or salt with olive or almond oil and a few drops of geranium or chamomile oil will prep your skin for tanning. Just be sure to do this at least 12 hours before your appointment.

Before you head to your tanning session, make sure you’re dressing in comfortable clothing that is black or dark in color and fits loosely on your body. You’ll change back into this once you’ve gotten your spray tan, and you want to make sure that the clothing you’re wearing isn’t too clingy, since this could make your tan uneven. Dark clothing helps to ensure that if some of the tanning product gets on your clothing, it won’t be noticeable. Don’t wear expensive panties or bras to the tanning salon, since these could be ruined when you put them back on after your time in the tanning booth. If you can, go braless and wear cotton thongs. Or, you can wear the paper underwear that the tanning salon provides.

Once you’re in the tanning booth, you’ll need to make sure that your eyes and nose are protected, whether you’re in a booth where the spray is electronically distributed or you have a professional doing the job for you. Ask your tanning technician for a cover for your eyes and nose so that the chemicals from the spray tan don’t get into your eyes or irritate your nose. Check out the area where you’ll be getting your tan as well to make sure there is enough ventilation. If there are no air vents or windows, this means that you could inhale too much of the tanning chemicals.

Give your skin enough time to dry before you go swimming or work out. It should take about half an hour for the tan to set on your skin completely, so you may want to wait at the tanning facility during this time to make sure the spray tan doesn’t smear. If you notice any runny spots, blot it with a towel or napkin to keep the tan in place.