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Sunless FAQs

Sunless FAQs

How does sunless tanning products work? 

The main active ingredient in sunless tanning products is Dihydroxyacetone (DHA). A colorless sugar, DHA interacts with the proteins and amino acids in the outer layer of the skin to produce a golden brown color. This is called the “Maillard Reaction”. By this reaction, DHA will always produce the same results based on concentration and application levels. In addition to DHA, the all-natural sunless solution I use here at Bronzed Bella contain Organic Aloe Vera, Caprylic Triglyceride and Hyaluronic Acid to moisturize and nourish your skin as your tan develops. 

Most sunless products also contain an immediate bronzer. The formulation of the bronzer determines the initial color of your skin after application. This initial color washes off in your first post-tanning shower, revealing your tan. Formulas can be custom blended to the initial color you desire, and I will adjust the level of DHA in your custom solution to be consistent with your skin type.

Is it safe?

Yes, DHA is approved by the FDA for application on non-mucosal areas of the skin. As such, FDA guidelines state that nose filters, eye protection and lip balm should be provided to users. Allergic reactions are extremely rare and no adverse effects to DHA have been reported other than minor skin irritations on allergic people. These are usually relieved by showering. If you are unsure whether you have an allergy to DHA, I will happily provide a small patch test 24 hours prior to a full body application. 

How long does my sunless tan last?

With proper preparation and daily moisturizing, your tan will last approximately 7 to 10 days. Those who shower more than once daily will fade more quickly than clients whose routine includes one daily shower and a regular non-petroleum moisturizer. A sunless tan fades just like a tan from the sun. As you slough off dead skin cells, so goes your tan. Proper skin hydration is the key to tan longevity. Used as directed, sunless products can extend your color and keep it smooth and even for up to two weeks.

Can you use tanning beds or tan outdoors in conjunction with sunless tanning?

Absolutely. Although repeated exposure to ultraviolet light is deemed to cause premature aging and cancers of the skin, you can still do both. It is important to note that sunless tanning offers no protection from ultraviolet light. Although you will appear to be tan, a broad-spectrum sunscreen is still necessary to prevent burning and other possible skin damage from UV exposure. Drying your skin in the sun or by alternative UV sources can reduce the longevity of your sunless tan.

Can I spray tan with a sunburn?

You can, but it's not a great idea. Inflamed, red skin from a new sunburn develops the tan differently than healthy skin, which can cause unreliable fading. As your body heals your injury, the top layer of skin becomes more and more dehydrated, ultimately cracking and peeling in spotty patches. Sunburned skin that is peeling will grab the spray tan unevenly, develop unevenly and continue to peel away in splotches. Spray tan simply does not do well on burnt, damaged skin. There is nothing even the most talented spray tan artist can do to even out sunburn damage with DHA. The best solution is pro-active diligent sunscreen use!

Should I do anything to prepare for my tanning session?

Yes. Prior to being tanned you should exfoliate using an oil-free scrub. Do not use bar soaps, or moisturizing spa-type cleansers as these leave residue which will interfere with the development of your tan. Removing dead cells and body oils helps the sunless tanner adhere to your skin for the best results. Do not use moisturizers prior to being tanned as they can clog pores and inhibit proper penetration of the solution. Before your session I will provide a hydrating blend of barrier cream for the elbows, knees, hands, feet and any other extremely dry areas to prohibit excessive darkening in these areas. I also provide a pH balance spray which helps to prepare the skin for your sunless tan. Makeup and deodorants may also inhibit absorption and should be removed prior to tanning.

What should I wear to my session?

During your appointment - If you choose to be tanned in a bathing suit, I suggest you buy one specially for use while tanning or use an older one as solution will inevitably get on your suit. I provide disposable underwear and bras here in studio.

Female clients over the age of 18 may choose to tan topless or in the nude. Male clients must wear bottoms, and many find fitted boxer briefs to be the best solution. All clients under 18 years of age must have a signed parental approval form, and must tan in a full swimsuit or bra and underwear. I will make every effort to accommodate your needs and make you as comfortable as possible whatever you choose to wear.

After the appointment - You should wear loose fitting, dark colored clothing and flip-flops or slide on shoes as bronzer can rub off on your clothing and some shoes rub off solution, negatively affecting the results. Avoid tight clothing, denim, sports bras, etc. as these will slough your skin and can create development issues immediately after your tan. (Leaving bra-less in a baggy t-shirt/hoodie with baggy sweatpants or a long loose sundress is Ideal and preferred if possible). Clothing that would leave a mark on your skin, will leave a mark in your developing tan. Bronzer color that transfers will sometimes wash out in a normal wash cycle, but there is no guarantee. Please choose your post-tan attire accordingly. 

Will I have tan lines?

It's your call. It depends on what you wear during tanning. We recommend that clients wear an old, dark swimsuit or undergarments. Some clients purchase an inexpensive swimsuit dedicated to their tanning sessions. I offer disposable underwear and bras free of charge at your appointment. 

What can I do to care for my sunless tan?

Caring for your sunless tan will prolong your results. Avoid exposure to water and activities that might cause you to perspire, until after your first post-tanning shower. Once your tan has developed, it is a part of your outer skin layer and just as with a UV tan, activities that exfoliate the skin will slowly fade your color. Keep your skin well hydrated with a moisturizer that is free of petroleum, mineral oil and paraffin. Avoid products that contain Vitamin C, retinol and other ingredients intended to accelerate turnover of your skin. Avoid the drying effects of prolonged exposure to the elements. Use a sulfate-free, gentle body wash in the shower and do not use a loofah or washcloth for the duration of your tan. Pat dry after showering or swimming, as opposed to rubbing. These simple measures will help maximize the look and length of your tan. 

Can I tan if I'm pregnant?

With your obstetrician's approval. It is generally accepted that properly applied sunless, done in an environment with adequate ventilation, is safe for mothers-to-be. The final decision about whether sunless spray tanning is appropriate during your pregnancy should be made by you and your physician. 

How long does it take?

A typical full-body session takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Partial body services take slightly less time. Plan for extra time at your first visit to allow for preparation and to become accustomed to the process here at Bronzed Bella.

Why is the airbrush application superior to spray tan booths or applying by hand?

The airbrush is a precision instrument that allows for a smooth, flawless application. Special care can be taken to avoid over application on problem areas such as knees, elbows, around the hairline, and for skin blemishes that tend to absorb more color. While all methods of sunless tanning require positioning and re-positioning to evenly apply solution, spray booths are pre-set to a timer and volume of spray that does not adjust for the individual. The consumer has little control over the product and where it lands, and the machine has zero control. 

Hand application often results in streaky coloration and stained hands depending on the individual's ability to properly apply the product. Uneven coloration is common with self-tanners that are rubbed in as opposed to gently settling on the skin. Even popular aerosol cans are difficult for the individual to apply evenly. 

The airbrush, with its inherent precision and flexibility, is by far the application method of choice.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out and I will be happy to answer them :)