Is Your Spray Tan Making You Age Faster?

before and after of a spray tanned back

Laying under the sun and getting that perfect bronzed body has been everybody’s dream. Although sunlight is a great source of Vitamin D, many people prefer using spray tans to get that bronzed glow rather than staying under the sun and preventing skin damage, sunburn, or maybe, in the long run, skin cancer from excessive UV exposure.

Spray tans are a popular and preferred alternative to achieving a tan without getting exposed to harmful UV rays. Although spray tans have been a more reliable option when it comes to convenience and safety, many people question if spray tans can make you age faster. Spray tan contains an active ingredient ‘DHA’ that may cause oxidative stress and lead to aging. Before understanding how spray tan can make you age faster, it is important to understand how spray tan actually works.

How Does Spray Tan Work?

As mentioned earlier, sunless tanning is the new fashion trend that even celebrities are following. As the name says, spray tan means spraying that bottled tan onto your skin. However, it is equally important to understand how spray tans work, so let’s have a closer look.

If you are a curious person, you might have read about DHA(Dihydroxyacetone), a color-less form of sugar with three carbon chains. DHA can organically be derived from the sources such as beet and sugar canes, or it can be made synthetically. When DHA gets absorbed into the skin, it reacts with a protein found on the stratum corneum, the epidermis’ first layer.

The reaction produces a pigment named Melanoidins, which makes the skin look bronzed because it absorbs particular wavelengths of light. The process of the production of Melanoidins is known as the Maillard Reaction. It starts after two to four hours of applying a spray tan onto your skin, and the whole process takes up to 72 hours to complete. As there are several types of amino acids present on the skins’ epidermis, this process gives yellow to brown pigment to the skin depending upon the type of amino acid DHA is reacting with.

Melanoidins, which ought not to be confused with naturally produced pigment in skin cells melanin, produce a long-lasting golden bronze that is resistant to water. The Maillard process produces compounds known as Amadori Products. When you go out in the sun after getting the spray tan, UV rays act as a stimulus, and Amadori products release a big amount of free radicals into the skin. As per this study, the number of oxidative free radicals generated by UV exposure can increase in amount by 90 percent to 200 percent after sun exposure of more than 40 minutes. This means that using self-tanning products frequently can increase the oxidation process by two folds. This oxidative stress can cause your skin to break out more often as well as cause apparent indications of aging.

woman in a black bikini recieving a spray tan

What To Do During Your Session

It is always a good thing to be prepared to get that hassle-free session. Below are some tips you might want to follow before your session.

Question Before You Bask

Before you start receiving a spray tan, you must have precise information. So, inquire about everything. Before the spray, feel comfortable asking about everything. Inquire about the goods, their components, aftercare, and other details to minimize the risk of making a mistake. Discuss the color scheme ahead of time, and then go for it.

Keep An Eye On Your Posture

Carefully listen to the instructions of the professional and keep rotating and moving your body along the process in the tanning booth to get a uniform tint. Also, keep an eye out for regions that are dry as elbows and other joints. You don’t want to wind up with a patchy tan, do you?

Allow The Product To Settle

To avoid messing up the results, do not get dressed quickly after your session. Allow it to settle and dry for a few minutes. For this purpose, consider wearing any old black T-shirt so you won’t have to worry even if it gets ruined by the transfer of the product. You can leave the salon once the liquid has been infused into your skin completely.

Tips And Tricks For Spray Tan

You might often notice that even after using similar products used by a tanning salon, you don’t always get the desired results when doing your spray tan at home. Either it becomes darker than you want it, or you battle with patchiness. Here is how you can get the perfect tan.

spray tan gun

Right Time To Tan

If you have an occasion coming up, such as a wedding, it’s always best to get a spray tan a few days ahead of time. The hue appears unrefined and reddish at first, but after two days, it would be at its finest. You might consider getting a trial before deciding to get tanned if it is your wedding to get the optimum results and enjoy that sunless sun glow.

Choosing the Right Color

In terms of color, it’s usually a good idea to bring a summertime photo of yourself to the tanning salon so the aesthetician can get a sense of what tint to choose. As not everyone looks good in every tone, you can always go for a patch test on your skin to get your desired results.

To make it look less artificial, you can use a lighter tint in the wintertime and a darker shade in the warmer months. Additionally, you should be aware of your skin’s undertones. The color of spray tan you decide has much to do with the nuances of your skin.

