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Spray Tans Versus Sun Beds

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After our surprisingly warm summer this year many of us may not need extra tan just yet but as we begin to fade its important to know the pros and cons of sunbeds vs spray tans before deciding which tanning method is for you. A 10-15 minute spray tan or an even quicker snooze under LED light? As a sunbed virgin and a spray tan lover I will be talking mostly about spray tans here.


No skin preparation is needed. Some people use an accelerator cream beforehand, however this is not essential.
Exposure to UV light results in our bodies producing more Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium in our bodies.
Sunbeds are priced at approximately €1 per minute. The customer can vary the number of minutes spent on the sunbed to suit the amount of time/money they are willing to spend on their tan. Sunbeds have been known to improve many skin conditions such as psoriasis.
This tan will fade exactly like a holiday tan would.
Sunbeds, however, are linked with skin cancer. The sun ages our skin. Sunbed users are more likely to age faster than spray tanners. Age spots/rashes/blisters are all risks of using sunbeds. Moles need to be closely monitored while using sunbeds also.
Eyes need to be carefully protected to ensure risk of cataracts and corneas are reduced. Goggles should be worn.

Spray tans

Spray tan formulas contain ingredients which nourish the skin.
The treatment only takes 5 to 15 minutes. You can not be spray tanned over sun burned skin. It might sound like a great idea to attempt to correct the colour of your lobster like skin (we have all been there). However, once the sunburn starts to peel your tan will look terribly patchy. Not the look to go for!
A patch test may be required which means you won’t be able to go ahead with your treatment for at least 24 hours after your patch test.
A spray tan will last about one week give or take. Remember to exfoliate your skin beforehand to lift any dead skin cells and to prevent tan from wearing away fast. Moisturise daily to prolong the life of the tan. Pat dry after a shower as opposed to rubbing the towel off your skin.
Spray tans can’t be removed fully with one body scrub. For this reason, make sure to have somebody experienced apply your tan before a special occasion. Tans will fade with the skins natural regeneration along with the help of exfoliation and moisturising.

Do I need to use sun protection after spray tanning?

Absolutely! Most spray tan formulas will not include SPF and even if they did it would wear off after a couple of hours just like your typical SPF, therefore it is vital to keep topped up with SPF on top of your spray tan. Make sure your skin is free of SPF and all other potions, lotions, and perfumes before your spray tan appointment to ensure your tan is as even as possible.

Stripping off

The part we all hate is stripping off. ‘Oh take no notice of my belly I’ve just eaten a takeaway and I’m all swollen!’ or ‘Excuse my cellulite’. I assure you as a spray tanner we take no notice of your shape and size we just keep concentrating on making sure your tan is being applied evenly. The horrible vulnerable feeling you get will be so worth it when your tan develops and you instantly feel thinner and more toned! Your therapist should offer you a cap to protect your hair and disposable underwear to save you from getting tan on your own and to ensure tan lines are kept to a minimum.

Why did my tan fade so fast?

Swimming, harsh exfoliators, forgetting to moisturise daily, the steam room, a sauna, and long frequent showers are all common culprits of tans not lasting as well as they should.

Can I add more tan to my spray tan?

As the days go on and your spray tan begins to fade or wear off you can of course add false tans to your spray tan to even it out again. I would personally only do this if I had reason to do so. My preference would be to exfoliate the spray tan until it is 100% removed and then start on a perfectly good base rather then a patchy one!

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