How To Get An Airbrush Tan: A Beginner’s Guide

So you’ve been reading about airbrush tanning and seen how great all the celebrities look who have it done, but you’re not sure if you’re ready to do it yourself? Maybe you’re apprehensive, but we’re here to tell you there’s nothing to be nervous about! It’s a quick, painless process; let us walk you through it so you’ll know what to expect.

First off, find an airbrushing salon & make your appointment. In Denver, give us a call at 303-722-4040 to set up a time. We’re located in Washington Park, but you can arrange for us to come to your house, too!  Mobile tanning is a fun girl’s-night/bachelorette/birthday/pre-prom party activity too – get the girls (or guys) together and we can bring our mobile tanning station to your home and everyone can get quick, clean, fabulous airbrush tans without even having to leave the party!

The day before your appointment, prepare by exfoliating. The top layer of your skin is made up of mostly dead skin cells. It sounds gross, but it’s perfectly normal. Skin cells have their own life cycles. Old ones are at the very surface and when they die and flake off, the new skin cells beneath them are exposed. You don’t want the tanning solution to be applied to old, dead skin because it will flake off and your tan won’t last as long or look as even as it should! There are many special exfoliating brushes and scrubs available, but if you don’t have any, some soap and a good rub-down with a wash cloth will work just fine. You just want to be sure you scrub off that top layer of old, dying skin cells. Shaving, waxing, facials, manicure/pedicures, massages, and laser treatments should all be done before your tanning appointment. Make sure your skin is as clean as possible – don’t use any oils, perfumes, or lotions before your session as these can block the solution from absorbing into your freshly exfoliated, clean skin.

When you come in, you’ll meet with your technician and discuss your goals and how dark you want your tan to be. Our technicians are experts at this! We know which solutions will work best for YOUR skin tone to make sure it’s natural looking. Feel free to ask any questions you might have! We want you to be as comfortable as possible through the entire process. The actual tanning itself is short and sweet. Wear whatever you’re comfortable with. You will be in a private area, just you and your technician. Some people wear swim suits during their sessions, some don’t – believe me, we’ve seen it all, so don’t be shy to take it off if you want full coverage! Your technician will ask you to move and pose so that they can evenly spray your body. It feels like a cool, light mist and the entire thing will be over in roughly 15 minutes or so. The solution dries quickly, but sometimes you might notice a smudge or two on your clothing. We like to recommend that you wear loose, dark clothing if you can, but don’t panic –  the bronzer easily washes out of most fabrics!

After your tan, stay as dry as you can for at least 8 hours! Avoid showers, pools, and sweaty exercise while your tan sets. Once it dries, you’ll want to keep your skin moisturized. Apply moisturizer daily in the morning and evening to help keep your tan as long as possible. When your skin gets dry, it flakes off and will take your gorgeous color with it, so keep it smooth and hydrated! Avoid soaps and moisturizers that contain AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) as well as chlorine from pools/hot tubs whenever possible. Long hot showers and baths might also dull your tan, so keep ’em short if you can! You can also apply tan extender solutions that contain DHA – these will help your tan last even longer! We sell these as well, just ask your technician about it.

Then just sit back and enjoy your tan! If properly maintained, your spray tan will last up to 10 days – possibly even longer if you apply an extending solution! Most people are surprised by how quick and easy (and affordable!) the whole process is and how great the results are. So don’t be nervous – give it a try!

 

The sun can hurt – we can help!

Us humans look great with a tan. A little color helps us look healthier, younger, and even slimmer! Unfortunately, that color can come at a cost. I don’t mean money, I mean your health!

Sunburn is the most common health problem associated with too much sun exposure. I know what you’re thinking: “Sunburn isn’t fun, but we’ve all had it to varying degrees and we’re fine”… but it’s not just annoying and uncomfortable, sun burn is actually the result of deep cellular damage to your skin cells.  Over time, this damage becomes noticeable in other ways. It can give the skin that “leathery” look. It’s more wrinkly, flakey, and discolored that healthy skin. It is also weakened and will bruise more easily, even if it appears to be thicker.

Still not concerned about health effects from the sun? You might be surprised to learn that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer found today, and many doctors believe that limiting over-exposure to the sun can help prevent it. Too much exposure to direct sunlight can increase your chances of developing skin cancer, and certain skin cancers, such as melanoma, can also spread to other areas of the body if not treated in time, so it’s nothing to scoff at.

Staying out of direct sunlight is the best way to protect yourself, but there’s no way to completely avoid the sun! When you go outdoors, these tips will help minimize the damage:

Wear sunscreen! Be sure to look at the SPF number on your sunscreen. The larger the SPF number, the greater the amount of protection. Everyone should use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. If you have had skin cancer or pre-cancer, you should use a sunscreen with an even higher SPF. Many of the new sunscreens have SPFs of 30, 45, or even higher.

