In this guide, we take a look at options for tanning safely, including spray tanning treatments. We cover everything you need to know about how to prepare for a spray tan and how to maintain your sun-kissed glow.

Options of Tanning Treatments

When it comes to sun-free (and sunbed-free) tanning, you can do it yourself at home, but this is not recommended. Cheaper tanning products can leave you with a streaky finish and it will be very difficult to achieve an even full-body tan using a spray, cream or liquid (even if you have help). In addition, you risk staining your clothing, bedding and furniture, as well as ending up with those dreaded orange hands! It will also be very difficult to judge the shade.

When choosing a professional tanning treatment, you can go to a salon for a spray tan. Alternatively, you can enjoy your spray tan treatment in a pampering spa setting. A spa features other beauty treatments and leisure facilities, so you can add your tanning treatment on to a spa package or just book it as a standalone treatment. The spa therapist will use premium products, and some treatments will feature a full-body exfoliation as an optional add-on.

Spas Which Offer Tanning Treatments

You can find spray tanning treatments on offer at selected spas. Each spa will offer its own tailored tanning treatments using one of a range of luxury professional spa tanning products, such as:

- Sienna X

- Fake Bake

- Kissed by Mii 

- St Tropez

A couple of our favourites spas for tanning are:

- Lythe Hill Hotel & Spa in Haslemere offers a One Night Girls Night in Spa Break that features a 25-minute Sienna X spray tan as part of a menu of treatment options.

- Bedford Lodge Hotel and Spa in Newmarket offers a Kissed by Mii tanning treatment including a full-body scrub, which you could add on separately to one of their spa packages.

Spray Tanning Treatment

In this section, we set out all the basic spray tan information you need to know. We take you through preparing for your tanning treatment, how these treatments work, and aftercare.

How to prepare for a spray tan

The results of your spray tan will be largely determined by how you prepare your skin ahead of time. You will achieve the most even, i.e. streak-free, results if you exfoliate and thoroughly moisturise your body daily for a few days leading up to your tan. 

When it comes to hair removal, waxing should be done no less than 48 hours ahead of your treatment so that there is no waxy residue on your skin. If you opt to shave instead, be sure to douse your legs with cold water afterwards. This closes the pores and reduces the risk of unsightly blotches when the tanning liquid is applied. 

The day of your spray tan

On the day of your spray tan treatment, it is important that your skin is moisturiser-free (as well as deodorant-free), so that there is no barrier between the tanning product and your skin. Likewise, if you are having your face treated, it is important to remove all make-up, including foundation. For the treatment, you will be required to get fully undressed and to remove all jewellery. You should be provided with disposable paper underwear (that you get to wear home) and something to protect your hair and the soles of your feet. 

What to wear to your spray tan appointment: It’s best to wear loose dark clothing and underwear to your tanning treatment. Putting tight clothing on straight after your tan can cause blotches and tan lines. Flip-flops are a good idea, as, again, fitted shoes may cause the tan to become uneven.

Choosing a spray tan shade: When you go for a spray tan, you will have a choice over the shade. If you’re new to tanning, don’t be afraid to ask the therapist’s advice. If in doubt, opt for a lighter shade for a natural ‘sun-kissed’ look. You may want to go a bit darker for a special occasion or to prolong a holiday tan. However, the shade you choose should be no more than two shades darker than your natural skin tone.

What should you expect during the treatment? The treatment will be carried out in either a treatment room or in a spray tanning tent. For example, Ardencote in Warwickshire offers a Fake Bake spray tanning treatment with optional exfoliation, which takes place in one of their luxury treatment rooms, while The Vale Resort in South Wales offers a Sienna X treatment carried out in a spray tanning tent. 

The treatment will take between 10 and 30 minutes (longer if an exfoliation is included). We should also mention that the spray liquid will be cold! It is applied with a spray gun to ensure even all-over application. The therapist will advise you what to do and how to stand. They will probably apply a couple of coats, but this will vary. You can get dressed as soon as it’s fully dry, which should only take a few minutes.

It’s worth noting the tan will take some time to develop. The tanning liquid contains dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which interacts with your skin to trigger the tanning effect. If you’re having the treatment for a special occasion, it’s best to book your appointment for a day or two before the event.

Can you have a spray tan when pregnant? You should not get a spray tan treatment during the first three months of pregnancy. Beyond this, it should be fine. DHA is non-toxic and is not absorbed by the skin. However, there are questions over the effects of inhaling the spray, so you may want to err on the safe side. Always tell the therapist that you are pregnant. 

We always advise checking with your doctor before getting any type of beauty or spa treatment. Read more about spas and pregnancy in our dedicated guides.

How to maintain a spray tan: aftercare 

To keep your spray tan looking its best for as long as possible, here are a few aftercare FAQs:

When can you shower after a spray tan? It is advised to wait at least six to eight hours before showering. This goes for working out, too (so the sweat doesn’t cause streaks).

Can you go swimming with a spray tan? Yes. However, again, it’s best avoided for at least six to eight hours after your treatment. Overall, the less time you are exposed to water, the longer your spray tan will last.

What is the best way to remove a spray tan? A spray tan will naturally fade after about a week as your skin cells shed and renew. If you want or need to remove it earlier, be aware that it will not wash off using just soap and water. Instead, you should use an exfoliant or an exfoliating mitt to gently return your skin to its natural colour.   

Does spray tanning offer sun protection? No. So, it is important that you continue to use products with a high SPF to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

If you have any further questions about spa tanning treatments, contact the SpaSeekers’ team today.

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