Your spray tan needs to be shown off, and one of the best ways to do that is to spend some time next to the pool or at the beach!
Having a spray tan done is a quick and safe way to tan your skin, without needing ages in the sun, possibly damaging your skin, but don’t be so quick to assume that a spray tan helps to protect your skin after it has developed.
Does spray tan help prevent sunburn? A spray tan will not help prevent sunburn, as it does not contain any SPF to prevent UV rays from burning your skin. Spray tans are designed to darken your skin without UV exposure, but they are not designed to protect your skin further than that.
Your skin deserves to be protected from harmful UV rays, especially when you do not need to build up a tan, having a spray tan done already. Read on to find out why spray tans do not help prevent sunburn, and how you can protect your skin when you have had a spray tan done.
Understanding How Spray Tans Work
Spray tans help to give your skin a dark, bronzed tan, without you needing to spend any time in the sun. It is a quicker way to develop a tan, and it also saves you from causing possible damage to your skin through UV exposure.
Understanding how spray tans work will help you better understand why they do not offer any protection from sunburns, and why you need extra help from sunscreens.
The main active ingredient in spray tan products is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA is a type of sugar that reacts with the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. Over a few hours, this reaction causes the top layer of your skin to turn a darker color, which is where the tan comes from.
During a spray tan, a spray tan technician will apply the formula using a spray gun to your skin, covering your skin evenly all over to develop a streak-free, natural-looking tan.
The spray tan technician will also work with you to find the shade that suits your skin type best, and the best formula to care for your skin too. Spray tans can contain a bronzer, which will give your skin an instant bronzed glow to enjoy before the actual tan develops, and this bronzer washes away during your first shower.
Why Spray Tans Do Not Prevent Sunburn
The simple reason why spray tans do not prevent sunburn is that they do not contain any or enough SPF to prevent UV rays from burning and damaging your skin.
Spray tan formulas often include nourishing ingredients that help to keep your skin hydrated, but they most often do not contain SPF. If there is any SPF found in a spray tan, it is often a very low factor and is not high enough to help prevent UV ray damage.
There is the belief that having a tan offers your skin protection from UV rays, and while there is some truth to this, a tan developed from the sun is not the same as a tan developed from a spray tan, so there is no added protection to your skin just because it is now a darker color.
You are still very at risk of being sunburned when you have a spray tan, and you do have to keep this in mind when stepping out into the sun after you have had a fresh spray tan done.
How To Protect Skin From Sunburn With A Spray Tan
As spray tans do not protect your skin from sunburn, you will need to do it yourself, to help protect both your skin and your gorgeous new tan!
Here are the best ways to prevent sunburn and damage done from UV rays:
The best way to protect your skin from sunburn is to wear sunscreen with sufficient SPF. To prevent a tan and sunburn, and possible damage from the sun, you should opt for the highest factor sunscreen, such as an SPF 50.
It is important to remember to apply sunscreen to your skin every time you go out into the sun, as even just a few minutes can lead to sunburn.
You could also look at including a daily moisturizer with SPF in your skincare, just for that added protection on the days that you are not planning on spending much time in the sun.
Wear Protective Clothing
The right protective clothing can really help protect your skin and your spray tan from damage done by the sun.
Clothes that cover your arms and legs, which are made from thick enough fabric to allow UV rays through, can offer added protection, and wearing a wide-brimmed hat will offer protection to your head, neck, and face.
Time Your Exposure
The UV rays from the sun are more powerful at certain times of the day, so it is best to avoid the sun during the hours when it is at its peak, to reduce your chance of sunburn.
Generally, the sun is at its strongest between 11 am and 3 pm, but this can vary depending on where you live and the time of the year. You can always check the UV index for the day to see when it is best to stay out of the sun.
Can I Apply Sunscreen Over A Spray Tan?
It is perfectly fine to apply sunscreen over a spray tan, you just need to make sure you are choosing the right sunscreen to use.
It is best to avoid sunscreens that contain oil or alcohol, or aerosol sunscreens. These can all cause your spray tan to fade in patches and might cause streaks.
Opt for oil-free, alcohol-free sunscreen lotions with an SPF 30 or higher. These will be fine to use over a spray tan and will give much-needed protection from the sun.
Your spray tan technician will likely advise you to wear sunscreen after your appointment, and they might have recommendations for the best type to wear.
How Does A Sunburn Affect A Spray Tan?
A sunburn is not only bad for your skin, but it is bad for your spray tan as well. When your skin is exposed to UV rays, and especially when it burns in the sun, it dries out quite quickly, and this can lead to peeling.
Spray tans need hydrated skin to be long-lasting and to appear radiant. When your skin dries from exposure to UV rays, the spray tan will begin to fade quicker, and you will likely be left with patches and streaks.
If your skin starts peeling after it has been burned, then there is a good chance that it will remove quite a bit of your spray tan. The spray tan is held on the top layer of your skin, specifically the dead skin cells, so when these peel away, so does the spray tan.
Developing a darker tan on top of your spray tan could also cause the spray tan to appear uneven and unnatural. It is best to just offer your skin and your spray tan as much protection as you can with added sunscreen whenever you step into the sun.
Does Spray Tan Help Prevent Sunburn?
A spray tan will not prevent sunburn, as it does not contain any or enough SPF to give your skin the protection it needs against UV rays.
You need to take care to protect your skin and your spray tan when out in the sun, and the best way to do this is to apply high factor sunscreen to your skin, but just make sure that the sunscreen you use is oil-free and alcohol-free.
The beauty of a spray tan is that you do not need to sit in the sun and cause damage to your skin in order to enjoy a golden glow, so do not then invalidate this by not protecting your spray tanned skin with sunscreen when out in the sun and ending up with a sunburn anyways!
Does self-tanner protect you from sunburn?
Self-tanners, like spray tans, do not usually offer enough protection against UV rays, and you will need to apply sunscreen to your skin when going out into the sun.
Some self-tanners might contain some SPF, but this would not be enough to last the duration of the tan, and it would not be strong enough to fully protect your skin from sunburn.
Can you get a real tan with a fake tan on?
You can still tan with fake tan on, but the tan you develop might not be very even, as it could affect the appearance of the fake tan and cause patches and streaks. And because you can tan with a fake tan on, you can also burn too.
How long does a spray tan last?
A spray tan will last for between 7-10 days, but this depends on the coverage you have requested and how dark the tan color is.