Side Effects of Spray Tanning

by Vanessa Day

spray tan side effects

When you see a girl with a flawless tan, it’s only natural to wonder how she accomplished it. Then her hand flutters up and a flash of her fingers reveals her secret. That orangey-hue on her palms is the remnant of spray tanning gone slightly awry. While spray tans offer a number of benefits over traditional sun bathing, including impressive results, orange palms are just one of the possible side effects of spray tanning.

Spray Tanning Has An Upside

When you compare spending twenty minutes laying out in the sun to ten minutes standing in a booth getting sprayed with a chemical substance, you would probably prefer the former. But health wise, the booth is the safer option. Spray on tans have become a way for people to get that sun-kissed glow without the risks of UV rays and sun damage. They are perfect for getting a little color before a trip or a special event. Since the main ingredient, dihydroxyacetone or DHA, reacts with the keratin protein on the top layer of skin, the results are temporary and the chemical is never absorbed into the skin. This is why spray tans fade after a few days, because the darkened skin is naturally sloughed off. This is great compared to the alternative of tanning beds and natural sun, because the damage effects your skin long after you’ve been exposed to the harsh rays.

Spray Tanning Side Effects

While spray tanning is a safe and effective way to get a golden tan, there are some potential side effects that can occur. The most common side effect of spray tanning is skin discoloration. The effects of the DHA chemical rely on skin tone and condition. Depending on the individual, skin may appear deep brown, yellow or orange after getting a spray tan. People with dry skin tend to form darker blotches on knees, elbows, toes and fingers. Light skin tones tend to yield a yellowish-orange hue, but this will depend on the person because not everyone experiences this side effect.

Spray tans have been praised for delivering an even application to all parts of the body, but the mist has been known to cause streaking on the skin. Whether this is due to clogged hoses and nozzles or how the solution is applied, streaky skin is not as flattering as an even coat of color. Usually this side effect can be avoided by using instant bronzers, which show exactly where the solution is sprayed. Spray tanning booths should apply the solution at least six to ten inches away from the skin in an up and down motion. Zig zag and circular applications tend to create more streaking.

The DHA chemical found in most spray tanning products has been known to cause allergic reactions in some people. If you have this particular allergy, make sure you check with a salon to see if they have any products that do not contain DHA. The chemical can also cause contact dermatitis, which is the agitation and drying of the skin. Since DHA is a sugar-based preservative, it can agitate skin, often resulting in itchy rashes. While DHA has been approved for external use, it is unclear what can happen if it is absorbed into the body via lips and eyes, so people are advised to wear protective goggles and keep their mouths closed when spray tanning. If DHA is inhaled, it can be costly to a person’s lungs, especially someone with asthma.

Another possible side effect of spray tanning is increased darkening of the skin, which tends to happen when women and men go out into the sun immediately after spraying their skin with the solution. Spray tanning formulas do not contain any UV protection, and with the active DHA present on skin, the sun can darken pigment even more, causing increased damage. This is easily avoided by applying sun screen everyday, because a spray tan provides no real protection.

Finally, spray tanning can stain clothes, hands and hair. Make sure you wear clothes that can be thrown away if stained or that are lose fitting, and do not put them on until about 20 minutes after stepping out of the booth. Wash your hands vigorously with soap and water after spray tanning; this will help you avoid those unsightly orange palms. Make sure you wear a hair net during the process, so that strands avoid the chance of discoloration.

Is Spray Tanning Worth the Risk?

For many people, especially ones with fair skin, spray tanning is the best way to get a healthy glow. And when compared to stepping out into the harsh rays of the sun, it is definitely the safer option. However, it’s important to do your research and make sure that you will not have any adverse reactions to the solution. It is important to remember that spray tanning is temporary and requires frequent reapplication to maintain the color you want. This can end up costing a lot of money. Also, if you are concerned at all about how your skin with react to the DHA chemical, it is best to consult a trained dermatologist who can provide you with more information about healthy skin maintenance.

If you think spray tanning is the best option for you, then make sure you visit a quality salon with knowledgeable professionals and quality equipment. And try to avoid the orange palms as much as you can.

For more information on tanning or the treatment of sun damaged skin, you can schedule a free consultation with a licensed skin care specialist near you. Our customer service liaisons are standing by!

