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As more people become educated on the negative effects of using a tanning bed, many individuals are flocking to their local spray tan salon to achieve their faux glow. For longtime spray tanners, taking this route is preferred due to there being no exposure to harmful UVA/UVB rays.

Much of the aging process can be attributed to the sun’s UVA/UVB rays. Many skin issues ranging from hyperpigmentation and sun spots to telangiectasias (broken blood vessels) can be greatly avoided with preventative measures, like applying sunscreen or opting for spray tans over the tanning bed and sunbathing. Also, it’s important to note: Sun damage is not instantaneous. So, while you may enjoy a deep sun tan now, it may result in something less luxurious later.

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Spray tanning is viewed as an experience that delivers natural-looking results without compromising skin health. Win-win! It works thanks to dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the active ingredient in sunless tanners. When applied to the skin, DHA clings onto the amino acids in the dead skin cells that are found on the epidermis a.k.a. the outermost layer of the skin.

Depending on the type of tan you want to achieve, your spray tan session may last anywhere from 15-30 minutes, with results lasting a little over a week if properly cared for.

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Have yet to get a spray tan? Keep these tips – courtesy of Jenn Dieas, CEO of Glowout Salon – in mind before booking your first-ever session.

how to prepare for a spray tan

The Do's & Don'ts of Getting a Spray Tan

DO Exfoliate

… Just make sure all exfoliation happens ahead of your spray tan. “It's best to exfoliate and shave with a mild cleanser several hours prior to your tan so your skin has time to restore its natural balance,” Dieas tells Lively. If you do exfoliate right before your spray tan session, you’ll likely end up with blotches and streaks due to the loose dead skin cells from the last-minute exfoliation.

DON'T Moisturize

Applying lotion right before getting a spray tan will set a barrier between your skin and spray tan, thus making your dreams of the ultimate faux glow less of a reality. While it’s also important to moisturize your newly bronzed skin, make sure not to use an oil-based moisturizer as it will only speed up the fading process. Instead, reach for petroleum jelly.

DO Bring Loose Clothing

Extra points if they’re dark clothes, too. This has less to do with the spray tan itself – though more of it on your clothes means less of it on your skin – and more to do with getting your new glow all over your clothes.

DON'T Make Any Major Plans for That Same Day

Since traditional spray tans require users to take a shower at least eight hours after the session, you might prefer to just make the day your own. Use it to run a few errands or to binge-watch Friends on Netflix for the umpteenth time this year. It’s not just for your mental health, but for the sake of your new glow. 

DO Hydrate

It’s all about staying hydrated! We recommend having a functional water, like Vital Proteins Collagen Water – available in Original, Strawberry Lemon, Blueberry Mint, Blackberry Hibiscus, and Lemon Ginger flavors – on hand to meet your daily hydration goals. “Drink lots of water,” says Dieas, adding what not to do in order to upkeep your faux glow: “Avoid super-hot showers and prolonged exposure to chlorine and saltwater.” 

DON'T Shower Right Away

Traditional spray tans green-light showers eight hours after the session. In a hurry? Dieas says showers can also be taken two hours later – but it all depends on the formulation of the spray tan. “We offer vegan express tans at Glowout where you can shower as soon as two hours after you get sprayed, which our clients love!” she shares.