Does Spray Tan Cover Stretch Marks?

stretch marks tanning

Stretch marks tend to be a major source of annoyance and self-doubt for a majority of people. The mere appearance of stretch marks can hamper the person’s overall personality and confidence. So, it’s no surprise people want to try to cover stretch marks. But does spray tan cover stretch marks? Yes, a spray tan is emerging as a popular way to cover up the marks.

However, there are plenty of factors that can play a pivotal role in determining the effectiveness of the procedure.  

Dive right in to learn more about how spray tans can prove helpful in covering stretch marks.    

What Are Stretch Marks?

Before you delve further to learn about spray tan and how it covers marks, it is essential to know what stretch marks are. They are long and narrow lines that appear on skin that suddenly get stretched. A stretch mark is a representation that skin has experienced damage in the deeper layers as well as connective tissues.

They are a common occurrence among men as well as women. Stretch marks can be a result of plenty of reasons, ranging from sudden weight changes to pregnancy and even genetics.

While stretch marks can most commonly appear on the stomach, hips, thighs, arms, and lower back, they can occur on almost every body part.

They appear initially as thin, pink skin accompanied by itching. Over time, it may develop into raised streaks of red, pink, purple, and even brown color. Eventually, they fade to a light silver color and become much less noticeable.   

Since stretch marks are scars, they are permanent. You cannot remove them permanently, although their appearance may fade away as time passes. They are not harmful to the person but may affect self-image.

Does Fake Tan Cover Up Stretch Marks?

The most common question that pops in the head of anyone with marks or scars is will a spray tan cover stretch marks. A fake tan is usually a translucent or transparent color that creates a sheer wash of color on top of your skin. It is not completely opaque like the over-the-counter products such as makeup foundations. This means fake tan can help cover up the stretch marks though it might not be as effective as something like makeup.

Makeup like various foundations and concealers can be used to cover up stretch marks depending on their opacity and thickness. They can help hide any marks, imperfections and even help fill up large pores or lines. Due to the dense pigmentation used in these thick formulas, these products stay on the skin, similar to a coat of paint on the wall.

But spray tan works differently. It is more like a sheer wash of color that goes on your entire skin. It aims to change the actual color of your skin, including the dead skin cells on the stretch marks. When the tanning solution is washed away from your skin, it leaves the tinted skin behind.

This is a transparent tint that becomes part of your skin. Because of this, your natural skin will always show through the tan since your skin surface is visible. The results of a tan are not like a layer of paint over your skin, but merely a sheer color tint applied all over. 

When it comes to scarred skin, it might not be able to absorb the tanning solution evenly. Some parts might not absorb it at all. Due to this, the area may not develop a fake brown tan. The effect varies on a series of factors, like the depth of the scar, the thickness, color, amount of damage, and even how evenly it is healing. Your skin type and pigmentation level might also affect the spray tan.

A similar situation holds true for stretch marks. When the stretch marks age with the passage of time, they may turn white or silver and are able to absorb more solution during the tanning process.

The older stretch marks may be more absorptive to the solution and change color, while the new marks might not. According to Science Direct, it entirely depends on your skin color and how old the marks are. 

It’s also important to know if you are considering a spray tan while you are pregnant to cover up stretch marks – Generally speaking getting a spray tan while pregnant is safe for most women, for more on this read our article – can you get a spray tan while pregnant.

What Does a Spray Tan Look Like on Stretch Marks?

Now you know that spray tan can work on stretch marks, you must be wondering how the spray tan will look on your stretch marks. Spray tanners tend to stick more to the dry areas of the body, like elbows and knees.

The overall tint the spray tan adds is usually the same color, despite how dark your skin actually is, and boosts the natural color by a few shades. A spray tan not only makes your skin look darker but also smoother and evenly toned.

Due to this, when you get a spray tan, the stretch marks will get darker, much like the rest of your skin. They might still be a little obvious, but they will certainly be darker than before.

Using the right spray tan can only help blend the stretch marks with the rest of your skin to reduce the contrasts between them. In case of stretch marks that are small, faint, or don’t contrast with the natural skin color, they might even be completely covered with a spray tan.   

What Happens When You Tan with Stretch Marks?

Does tanning hide stretch marks – tanning in the sun instead of fake tanning. Well when you tan with stretch marks present on your body, the results can be quite different. It is essential to note here that stretch marks don’t act like normal skin. This is due to the lack of the pigments you usually find in healthy skin.

Due to the lack of pigmentation, stretch marks might be trickier to hide. These dark pigments produced by the skin offer protection from UV rays. The pigment cells are vital in the case of natural tanning. When there are no pigment cells, the tan or the dark color might not appear.

Since the pigment cells are not present in the stretch marks, the UV rays might not affect them as they do for normal, healthy skin. The natural tan might work for the rest of your body; however, the stretch marks might continue to look the same.

Can Airbrush Tan Help with Stretch Marks?

But does an airbrush tan cover stretch marks? It can because airbrush tanning works slightly differently than spray tanning and also from natural tanning since they don’t use pigment cells to offer a tan. On the contrary, the dihydroxyacetone or DHA particles present in a spray tan interacts only with the outer layer of the skin to give you the look of a tan.

Spray tans do not have to partner with the pigment cells, and hence they can work better on stretch marks. The marks can even absorb some of the tanning sprays to show an even color. Due to this, spray tans tend to work better for stretch marks than natural tanning or any other solutions.   

How to Prepare Your Stretch Marks for Spray Tan?

To get desired results from a spray tan, it is essential to prepare your skin as well as the stretch marks. You must follow these steps before you begin the tanning procedure to reduce the appearance of stretch marks:


The first step is to exfoliate the entire body or the desired area where you want to get the spray tan done. Your body sheds skin daily, and it can often lead to the build-up of dead skin cells. The build-up can affect your spray tan and lead to darker patches during the process.

You must exfoliate the stretch marks very gently to remove the excess dead skin cells. It will ensure the spray tan process goes smoothly and brings an even and naturally blended tan to your stretch marks. For more on exfoliating – how to exfoliate before a spray tan.

Moisture Well:

Stretch marks and the skin around them can be extremely dry. It is also why the area turns a shade darker than the rest of the body. The process of moisturizing will ensure your skin has more moisture to absorb the color and blend in with your skin. Make sure you apply a good lotion/moisturizer to hold the spray tan better both before and after a spray tan.

Avoid Using Products:

When you use any products like lotion, cream, or even deodorant to the skin, it may act as a barrier to the tan and cause patches or streaks. Therefore, it is wise to avoid using any products on the day of the spray tan. It will help you get an even look and cover up stretch marks.   

Related Questions:

How Do You Cover up Stretch Marks?

There are numerous ways to cover stretch marks. While you can go with natural methods like exfoliating and nourishing the skin to reduce its appearance, you can also go for permanent solutions like medical procedures, such as chemical peels, lasers, and dermabrasion.

However, a spray tan can be an effective way to cover up the stretch marks without investing much time, effort, and money.

Can You Fake Tan Over Scars?

It is completely fine to use spray tan or self-tan over the scars, provided they have completely healed and are not tender. Ideally, a scar can take around a year or more to heal completely and change the color as well as texture, according to Research Gate. Once the scar is healed, you can fake tan over it.       

Also remember to check out our article on the best self tanners to cover stretch marks based on our extensive research.

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