Exfoliation as Skin Prep

Exfoliating your body with a gentle scrub plays an important role in increasing the life of the tan. Exfoliation will also help you in shedding off that extra dead skin, and the after results will blow you away. You can exfoliate your skin in several ways, such as showering, waxing, threading, scrubbing, etc. Morning hours are best to have a shower before your session. Always use a sponge or some organic scrub to remove dead cells for better exfoliation.

Never forget to moisturize your skin after bathing and always use an oil-free moisturizer. Do not use any heavy moisturizer like Dove as it creates a layer on the skin. There’s one last thing you shouldn’t overlook. Never moisturize within 8 hours of a spray tan application. It will impair attaining tan evenly because moisturizer residue may remain on your skin all through spray tanning, preventing uniform spraying.

Nail And Hair Protection

You won’t want your hair and nails to look out-of-sorts while your body looks perfect in that bronzed glow. You might want to wear nail protection cream or nail polish. It will help create a barrier between your nails and spray. Do not forget to wear a shower cap to protect your hair from tanning. Wearing a shower cap will make sure that your neck and shoulders get even coverage of tan.

woman getting her legs spray tanned

Water as the Problem

Water can ruin your bronzed glow. Make sure you don’t shower for at least 8 to 12 hours after your session. Keep in mind not to do activities that will make you sweat more such as going to the gym or swimming, so you might want to skip that for a while.

Is It Safe To Use Self-Tanner?

There are always some safety concerns when using chemical products. Until now, you might be thinking, what’s the problem with using self-tanning products. The main active ingredient in every tanning product is DHA, including the chemical response that occurs after it is applied to your skin.

Maillard process also occurs when you deglaze sugar, toast bread, or grill steak, which many people are not aware of. So, even if you stay out of the sun, you’re nevertheless practically burning your skin. As an outcome, this is what could happen.

Higher Generation of Free Radicals

PubMed published this article in 2001, and it has been found that Maillard Reaction produces amounts of free radicals. These free radicals are highly reactive, damaging skin cells and degrading collagen and elastin present in skin cells. Because UV light makes dihydroxyacetone more reactive to skin, if you bask in the sun after applying your tanning lotion to tan your skin, then chances are there will be a higher generation of free radicals.

Rapid Skin Aging and DNA Damage

The oxidative stress to your skin from the process of using tanning products can double up skin aging. That can cause the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines on your skin. In some cases, hyperpigmentation and skin sagging too. The researchers have found that DHA also has a link to causing DNA damage to the skin in long-term usage, thus producing clinical consequences.

woman using a spray tan gun to spray tan another woman

Irritated Skin

Self-tanners, tanning lotions, spray tans, and other products containing DHA have been reported to cause skin irritation when used frequently leading to contact dermatitis and injuring the stratum corneum, the epidermis’ first layer. The process of getting tanned produces a bad odor because of the ongoing chemical reaction under the skin, and it is known that every tanning product that has been made by the companies uses fragrances and perfumes in them to conceal the chemical smell so that fragrances can be the leading causative factor of skin irritation.

Vitamin D Production is Affected

Using a self-tanner daily can inhibit the production of Vitamin D. Melanoidin is responsible for this inhibition. It can cause serious health problems as Vitamin D is essential for bone health, teeth health, and building muscles, and Vitamin D is even responsible for reducing cancer risks.

How To Make Spray Tan Less Damaging

Thankfully, there may be a few measures you can take to minimize the negative consequences of spray tan.

Get It Done At Dusk

Because UV rays accelerate the generation of free radicals on DHA-treated epidermis, it’s recommended to avoid UV exposure in the first few hours after applying spray tan. As a result, a study recommends applying spray tan at night. That way, you may let the pigment evolve naturally without feeling worried about adding an SPF on top, and the threat of cellular damage will be significantly reduced by morning.

Include An Antioxidant In Your Skin Regime

Vitamin A, B3, C, and Vitamin E are the best antioxidants for your skin. After getting your tanning done, a Vitamin C and Vitamin E infused serum would work best for your skin to fight the free radicals. If you are intolerant to Vitamin C serums with L-ascorbic acids, try using Niacinamide (B3) serum.

