Not long ago, tanning mostly meant lying on the beach in the sun, or going down to the local tanning salon to spend time on a tanning bed. However, over the years more research has been done into the harmful effects of these methods. This is mostly because of ultraviolet (UV) rays. If you want a golden glow without worrying about cancer, wrinkles of dry skin, the spray tanning might be just the thing for you.

Sunless Spray Tanning

Traditional tanning methods tend to focus on the deepest layer of the epidermis called the basal layer. A sunless alternative to achieving that “healthy glow”, spray tanning essentially dyes the color of your skin temporarily, focusing on the stratum corneum, or the outermost layer of the skin. This means that a spray tan might not last as long, but it will still give a tanned look to your skin.

How Does Spray Tanning Work?

These days, you can find numerous sunless tanning options, from tanning pills, sunless- or self-tan sprays and bronzers. You can soothe, swipe or spray on a light bronze glow or a deep, dark tan. Many of these products take 45 minutes to one hour to start working effectively, and once you factor in drying time, you could be looking at about three hours spent achieving that sunless tan.

How Does Spray Tanning Work

The question most people ask themselves, when considering this sunless alternative, is how spray tanning works. The active ingredient in most sunless spray tanning products is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). When applied to your skin, DHA reacts with dead cells in the outermost layer of skin to temporarily darken the skin's appearance. The “tan” lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 days and can vary in color depending on how well you apply the tanning spray. To make sure it works properly, you must prepare your skin in advance.

Remember that your skin is not permanent, and is constantly growing new cells. Spray tanning solutions have no effect at all on live skin cells, and instead only cause changes to dead cells. In a nutshell, spray tanning solutions turn dead skin cells brown.

Spray Tanning Considerations

If strange symptoms occur after applying a spray tan, you should stop the spray immediately and wash with gentle soap and water. Symptoms can include itching, rash and swelling. Do not get another spray tan until you can determine the cause of the symptoms and how spray tan works on your skin. If the symptoms persist, contact your physician.

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