How Does Spray Tanning Work?
People love to be tanned. Even after doctors warned that lying out in the sun without adequate protection leads to serious skin damage and even fatal skin cancer, peoples’ desire to have darker skin hasn’t changed. Alternatives have grown over the years, gradually becoming more effective and affordable. Tanning Beds, self-tanning creams, bronzing make-up, and spray tanning have become increasingly popular.
People aren’t satisfied with their natural skin tone, they want to “glow”. While each alternative is popular and has its adherents, the most popular method of developing that “healthy” colour is spray tanning. Spray tan is especially sought after by people who aren’t concerned with maintaining a darker skin colour most of the time, but want the look for a special occasion, like a prom, trip, or wedding.
While spray tanning has been proven safe for the majority of users, it is still important to understand how spray tans work, and what are the active ingredients in the spray tan mix.
How Does It Work?
Spray tan solution consists of a number of chemicals, the active ingredient being the naturally occurring chemical, dihydroxyacetone (DHA). If you’re familiar with what happens to a piece of apple when you leave it out in the air for a while, then you have seen the naturally occurring effect of DHA. The Skin Care Foundation recommends only using self-tanning products that contain DHA.
DHA is a simple, colourless carbohydrate from certain plants such as sugar beets. It was originally used to treat skin pigmentation problems, until Coppertone discovered its effectiveness as a self-tanning product. DHA causes a reaction with the dead cells in the surface layer of skin, gradually turning the colour to the desired bronze. This is also why DHA spray tans are temporary — after a few days to a week, the stained cells are naturally sloughed off.
Some sprays also contain an instant dye or bronzer to give an immediate tanning effect while the DHA develops. Other ingredients can include natural moisturisers that help skin absorb the spray solution and avoid dryness.