How to Make Your Spray On Tan Last Longer

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A spray-on tan has none of the dangers of a tanning bed.
A spray-on tan has none of the dangers of a tanning bed. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Getting a spray-on tan is a safe alternative to lying in a tanning bed or sitting outside in the sun. However, a spray-on tan doesn't last as long as a real tan. A few preparations and precautions will help you extend the life of your new tan.

Prepare for your tanning session. Exfoliate your skin gently from head to toe so the tanning spray won't streak or discolor around elbows, knees and ankles. Dry skin benefits the most from exfoliation before spray tanning. Also shave beforehand, and don't apply deodorants or perfumes -- they can keep the tanning spray from penetrating your skin.

Wear loose clothing to your tanning session. Tight clothes such as jeans can remove the spray tan through friction.

Follow all the instructions the technician gives you. Understand what you need to do in the spraying booth and when before the process begins.

Blot yourself dry after your spray-on tanning session so leftover spray doesn't run into streaks. Don't rub.

Stay dry for four to six hours after your tanning session. That means no swimming, bathing or showering. Do nothing that will cause you to perspire. Moisture could cause streaks or even interrupt the color changing process of the tanning spray. Also avoid hot tubs for an extended period. Chlorine can bleach your tan.

Pat yourself lightly with a towel after you do shower. Apply a light moisturizer so your skin doesn't dry out. Stay away from heavy lotions.

Exfoliate gently with a glove four days after your tanning session. This will help your tan fade more evenly. You also can use a gradual tanning product to help extend your tan for a few more days. When your tan begins to fade significantly, soak in a bath, then rub yourself down with a towel so the tanning flakes fall off.

Tips & Warnings

  • Unless you want to be paying $25-$30 every couple of days for a spray on tan, then follow the instructions above to save you money. By following the above instructions you can make your spray on tan last 100 times longer.

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