How to Get a Perfect Spray Tan

by Jeannie Knudson

A spray tan allows you to get a perfect tan without risking skin damage from dangerous UV rays. When done correctly, a spray tan will give fast, even results for an all-over body tan. To get a perfect spray tan, individuals need to prepare their skin before tanning, follow the manufacturer’s directions exactly and take steps to preserve the results. With a little practice, you can achieve professional spray tan results at home.

How to Get a Perfect Spray Tan

Step 1

Exfoliate your skin before spray tanning. This sloughs off the dead skin that would otherwise leave dark spots. Avoid using oil-based scrubs as they will act as a barrier and prevent the tanning solution from penetrating the skin.

Step 2

Protect areas that absorb tanning products too quickly. If you're using a spray tan for the first time and doing it at home, apply a thin layer of lotion on the elbows, knees, hands and feet as these areas tend to darken quickly. Additionally, you can use disposable gloves and foot covers, then apply a self-tanner to those areas after the spray tan.

Step 3

Maintain the same speed when spraying the product on. Streaks and spots occur when the spray tan is applied too quickly or too slowly. Try to keep the sprayer going consistently the entire time. Additionally, follow the manufacturer's directions on how far the sprayer should be from the body when applying (usually 8 to 12 inches).

Step 4

Avoid drastic color changes. Gradually increasing the darkness of the tan will help avoid the "fake bake" look. Additionally, any flaws from a less-than-perfect spray tan will be less evident in a lighter shade, and mistakes can be corrected with additional tanning sessions.

Step 5

Dab off runs or dark spots immediately. Too much spray tan applied to one area can result in runs. Quickly blot the excess product to prevent spotting. Additionally, if the tan dries with streaks or dark spots, use a little lemon juice to lighten the area.

Step 6

Consider a professional tan if this is your first time attempting to spray tan. Spray tan booths are fast, efficient and private, coating those hard-to-reach areas without an extra pair of hands. Be sure to get clear instructions from the attendant in charge of the machine before tanning.

Step 7

Preserve your spray tan. Prevent your tan from rubbing off on your clothes by waiting 20 to 30 minutes after a treatment before getting dressed. Avoid showering for a full day after the tanning session and avoid exfoliating for several days.

Tips

  • If you're tanning for an upcoming event, be sure to spray tan at least a week before the event so you'll be able to correct any mistakes.

    Wear loose-fitting clothes the first few hours after a spray tan.

Warnings

  • When wearing a cap to protect the hair in a tanning booth, leave the hairline exposed or you'll risk having a white line across the forehead.

    Prevent irritation and ensure a more uniform tan by shaving approximately 8 hours before a tanning session.

Photo Credits

  • Ralf Nau/Lifesize/Getty Images

About the Author

Jeannie Knudson is an avid traveler with a love for the written word. She has been a freelance writer for over 15 years and holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from the University of Northern Iowa. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences on eHow and Travels.com.