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Airbrush Tanning FAQ's

What is custom airbrush tanning?   TOP

Custom spray tanning, also called UV-free or sunless tanning, is a process of applying a tanning solution using a hand held spray gun. The tanning solution is applied smoothly and evenly by a trained technician.

How does airbrush tanning work?   TOP

The main ingredient in spray tanning solutions that produces the beautiful "tan" effect is Dihydroxyacetone (DHA). works by reacting to oxygen and skin protein, or amino acids, in the outer layer of skin. This reaction produces a healthy, natural, glowing brown color without the harmful effects or long-term damage of UV rays. In most cases your development of color will take anywhere from 2 to 4 hourss and will continue to darken through a 24 hour period to your final results. Your DHA color will last between 5 to 8 days and begin to fade as your top layer of skin naturally sheds. The length of your DHA tan will depend on the personal care of the skin and how well you moisturize to prevent excessive natural exfoliation.

Is airbrush tanning safe?   TOP

The FDA has approved DHA for cosmetic purposes. DHA is UV-free. It is not absorbed into the skin but reacts with the proteins, or dead skin cells, in the top layer of the skin. Your skin continuously sheds these dead skin cells and that's the reason spray tanning only lasts 1-2 weeks. Dermatologists will agree it's much safer than prolonged hours in the sun and, although visiting a spa this often may be a hassle, it is far better than the risk of skin cancer.

Although rare, allergic reactions can happen. I strongly urge clients to notify me during the intake and evaluation process if allergies, or other health issues, are a concern.

Can I tan if I'm pregnant?   TOP

Although there is no evidence spray tanning or sunless tanners have any harmful effects during pregnancy, I always advise that you check with your doctor prior to using any sunless tanner in order to make a safe and informed decision.

How is custom airbrush tanning different from automatic spray booth tanning?   TOP

Unlike automatic spray booths, the solution is customized for your skin type and preference and is applied by hand. This reduces the chance of drips, streaks and over application that can lead to "off" color results. Extra attention can be given to areas that are hard to reach or have a tendency to react more with the DHA, such as dry areas of the elbows, knees and heels.

How dark will I get after one airbrush tanning session?   TOP

Usually spray tanning solutions contain a bronzer, or color guide, that helps the technician apply the solution smoothly and evenly. This bronzer is not a dye or stain and is temporary. It gives an immediate golden color which washes off with the first shower. The DHA in the solution is what creates your tan. Everyone is different and results vary based on your individual skin type, product and solution strength, and application technique. Therefore, the client is evaluated prior to application to determine the appropriate solution strength for their skin type and desired level of tan. Usually, the longer you wait to shower following your session, the darker you will get.

Will the bronzer, or color guide, stain my clothing?   TOP

The color pigment is not a stain or dye, is water soluble and will wash out of most synthetic materials without pre-treating. Materials such as nylon, lycra, spandex, or silk could stain and should not be worn to your appointment or prior to showering.

Will my "tan" wash off?   TOP

The immediate bronzer/color guide will wash off as soon as you shower. The DHA is not permanent, but just like a natural tan the spray tan will not wash off. Although it doesn't wash off, the life of your tan can be shortened by many things such as, salt water, chlorine, prolonged time in baths or hot tubs, shaving or using exfoliating lotions and scrubs.

How many times can I have it applied in one day?   TOP

Sunless tans can take up to 24 hours to fully develop. Therefore, you should wait at least that long so you can see if the color is what you want. Too much spray tanning solution has a tendency to turn out a bit 'orangey".

How long with my airbrush tan last?   TOP

The life of your sunless tan depends on many factors such as pre and post-tan care, the application process, your individual skin type and natural exfoliation process and reaction to the DHA. If self-applied at home, (lotions, aerosols/self spray on tans, mousse, etc), it can be streaked or spotty, there will be many places you can't reach and you can expect your tan to last 3 to 5 days. If you have a professional airbrush application, you can expect 6 to 8 days, sometimes longer. Professional application is recommended because they use professional application techniques and usually use stronger DHA percentages, giving you a higher quality tan. Most at home tanners use only 4 to 5% DHA strength, as professionals will use on average 9% DHA. Following a solid skin care regime pre and post-tan application will extend your tan's logevity by days. Proper pre-tan showering and exfoliation and post-tan maintenance, it can last up to a week, and in some cases a little longer. Spray tans fade like natural suntans. As the top layer of skin cells are shed and replaced, your tan will fade. Therefore, you should schedule your spray tanning sessions at least every 7 to 10 days.

How long will my airbrush tanning session take?   TOP

Spray tanning takes approximately 10-15 minutes and another 10 minutes to dry.

How do I prepare for my airbrush tanning session?   TOP

To ensure a good tan and lengthen the life of your tan as long as possible it's important to properly prepare. Shower, exfoliate and shave before. Lotions act as a barrier so apply only a very light application to areas that are dry. Some areas such as elbows, knees and heels have a tendency to be very dry and can react more to the DHA. These areas may need an additional application of barrier lotion which can be done just prior to your session. Do not apply make-up. Don't use deodorant or perfumes as these can react with the DHA causing off color tints.

What should I wear to my airbrush tanning session?   TOP

Wear dark, loose fitting clothes and flip-flops. Avoid tight straps and/or clothing as these can rub the tanning solution off. The bronzer is water soluble and will wash out of most synthetic materials without pre-treating. A disposable thong is provided to all my female clients but what you wear is to your choice and level of comfort. If you choose to bring something, it is best to bring a dark swimsuit or undergarments to tan in that are not your best. I do ask that all men wear a dark bathing suit or underwear during their spray tanning session. Also, you may want to bring a dark towel to cover car seats on your ride home to protect them from any bronzer. Materials such as nylon, lycra, spandex or silk could stain and should not be worn to your appointment or prior to showering.

What do I do after my airbrush tanning session?   TOP

In order for you to get the full affects of the DHA and your deepest tan, I suggest you wait 10 hours or longer following your session to shower to achieve your best tanning result. If you can't, then wait at least 6 to 8 hours. The DHA ingredient will not have time to react fully with your skin proteins if you bathe or shower before 6 hours, giving you a much lighter tanning result. Contact with water, perspiration, moisture or lotions before the DHA has developed can affect the outcome of your tan. Water splashes or spots from handwashing, dishwashing, rain drops, etc, within the first couple of hours following your tan fcan cause streaking or spotting, so the longer you can wait to do these things, the better.

How do I prolong my tan?   TOP

In the days following your spray tanning session, it is very important you hydrate your skin by drinking plenty of fluids. You should also moisturize every day with sunless tan friendly products. I have several maintenance products that can be ordered to help you enhance and prolong your tan. 

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