Whenever you get back from a vacation, the first thing family and friends usually comment on is your great tan, or lack thereof. Tanning has been popular since the early 20th century, but the health risks associated with the sun's UV rays have made maintaining an even tan -- much less any kind of tan -- difficult, especially for those who live in cold and rainy climates.
Enter indoor tanning salons, which became a popular trend in the '80s. Now, indoor tanning is a $3 billion-a-year industry in the United States alone.
Since the year 2000, sunless spray tanning has taken the tanning world by storm. It has provided men with a way to get and maintain a healthy-looking, even tan without being exposed to the sun's rays. What is most impressive is that, unlike previous sunless tanning methods, the effects of spray tanning actually look good.
What is spray tanning?
Spray tanning works by applying a special mist to the body. This mist is sprayed onto the body in a booth, which you can now find at most higher-end tanning salons and spas. The mist emitted contains dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is a chemical that reacts with dead skin cells by cosmetically dyeing them brown. So after spray tanning, the skin takes on a golden brown colour that usually looks like a natural tan.
Depending on the booth used, the mist will either be water or oil based; men with sensitive skin should opt for a water base. Also, some salons offer different types of mists, allowing you to choose the level of darkening. If you are very fair-skinned, keep in mind that going too dark will look fake and awkward, no matter the quality of the product.
Will it give me a good tan?
The mist in spray tanning temporarily makes your skin golden brown, not orange. The chemical reaction physically changes your skin colour, so there's no need to worry about smear lines; besides, the products on the market have been well-tested in order to make sure they provide a colour that looks exactly like a natural tan (or as close as it's going to get). Even fair-skinned guys who usually turn pink rather than brown while tanning will benefit from a bronze colour by getting a spray tan.
How long does it last?
Mystic Tan, one of the most popular brands of spray tanning booths, states that once an optimal colour is achieved, it can be maintained by tanning every five days. Fantasy Tan, a competitor, states that their tans will last up to 10 days. As you'll discover by reading on, there are certain measures you can take (before and after your spray tanning session) to ensure that your tan lasts as long as possible.
Here's a mini-lesson in dermatology: The top layer of your skin naturally sheds in order to give way to newer skin. Because that top layer of skin is the part that's dyed by the DHA, the tan wears off once the top layer of dead skin peels off. So, to extend the effects of the spray tan, you must use moisturizer (you know, that lotion your woman swears by) to keep the top layer from shedding as quickly. Basically, if you moisturize, you should be able to maintain an optimal tan for about five days.
There are many moisturizers on the market, by every cosmetic producer in the world. You can't walk into a pharmacy or department store without finding a full rack of the stuff so go out and get that
Tan that you deserve