Related Articles

American Laser Centers Gift Cards from HSP
Anal Bleaching: Strange But True Trend
Best Face Forward?: The Side Effects of Daily Makeup Use
The Bronze and the Pale: Why Some Skin Doesn't Tan
The Buzz About Bee Venom: A New Anti-Aging Solution?
Can Beards Protect the Face from Sun Damage?
Can Drinking Coffee Affect Your Skin Health?
Can Sleeping in Makeup Damage Skin?
Carboxytherapy Skin Treatments
Causes of Psoriasis
Chicago Bans Minors from Tanning Booths
Chocolate Facials Show Sweets Can Be Good For Skin
Custom Skin Care Based On Your DNA?
Differences Between Men's Skin and Women's Skin
Fighting The Wicked Winter Itch
5 Common Household Products that Can Harm Your Skin
8 Hangover Skin Recovery Tips
5 Skin-Boosting Uses for Pumpkin
5 Tips for Wintertime Sun Protection
5 Unconventional Tips to Help Psoriasis
The 411 on 3-1-1: Cosmetic Tips for the Air Traveler
Growing Long and Healthy Nails
How Vitamin D Effects Skin Pigmentation
Made Up: The Truth About Make-Up Products & Marketing Buzz Words
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month
Morgan Spurlock’s 'Mansome' Explores the World of Male Grooming
The Myth of Base Tanning
Natural Skincare & Makeup
New Studies Show Caffeine Lowers Skin Cancer Risk
New Sunscreen Regulations Introduced by FDA
November = National Healthy Skin Month
The Oil Cleansing Method: A Skincare Trend Examined
Permanent Makeup: Benefits and Options
pH Balance: Understanding the Science of Your Skin
Planning a Tanning Schedule: Safety, Time Management, & Great Results
Popular Poplars: New Anti-Aging Secret Found in Tree's Extract
Predicting the Big Cosmetic Trends of 2012
Preventing and Treating Razor Burn
Proper Care for Fair Skin
Psoriasis Treatment Solutions
Revisionist Skin: Celebrity Tattoo Removal on the Rise
Rosacea Awareness: Causes and Treatments
Scientists Identify Skin Development Gene
Side Effects of Spray Tanning
Six of the World's Strangest Skin Disorders
Skin Bleaching Treatments
Skin Rejuvenation for Ex-Smokers
‘Space Juice’ AS10 May Prevent Wrinkles, Sunspots in Terrestrial Users
'Tanorexia': The Dark Truth About Tanning Addiction
10 Things to Know Before Your First Spray Tan
Top 5 Alternatives to Tanning Beds
Top 5 Tanning Myths
Top 5 Types of Back Scrubbers: Reaching for the Best
Top 6 Hottest Makeup Tips for Summer 2012
Top 10 Cosmetic Publications
Top 10 Foods for Healthy Skin
Top 10 Skin Care Myths, Re-Examined
UVA vs UVB: Types of Sun Rays and Their Effects
Vitamin C Skin Care Benefits
What Causes Wrinkles?
What Is Aloe Vera?
Winter Skin Care Tips
YouTube's Top 5 Makeup Bloggers
How To Prevent Moles on Your Face and Body
5 Amazing Organic Skincare Products
Black Diamond Beauty: A New Skin Care Craze
Face Wash or Motor Oil? Harmful Chemicals in Skin Care Products Protested on World Environment Day
Tom Ford Announces New Men’s Skin Care Line
Research Proves that Daily Sunscreen Use Slows Skin Aging by 24%
Treat Your Face With A Snail's Pace: Introducing the Snail Facial
Could Plant Extract Pills Help Prevent Skin Cancer?
Does Poor Sleep Quality Cause Skin Aging?
Eight Simple Home Remedies for Acne
In Good Hands: Maintaining Healthy Hand-Washing Habits at Work
Australian Commission Reconsiders Ex-Sailor's Request for Reconstructive Scar Removal Surgery
Fragrance-Crazy Sisters Dish on Different Skin-Care Routines
Seven Solutions for Skin Pigmentation Problems
Researchers Developing Nanotechnology Skincare Treatment
Middle Aged Skincare: How to Maintain Radiance in Your 40s & 50s
Target Takes Over Beauty and Skin-care Firm 'DermStore Beauty Group'
Product Thieves: Men Costing Their Women Hundreds of Dollars a Year
No Link between Vein Blockages and Multiple Sclerosis, Study Suggests
Five Fruits to Keep Your Skin Fresh and Youthful
Microalgae Repairing Oil Provides Advanced Anti-aging Skin Care
Dermatological Experts offer Advice on Baby Eczema
DermaMed Solutions Launches Healthy Skin Challenge
Five Hidden Toxins in Skin Care Products
Former Engineer Creates Natural Skin Care Line
Healthy Eating for Natural Beauty
Skin Care: When to Save and When to Splurge
Eight Foods that are Ruining Your Skin
