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Airbrush Tanning - Brushing Your Way to Perfect Color

Updated on January 14, 2013

What is airbrush tanning?

There are many different terms for this type of tanning but they all refer to the same process. It is commonly known as spray tanning and this is how most salons will describe the service. The process involves a less hands on application than other sunless systems. It's one of the many alternatives to self tanners and lotions. Everyone wants to have that golden brown, just back from the beach look without the risk of sun damage that comes along with it. Now you can achieve almost the exact same look indoors without harmful UVA and UVB rays.

How does it work?

Airbrush tanning works when a mixture of chemicals containing the active ingredient DHA (Dihydroxyacetone) interact with your skin. This ingredient causes the Melanin in your skin to react and cause a pigment change. Pigment is just a fancy name for the color of your skin and Melanin is the main contributor to your body's pigmentation. This transformation is not permanent and just like a regular tan, it will eventually fade.

How long will my airbrush tan last?

Because your body regularly and continuously rids itself of dead skin cells, your color will only last as long as the skin it is applied to does. Many other factors can contribute to the longevity of your color. Exfoliating, shaving, and frequent showers can sometimes reduce the lifespan of your tan. You should always exfoliate BEFORE an air brush session as this allows the product to apply properly and go on evenly.

Following your air brush tan provider's directions after your session is the best way to help extend the life of your treatment. For example, wait at least 4 hours before showering and applying any other products to your skin. The first time you get a treatment, you may need multiple applications over a short period of time. Once your body has become accustomed to the color, you may limit your applications to only two per month.

Airbrush Tanning
Airbrush Tanning

How much is it going to cost?

Airbrush tans can be applied in a salon or in the convenience of your own home however the price of your treatment will not be the same at both places. If you're a shy person who prefers the privacy of their own room, a home kit may be just the thing for you. You will end up spending anywhere from $150 to $700 for your kit though.

If you decide to be carefree and go to a salon to have your tan air brushed on, you will probably be looking at spending $50 or more per trip for your sessions. Of course $50 only covers your tan, that doesn't include the moisturizers, exfoliators, and bronzers you may decide to buy while you're there. One way or the other, you will have to spend some money to get a great result without real sun.

What are the benefits and risks?

As with any beauty treatment, there are always advantages and disadvantages and this one is no exception. One of the major advantages is safety. Unlike other options, you do not have to worry about the harmful ultraviolet rays produced by the sun or tanning booths.

The active ingredient DHA is FDA approved and does nothing more than merely help change the pigment of your skin. There is still that caution you should take when using any kind of product containing chemical ingredients. Although rare, allergic reaction can occasionally occur. It is not recommended that you have an airbrush tan applied if you have previously experienced reactions from other sunless tanning products, lotions, and creams.

Remember to always apply and reapply sunscreen when going outside, even if you look tan in the mirror. Always consult with your physician if you have any questions or any problems. Be mindful of the above before you start and you should be happy with your results. If this form of tanning is a little more complicated than you'd like, you can always consider trying a self tanner. Many of these products use similar ingredients to a spray option and you can test out the results on a small hidden area of your body before you apply it all over.

Have you ever tried an airbrush tan?

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    • profile image

      Kelly Varela 

      8 years ago

      I love this new way to tan. It can look so natural. It's a nice alternative to my tanning bed. Nice hub.

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