Wear sunglasses that filter UV light. Many brands make stylish shades that also offer this protection. UV Rays can damage your eyes as well as your skin.

Wear protective clothing to help shield your skin. Invest in a good hat! The top of your head is usually a tough spot to lather on the sunscreen, but your hair doesn’t cover your scalp the way a hat does.

Avoid the mid-day sun. The UV rays that damage your skin are most powerful between 10am to 3pm.

But what about getting a tan?

Many people lay out in direct sunlight for hours to get that perfect tan, but even with sunscreen on, UV rays can penetrate your skin and cause damage. Tanning beds, even though they aren’t real sunlight, carry the same risks because they use the same dangerous rays.

There’s good news, though – there are SAFE tanning products that you can use to bronze your skin without actually using the sun or tanning beds!

Airbrush tanning uses an all natural compound called DHA. DHA isn’t a dye, paint, or stain. It’s actually a non-toxic, organic compound that creates a chemical reaction with the amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin.  This reaction does not involve the underlying skin pigmentation, nor does it require exposure to ultraviolet light to initiate the change in color. DHA is approved by the FDA, and does not carry the serious risks that tanning outdoors or using a tanning bed does. It is a vegan, organic, and safe alternative. These tans last 7-10 days and are the safest option for those who desire tan skin but don’t want to risk the permanent damage that UV radiation can cause.

Science of Tanning

1221There are several ways you can get a natural tan. The most obvious is from the sun. Light from the sun reaches the earth in three different forms: visible light, infrared light, and ultraviolet light. The last type, ultraviolet light, is classified into three separate categories:
* UVA or black light, which causes tanning.
* UVB, which typically causes damage in the form of sunburn.
* UVC, which doesn’t affect us because it’s filtered out by the atmosphere before it can get to our skin.
The problems we associate with sun exposure, such as premature aging, skin cancer, sun spots, etc. are primarily caused by harmful UVB rays. Research suggests UVA might have a hand in these things as well. Most of the sun’s UV radiation at sea level is UVA rays.
UVA can be reflected, as well. Snow actually reflects roughly 90% of UV light, which is why you can get severe sun burns while skiing or snow boarding. Sand reflects up to 20% of UVB too, so at the beach, you’re getting more UV exposure than you would be getting if you were sitting in your backyard. Water also reflects UV light, although it doesn’t prevent it from penetrating the surface of the water. You can still get burned while swimming. Some surfaces can absorb these rays rather than reflect them. Certain types of glass do this, and our own melanin in our skin absorbs UV light to some degree.

Ultraviolet light in the sun stimulates the production of melanin. This pigment protects cells from damage by absorbing as much UV radiation as it can. Imagine you put a sponge on top of a piece of paper and slowly dropped beads of water onto it. The sponge would soak the water up before it can ruin the paper. That’s sort of what your melanin does to UV rays. It can become saturated, though. Eventually if you keep dropping water on it, the paper will be ruined.

It’s this protective melanin in your skin which gets darker and creates what we call a tan. Caucasians typically have the least amount of melanin in their skin on a day-to-day basis, but in many other races, there is a continuous melanin production, which causes the skin to remain pigmented and also offers more protection against UV rays.

It’s important to note that all UV rays are potentially dangerous. They can cause deep damage to your cells, which results in painful sunburn at best and fatal skin cancer at worst. It’s important to protect yourself from skin damage by wearing sunscreen when you’re outside. Avoiding direct sunlight is the best way to protect yourself. This really ruins your chance at a tan, though.

There is one more way that you can get naturally darker skin, however. That’s through DHA.  DHA is an organic compound naturally found in your own body that creates a chemical reaction within the amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin when applied directly to the exterior of your body. This reaction does not involve the underlying skin pigmentation, nor does it require exposure to ultraviolet light to initiate the change in color.  It is similar to the maillard reaction which occurs in food. It’s a natural, temporary color that looks just like a tan that occurs from melanin. The active ingredient in airbrush tanning is DHA. The color produced in an airbrush tan typically lasts 7-10 days, but it is much safer than roasting yourself in the sun or using a tanning bed.

The Evolution of Tanning

Centuries ago, having pale skin was a status symbol. Lower class workers had darker skin because they were outdoors all day, so being tan was something looked down upon. Women went to great lengths to avoid the sun! Upper class women wore hats and rarely left the house without a parasol. They also caked their faces in heavy white powder to appear more pale.

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In the 1930’s, movies began using color film, which propelled the tanning movement that had slowly began in the 20’s. Starlets were seen basking in the sun at Hollywood swimming pools, and “sun therapy” was being prescribed to cure common illnesses. Swim suits became skimpier and skimpier, and by the 1950’s, bikinis became the hottest fashion trend.