Skin Care Line Paired with Tea
Ten Fall Foods for Radiant Skin
Skin of Psoriasis Patients Protects Itself from Viral Infections
Experts Warn to Exercise Caution with Popular Skin Rash Apps
Vegan Skin Care Line Offers Natural Beauty Solutions for Women
Swap Summer Skin Care for a Healthy Fall Routine
Researchers Hail Breakthrough Melanoma Treatment
Mohs Surgery a New Skin Cancer Treatment Option
Pumpkins for Healthy Skin?
Coroner Condemns Doctor for Neglecting Patient Who Died of DVT
Swap Summer Skin Care for a Healthy Fall Routine
Skin's Circadian Rhythm Protects Against UV Damage
Laser Imaging Device Allows Doctors to Perform No-Cut Biopsies
Plastic Surgeon Gerald Imber Reveals Anti-aging Secrets
New Scleroderma Model Spurs Drug Development
Edmonds Healthy Beauty and Skin Care Offers Advice on Beauty by the Decade
Liz Earle Expands In the United States
Klarif, INC. Prepares for Stock Market Listing
Results Show Skin Drug Can Help Treat Type 1 Diabetes
Look Younger by Christmas
Claire Vero offers her Beauty Secrets
Dr. Lancer Offers Skin Care Tips for Everyone
Could Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Pose Ultraviolet Risks to Skin?
Experts Spill the Scoop on Skin Care
Five Skincare Tips to Escape the Winter Blues
Clinique’s Superdefense Moisturizer Gives Skin a Healthy Start
How to Exfoliate Winter Skin
Ioma Brings High-Tech Approach to High-End Skin Care
Kiehl’s Skincare Initiative Brings Faces to Light
Fight Dry Winter Skin with Yoga
Top Ten Skincare Resolutions for the New Year!
Nut-free Skincare on the Rise
Herbalists Bring Luxe Natural Skin Care to Berkeley
‘Shameless’ Actress Pairs with Skincare Brand
Shade Mountain Naturals Introduces All-natural Skin Care Line
Your Kitchen, Your Fountain of Youth
Clorox Wants Nothing to Do with Bleach Facials
Five Natural Fruit-Packs for Healthy Glowing Skin
Zein Obagi receives J.D.D. Leaders of Distinction Award
Berry Good Skin! Add Berries to Your Routine for Radiant Skin
Oil Change! Six Natural Oils for Healthy Skin and Hair
Austrian Organic Skincare Line Promotes the Right to Wellness
Sugar’s Effect on Aging Skin
Skin Care Foundation Provides Glowing Words of Wisdom for your Skin
Raw, Real, Toxic-Free Vegan Skincare
Even More Beauty Myths Revealed
Skincare Line Using Camel's Milk
Five Oily Skin Myths
Nestle Acquires Galderma Skin-Care
Nine Wedding Skincare Tips
New Source of Natural Peptides Makes Skincare Products Cheaper, Easier to Produce
How Can Retinol Give You Healthier, More Youthful Skin?
Mom Develops Her Own Line of Skincare Products
Skincare Tips that Fit Into Any Mom’s Schedule
Grapefruit Provides Many Beauty Benefits
Diptyque Launches First Skincare Line
Celebrity Aesthetician Kat Rudu Spills Skincare Secrets
New Skincare Facts and Fallacies!
All-Natural Skincare Line Boasts Collagen-Boosting Ingredient
Dr. Piasecki Uses Skincare Line to Raise Money for Schools
In the News: Han’s Skin Care Products Called Unsafe by Health Sciences Authority
Final Results of the One-Month All-Natural Skincare Challenge
Canada Offers New Skincare Trends
Space Age Skincare Formula Could Slow Down Aging for Astronauts
Inflammation Could Be Wrecking Your Face
The Truth Behind Sun Skincare Myths!
6 Ways Strawberries Can Help Your Skin
ZO Skin Care Line Emphasizes Preventative Skin Care
Can Cosmetic Fillers Cause Bacterial Infection?
10 Skincare Essentials for Women in their 40s
'Skincare Revolution' Now Available Online
Five Products that Could Seriously Change Your Life
In the News: Skincare Clinic Owner’s LinkedIn Profile Causes Stir
Applying Skincare Products in the Correct Order
Ten Skincare Shopping Tips
Elle Experts Share Skincare Tips
Coconut Oil Skin Care and Hair Care
A Teaspoon of World's First Drinkable Sunscreen Offers Three Hours of Sun Protection
The Scientific Connection between Diet and Skin Health
4 Bad Skincare Habits to Tackle Right Now
Men’s Skincare Booms in Asia
Get Refreshed: Sunscreen Basics
Napa Valley-Inspired Skincare Line Reaches Shelves
Homemade Moisturizers for All Skin Types
Nestle Chocolates and Wrinkle Treatments?
9 Ways to Stay Healthy in the Sun
More Australian Men Buying Makeup? Why?
