Fun Without the Sun: Pros and Cons of Spray Tans

| Well Being

If you prefer your skin to have a hint of color to it, getting your skin to that hue can be a difficult and even dangerous process. The sun's harmful UV rays are nothing to take lightly, but slathering on all that sunscreen every day prevents you from getting the color you want. For that reason, many people turn to spray tans to get the results they want without exposing their skin to harmful UV rays. If you're contemplating exploring the spray tan world, you'll need to know the pros and cons to this sunless alternative.

spray tan


It's sunless. Obviously, you don't need to bother with the sun or tanning beds to get a spray tan. That means cutting down on your risk for skin cancer! You can still get that fabulous tan without baking in the sun all day long. All tanning products use the chemical dihydroxyacetone (DHA) to react with the epidermis layer of skin to produce a darker color.

It's safe — for the most part. DHA is approved by the FDA for tanning products. That being said, the FDA also recommends that you avoid breathing in spray tan fumes, and it's also a good idea to keep them away from your eyes and nose as well. DHA also does not contain any sun protection, so you'll still have to use sunscreen to protect yourself from UV rays.

It's quick. Getting a spray tan is much faster than committing to the countless hours under the sun that it takes to become a crispy golden brown. Plus, the spray itself dries faster than self-tanner lotions, gels or mousses.

It's easy. All you have to do is stand in a booth in front of a few nozzles or jets that spray you with the fine mist, or a professional can use an airbrush or airgun to apply the tan. It's much less work than applying a self tanner, and you're likely going to see better results.

You get even coverage. While we're on the subject, you'll get better coverage with a spray tan than with a self tan or a sunburn. Everyone has body parts that burn more easily than others, therefore resulting in an uneven tan. And with a self tanner mousse or gel it can be difficult to reach places like the middle of your back. But with a spray tan, you walk away with a clean, even glow.

tan legs pool


It's expensive. Spray tans can cost anywhere from $25 - $50 (or more) per session. That's a much higher cost per tan than for self tanners, many of which cost under $20 per bottle.

It fades quickly. Most spray tans last anywhere from three to seven days, or however long it takes your body to shed dead skin cells, which is a major bummer when you think about the pricing.

>> Read more: Let It Glow: Sunless Tanners

It's a bit inconvenient. Scheduling with a professional or salon once or twice a week can get a bit hectic, and making time to drive to the salon can get inconvenient. Busy moms barely have time to use the restroom, let alone make time for a spray tan appointment! Plus, if you're in a rush to get home or to the next errand (which most likely you are), waiting around for the mist to dry is not an option.

It's tricky. While a good spray tan can be applied evenly, until you find a trusted professional or salon, it's tricky to find the right balance. You have to learn all the tricks of the trade to avoid spray tan stains on your clothing. Plus, who wants to walk out of a spray tan salon with orange hands?

While it may take some time to work out all the kinks, if you must be tan, spray tans are much better alternatives to tanning beds or sitting out in the sun. Whether you prefer the less expensive option of a self tanner is up to you!