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5 Myths About Spray Tanning

A Spray Tan Looks Unnatural

This is by far the most pervasive myth about spray tanning, and the worst part about it is that it was once true—making it that much harder to put this myth to bed. Because a spray tan solution needs to be formulated correctly to give a realistic looking tan, and because solutions can be manufactured by people who are less than unqualified, there are a lot of solutions with colors that are slightly off—or worse.  As the saying goes, “One bad egg can spoil the bunch,” and with spray tanning this is very true—the worst spray tans are the ones that usually get the most publicity. I could go on for days about how outdated this myth is, see the results for yourself.

A Spray Tan Can Prevent Sun Burns

This is one of the most dangerous myths I’ve ever encountered around spray tanning—falling just short of, “A spray tan can prevent a bear attack.” A spray tan cannot prevent a sun burn. A spray tan is not a base tan—it provides no more protection from the sun than your makeup does (unless your makeup has SPF in it of course).

A Spray Tan Makes You Look Orange

This is based in the 70s right beside the “looks unnatural” myth. Back when Earth, Wind, and Fire was pumping out funky grooves, and before glam metal took center stage with tight leather and gender-confused lead singers, spray tanning was in its infancy. DHA was discovered for its tanning abilities in the 20s, but the first tanning solution came out in 1960 (Coppertone’s Quick Tan); unfortunately, the first solutions were far from natural looking. Lots of them came out orange and others made you look like a burnt piece of toast. This happened because the companies really didn’t understand how to correctly process DHA; they just could not find the balance between too little DHA and too much. Thankfully, this is no longer the case: nowadays, most spray tans look as natural as sun-based tans. The only way I’d be able to turn you orange is if I tried to turn you orange.

A Spray Tan Is Only For “Young People”

The idea behind this myth is that young people go tanning and older people don’t because tanning is a popularity tool and older people are more comfortable with where they stand among their friends, and thus don’t feel the pressure to “fit in”. In fact, older clients can perhaps benefit more from the psychological effects of a spray tan. As you age, your skin slowly loses its color and begins to appear ashen or grey because your skin cells are becoming less oxygenated. This process can appear to be reversed with a spray tan, and in return could make you look five or even ten years younger.

All Spray Tans Stain Your Clothes, Your Furniture, Your Bed Sheets

You’ve no doubt heard the same horror stories as I have: I lay down on my bed and now I have to throw out the sheets; I put my clothes back on and now my collar has a spray tan too; I sat down on my couch and my tan rubbed off on the cushion. Sadly, this is only partly a myth. The truth is that the spray tan is not causing the stains—the oils in the spray tan solution are causing the stains. So to put it simply: if you remove the cause of the stain, you are also removing the fear of causing a stain.

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