How spray tanning works

DHA is the main ingredient in spray tans. DHA stands for dihydroxyacetone, which is a colorless sugar derived from raw sugar cane or fermented glycerin. DHA interacts with dead skin cells on the skin’s surface to darken it naturally. The skin begins to darken within 4-6 hours. The color will last for 5-7 days on average.

Your skin’s stratum corneum includes your skin’s acid mantle. These are acids that are naturally on the horny layer of the skin. Within the acid mantle are natural body oils (sebum) that react with DHA. Acids in the oils react with DHA and will darken the skin.

There are two types of spray tan applications: cosmetic bronzers and clear. Cosmetic bronzers give an instant result and is similar to make-up and are designed to wash off in your first shower as the DHA darkens. The clear solution goes on your skin clear and it will take a few hours before your skin is darkened.

The first DHA formula was developed in the 1970’s and the results came out quite orange. However, that is in the past! Spray tans have developed to produce a natural-looking color and have an improved reaction with the skin.

There are two different kinds of spray tanning equipment: spray booths and hand-held spray tan devices. Spray tanning booths do not require an operator to be present to activate the spray. Booths spray a fine particle mist onto your body. Standing in certain positions, your body will be evenly covered from head to toe in the DHA solution. Spray booths usually give automatic directions and have guidelines to ensure a complete understanding of the directions.

Hand-held spray tanning devices are sprayed onto your skin by a tanning operator and can be a high volume spray gun or an airbrush device. A hand-held spray tan allows the client to achieve a more customized and contrasting look.

For details and tips on maintaining your spray tan, click here.

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