Spray Tanning for Estheticians – NASNPRO


As Featured in NASNPRO – July 2019 Issue

UV-free tanning is a smart add-on service for estheticians who want to protect their hard work to remediate sun damaged skin.

There’s something about that glow

People seek the look of a tanned “glow” and the perception that a little sun is healthy. As our ozone layer thins and UV exposure becomes more intense, however, the sun can quickly damage the skin you and your clients have worked hard to correct. A very lucrative (if set up and performed correctly) auxiliary service for esthetics, professionally applied tanning solutions can give the look of a nice tan without the inherent dangers of skin cell damage and the risks of hyper- or hypo-pigmentation.

What is spray tanning?

Tanning solutions are all based on DHA – dihydroxyacetone as the active ingredient, a plant-based, colorless chemical derived from glycerin, that interacts with the amino acids in dead skin cells to produce a brown color change. This is a chemical event in the stratum corneum – the skin’s melanin is not involved in the “browning” effect. You might compare it somewhat to a sliced apple being exposed to the air.  Once the DHA is applied, it takes a few hours to fully develop the final color that will be achieved.  Since DHA itself is colorless, often “bronzers” or marker ingredients are added so the spray tan artist can visualize an even application. This is a case of “more is more”, so even application is the key to successful spray tanning.

How does a spray tanning service work?

The service is set up for the client to come in with clean, lightly exfoliated skin—spraying DHA on cells that will be shed in a few hours is futile. The client dons a bathing suit or single-use garments. The product is sprayed lightly all over the exposed skin using a compressed-air machine – very similar to air brush compressors used for spray-on makeup, but with bigger wells to hold more product. The technician systematically coats the skin with one or two light layers of the DHA solution, then allows the client to “air dry” for a moment. They should then put on loose clothing – a dark color is recommended so the bronzer/marker will not stain their clothing.

Is spray tanning safe?

The FDA has approved DHA for external application to the skin; however, DHA shouldn’t be inhaled or applied to areas covered by mucous membranes, including the lips, nose or areas around the eyes because the risks of doing so are unknown. Clients should be given shields for their eyes or instructed to keep them and their mouths closed and verbal cues are given as to when to breathe.

UV-Free tanning is an excellent choice for an additional revenue stream in any salon or spa. Another potential idea is to see if your state allows on-location spray tanning. If so, you might think about developing a VIP concierge spray tanning clientele.

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