It was a complete status turn-around. Having a tan was now a symbol of wealth and leisure! People were using silver UV reflectors to get darker tans. In the 1960’s, people all over the country were using cocoa butter and baby oil as tanning lotions. The surfing lifestyle was all the rage and tans were the coolest accessories you could have!

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By the 70’s, people wanted to have tans year-round.  In 1975, the tanning booth was created to give you that “just got back from the beach” look all year long. Mattel introduced Malibu Barbie the same year. George Hamilton became the first tan Dracula in “Love At First Bite” shortly after! Sunscreen with SPF 15 came out and more people than ever could enjoy themselves in the sun without burning to a crisp. Movies like “10” and shows like “Baywatch” kept the tan craze alive and well for decades to come. Higher SPF sunscreens were invented, as well as water-proof varieties and spray-on’s. Tan enhancers such as Maxgel and Sizzle became popular with both indoor and outdoor tanners. Tanning became big business – more and more tanning salons opened, offering customers access to tanning booths.

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Eventually, we began studying and learning more about the effects of the sun. It was discovered that too much sun exposure causes serious cellular damage, and is a leading cause of skin cancer. People are now urged to use higher SPF sunscreen and avoid too much time in mid-day sun. Sunless tanning became a safer alternative to roasting at the beach all day or hopping into tanning beds which saturate you with potentially harmful UV rays. There are bronzers you can apply yourself at home and spray tan booths that will spray color at you! Sunless tanning has come a long way from the orange dye that they used to use. The most effective and natural looking sunless tan available today is airbrush tanning. A technician will apply a solution to your skin evenly and make sure you look naturally tan. It’s hard to tell the difference between an airbrush tan and a tan you get from being outdoors. Airbrush tanning solutions contain a compound called DHA which naturally stimulates your skin to produce color, but does not permeate your deep skin tissues the way UV rays do. An airbrush tan will last approximately 7-10 days. It’s FDA approved and currently the safest alternative to baking your body in the sun. It won’t cause wrinkles and leathery skin the way too much sun can, too!

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Being tan is still considered beautiful and most of the models you see in magazines and actors you catch on TV are perfectly bronzed. Tan skin hides imperfections and makes you look younger and healthier. Tanning isn’t going anywhere, but our ability to tan safely with an airbrush tan is certainly a highlight of modern life!

The Truth About Sun Exposure

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What are the dangers?

Sunburn is the most immediate danger of too much exposure to the sun. Sunburn isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s actually deep celluar damage to the skin cells and blood vessels! Over time, this damage makes the skin look leathery, discolored, wrinkly, and flakey. This skin is weakened and will bruise more easily, even though it appears to be thicker.

The biggest danger, however, is skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer found today, and many doctors believe that limiting over-exposure to the sun can help prevent it. Certain skin cancers, such as melanoma, can also spread to other areas of the body if not treated in time.

What are the benefits?

Your body absorbs vitamin D from the sun. This used to be an important reason to catch some rays, but today many foods are manufactured to be fortified with Vitamin D. You get more Vitamin D through your food these days than ever before, so it’s not quite as necessary to get it from the sun anymore.

Being outdoors is makes people feel good and getting exercise is healthy, but you should still take steps to protect yourself from the damaging effects of the sun while you’re outside enjoying yourself.

How can I avoid damage from the sun?

Staying out of direct sunlight is the best way to protect yourself, but unless you’re a vampire, you’re going to need to go outdoors! So when you do, these tips will help minimize the damage:

Wear sunscreen! Always. Every day. Even in winter. Be sure to look at the SPF number on your sunscreen. The larger the SPF number, the greater the amount of protection. Everyone should use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. If you have had  skin cancer or precancer, you should use a sunscreen with an even higher SPF. Many of the new sunscreens have SPFs of 30, 45, or even higher.

Wear sunglasses that filter UV light. Many brands make stylish shades that also offer this protection.

Wear protective clothing, including brimmed hats, to help sheild your skin.

Avoid the mid-day sun. The UV rays that damage your skin are most powerful between 10am to 3pm.

What about getting a tan?

Many people like the way a suntan makes them look. And indeed, a tan can make you look younger, healthier, and reduce the appearance of cellulite and age spots. But is vanity worth the risk of skin cancer? No, it certainly isn’t! Many women lay out in direct sunlight for hours to get that perfect tan, but even with sunscreen on, UV rays can penetrate your skin and cause damage. Tanning beds, even though they aren’t real sunlight, carry the same risks.

There’s good news, though – there are many tanning products that you can use to bronze your skin without actually using the sun or tanning beds!

Airbrush tanning uses an all natural compound called DHA. DHA isn’t a dye, paint, or stain. It’s actually a non-toxic, organic compound that creates a chemical reaction with the amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin.  This reaction does not involve the underlying skin pigmentation, nor does it require exposure to ultraviolet light to initiate the change in color. DHA is approved by the FDA, and does not carry the serious risks that tanning outdoors or using a tanning bed does.