Antioxidant Supplements

An antioxidant medication may also aid in the neutralization of free radicals produced by spray tan use. Vitamin E, one of the best and most effective antioxidants to take orally, is the best choice.

a woman with a spray tan sitting on a chaise lounge

Spray Tans Aren’t The Only Way To Get A Tan

To reduce the harmful long-term side effects of tanning products, you can get wash-off tanning products. The latest ranges of face and body bronzers are launched by many companies to get those caramel hues on your body and be ready for summertime. They don’t require waiting to let it settle down, there is no bad smell, and more importantly, you won’t have to worry about your clothes getting ruined. Below are some of the best picks for you.

DISCO TAN Self Tan Bronzer

by Isle of Paradise 

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Isle Of Paradise Disco Tan Instant Wash Off Body Bronzer

Disco Tan Instant Wash-Off Body Bronzer from the Isle of Paradise provides skin with a golden radiance that can last up to 24 hours. It comes in a single tone and features strobe particles for a subtle radiance.

Instant Hero - Illuminating Skin Perfector
$36.00 ($7.10 / Fl Oz)


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03/08/2024 10:26 pm GMT

Tan-Luxe Instant Hero illuminating Wash-Off Body Bronzer

Tan-Luxe has made it easy for its customers and provides this body bronzer with a sponge for the easiest and even application. It is available in only one shade, but the beauty of it is the glow it gives to the skin after only one application, and it is full coverage.

Classic Self Tanner Bronzer Mousse Foam
$44.00 ($5.50 / Fl Oz)

by St.Tropez 

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03/08/2024 10:32 pm GMT

Tropez One Night Only Wash Off Face & Body Lotion

St. Tropez is the famous Body bronzer that Kim Kardashian uses as she is globally known for her golden skin. One Night Only Wash Off Face & Body Lotion by St. Tropez is a pigmented creme that you can use everywhere for quick color. It’s accessible in two matte hues and is transfer- and water-proof.

Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish

by Vita Liberata 

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Vita Liberata Body Blur 

Body Blur HD Skin Finish by Vita Liberata is a complexion BB cream that may be used on both the face and the body. It is available in five tones, so there’s plenty to go around, and it’s flecked with a hint of sheen that serves to blur flaws.

James Read Enhance Body Foundation Wash Off Tan

James Read Enhance Body Foundation Wash Off Tan is available in a single shade only. It is a tinted creme that can be applied on both face and body to get bronzed skin. You can adjust its tone and build up the layers to go deeper and to get the lighter hues, and it can be mixed with the moisturizer. It is a transfer- and water-proof product.

Phyto-touche Sun Glow Gel

by Sisley Paris

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03/09/2024 05:21 pm GMT

© Age Defying Testing Lab.

Sisley Paris Phyto-Touche Sun Glow Gel

Sisley Paris Phyto-Touche Sun Glow Gel is the perfect gel bronzing product. The after-effects of this gel look more natural than ever. The coverage is sheer but buildable, so you can apply it on the highest points of your face, such as cheekbones, cupid’s bow, forehead, etc.

Better Bod Bronze & Contour Matte

by Tarte 

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Tarte Better Bod Bronze & Contour

Tarte Better Bod Bronze & Contour comes along with the glove to give you the perfect application of the bronzer. There’s only a single tone and it is in a matte finish. It has a water-proof formula when it is completely dried.

© Age Defying Testing Lab.

Body Sauce Body Luminizing Tint

by Fenty Beauty 

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03/08/2024 11:02 pm GMT

Fenty Beauty Body Sauce Luminizing Tint

Fenty Beauty Body Sauce Tint comes in vast shade ranges to choose from. This range is shimmery so when the sun hits the spot it glows like crazy. The coverage is sheer but it can be built.

woman's stomach getting spray tanned

Final Thoughts

Spray tanning has been a go-to option for people who love tanning but don’t want to get exposed to harmful UV rays or simply don’t have the time to lay under the sun. Although spray tans are a convenient option for many people, it is also true that spray tanning may lead to faster aging. If you’re unlikely to cut off getting body tan, then it is recommended by studies that you must ensure to incorporate healthy antioxidant supplements to avoid oxidative stress on your skin.

If you’re regularly using a spray tan, the oxidation that occurs on the skin’s surface will nearly double. This may result in more oxidative stress, more blackheads, and acne, which might lead to visible signs of aging. It can result in cell aging, and skin damage. The oxidative stress caused by the free radicals released by DHA result in sagging, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and other skin-related issues. Hence, spray tans may not be the best option if you want your skin to be flawless.

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