Spray Tan vs Real Tan – Is Natural or Fake Best?

sun tanning

When it comes to spray tan VS natural tan, or any other kind of tan, spray tan always wins. A natural tan that is achieved with UV rays can cause wrinkles, sunspots, premature aging etc.

There is no such thing as a safe or healthy tan when UV rays are involved, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. Exposure to UVA and UVB rays is cumulative, meaning that you may not see the damaging effects from the sun now but exposure over time increases your risk of skin cancer.

These are notable things to consider especially taking into account the fact that more people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year (in the U.S.) than all other cancers combined.

Keep in mind that while tanning in the sun can be dangerous this tends to be be applicable to people who want to tan more regularly. An occasional tanning session in the sun will not have too much detrimental effect as long as you don’t stay in the sun too long especially if the UV index is higher. For more on this – what UV index is good for tanning.

Knowing this information I want to go more into details about spray tanning and how it compares with a real tan.

The Benefits of Spray Tanning

Whether you use the actual sun or a tanning bed, both consist of tanning by use of harmful UV rays, whereas spray tan uses a special mixture that is applied all over your skin. In comparison, the damage done in comparison to UVA and UVB is minimal.

What’s really great about it is that the mixture can be formulated to perfectly match your skin tone and really get your skin glowing exactly how you want it to.

Although there are studies showing that the few health benefits of UV exposure include vitamin D production and an improved mood, it can be argued that even a spray tan can boost your confidence and thus lift your spirits.

Other benefits of spray tanning are that it is a quick way to achieve a tan and that it can last for as long as 10 days.

Despite the fact that no tan can last for long due to the way tanning works, there are several ways and things that you can do to extend and prolong this period when it comes to spray tan. 

All in all, spray tanning is the healthier way to achieve a great tan that minimizes blemishes, stretch marks, cellulite, and other imperfections.

Things to Consider

The first thing to consider when it comes to spray tanning is any possible skin sensitivity. It is a must to always try out the spray tan solution, a minimum of 24 hours before, with a test patch somewhere on your skin such as your stomach or thigh.

Moreover, there is the pre spray tan care and after care, some of which are present with any kind of tanning. If you want a tan to last as long as it can, then you’re going to need to help your skin out by keeping it hydrated with moisturizer, exfoliating before tanning sessions, and so on.

Lest we forget about the staining that can come hand-in-hand with spray tan. Although the color should be able to wash out, it’s still a bit of a nuisance unless kept in mind.

Spray tanning the face is slightly trickier than the rest of your body but certain methods can be utilized to make it nice and easy.

In addition, those with fair skin normally find tanning, regardless of whether the method is fake or natural, to be a challenge. There are also numerous tips and tricks to help make spray tanning effortless as well.

Potential Risks with Spray Tan

DHA was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a cosmetic additive and was never intended to be ingested. Thus, the FDA warns that it may be unsafe for DHA to come into contact with any of our mucous membranes (nose, eyes, mouth, genitalia, etc.) which is why most salons require you to wear eye goggles at the very least.

The exact effects and health risks of DHA are not fully understood. It was originally thought that the ingredient was not absorbed through the skin at all but rather remained on the outer layer of our skin with the dead skin cells. However, it is now believed that as much as 11% could be being absorbed into the deeper layers of our skin and it is unknown what this could cause.

It is also why it is recommended to hold your breath in a spray tan booth as we talked about in our spray tanning positions article.

Spray Tan vs Real Tan – Conclusion

It is beginning to become clear that tanning is a health concern no matter the form it comes in. If any one method is better than the other, it would be spray tan.

Tanning naturally with the sun comes with UV rays that cause the skin to age, resulting in wrinkles and dark spots. Worst of all, each time you’re exposed to the sun’s rays the risk of skin cancer accumulates.

Although the health risks of spray tanning’s active ingredient, DHA, are not fully understood, it is highly unlikely to be worse than cancer.

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