Photo-Analysis App Generates Personalized Skincare Solutions
Millie Mackintosh Spills Skincare Secrets
Tan Your Face Responsibly with Bronzer
Targets Ups Skincare Game
Dr. Patricia Wexler on Summer Skincare
Intergalactic Skincare?
7 Allergy-proof Skincare and Makeup Finds
C’est Magnifique: Biologique Recherche Skincare Line is a True Gem
Trying a Korean Skincare Routine
Consumers Shifting to Sensitive Skincare
In-Style: Scalp Tattoos
Optimizing your Night-time Skincare Routine
5 Biggest Blunders Dermatologists Make
SPFacts: Skincare Myths You NEED to Know
8 Skincare Myths You Should Erase From Your Memory
Say 'No Way!' to UV Rays: 5 Tips that can Save Your Life
What Would Happen if Plants Started a Skincare Line?
You Put the Lime in the Coconut… and Put It on Your Skin
Sinister Soaps: 3 Skincare Products to Avoid
5 Skin Tips: Never Strike Oil Again
Buy a Gym Membership... For Your Skin!
How You Can Sleep In & Still Look Great
Fab Foods For Fab Skin
Iced Drinks Cause Eye Bags?! 8 Fun Tips for Flawless Skin
Cosmo Reveals the 5 Simple Steps for Flawless Skin
Natural Skincare is on the Boom, or Should We Say Bloom
Sunscreen: Safe or 'Toxic Sludge?'
Yogurt: Good for your Diet, Great for your Face
Aging Gracefully: A Skincare Guide Through the Decades
DIY Skincare: Keep it Simple, Stupid!
The One Item You Need to Attain Flawless Skin
From Butt Implants to Waxing: How Brazilian Beauty is Changing Cosmetics
Red Wine: A Glass A Day Can Make Your Acne Go Away
From Fashion to Skincare, Dolce & Gabbana’s Doing it All
How a Cancer Diagnosis Led One Woman from Wall Street to a Skincare Line
Scrub Acne off with Antibiotic Super Foam
Want Glowing Skin?: Cut the Sugar, Keep the Spice
4 Ways to Winterize Your Beauty Routine
No Love for Loofahs: 5 Ways to Keep Your Skin Clean and Healthy
Ditch the Dirty Dozen! 12 Skincare Ingredients to Avoid
8 Easy Rules for Glowing Autumn Skin
Score Runway Ready Gams with These Easy Tricks
Healthy Skin Tips from the Far East
Do Men Choose to Be Ugly? This Survey Says No
Achieve Beautiful Skin with the Incredible, Edible Eggplant
From Face Creams to Body Balms: Skincare for Cancer Patients
Bright Lights, Bad Skin? Taking Care of Your Skin in the City
Balanced Breakfast Equals Balanced Complexion
5 Simple Tips to Nix the Oily Skin and Stay Hydrated
Ageless Beauty Christie Brinkley Launches Vegan Skincare Line
Move Over Jewelry: Diamonds Are Also An Anti-Aging Miracle Cream
Bring on the BB Cream: Korean Skincare Trends
Naturally Cleanse Toxins While Relaxing in Detox Baths
3 Tips for Radiant Skin During Your Holiday Travels
Drink Up to Water Based Skin Care
Men, Take Two for Healthy and Handsome Skin
Brush Your Face for Better Beauty
Humans are Plants Too! Kind Of: The Case for Vitamin D
Iowa Governor Beats Aching, Swelling Varicose Veins
Lather Up and Cover Up for Wonderful Winterproof Skin
You Are What You Eat: 3 Foods That Ensure A Glowing Compexion
9 Edible Ways to Fight Aging!
Light Makeup and Positive Thinking Are Key to Perfect Skin
The More You Know: Base Tans Can Lead to Cancer, Too
Back Away from the Vodka: Ways to Keep Your Skin in Tip-Top Shape
Severe Psoriasis Keeps Woman from Leading a Normal Life
Smooth Away Acne Scars with New Dermal Filler
Double Down with Deep Cleaners and Day Creams for Healthy Winter Skin
When It Comes to Skincare, Know the Ingredients
Cosentyx: More Effective and Cheaper Treatment for Plaque Psoriasis
Coffee is the Morning Cure-All
New Varicose Vein Treatments Offer Quick Recovery and Lasting Results
10 Skincare Myths to Ditch Pronto
Anti-Aging Treatment Begins in Your 20s: 10 Tips to Employ NOW
Eat Your Way to Beautiful Skin
The Ins and Outs of Dry Brushing Your Skin
A Skincare Legacy: American Esthetician Dies at 88
Shellfish for Your Skin: Slather on the Oysters for a More Radiant Complexion
Skin Deep: The Cancerous Agents in Your Everyday Cosmetics
Want a Clear Complexion? Change Your Diet and Have More Sex
Straight from the Pantry: Make Your Own Skincare Products
Exercise, Peels and SPF: The Holy Trinity for Flawless Skin
Goodbye Winter! Prepping for Springtime Skin
The Delicious 'n' Nutritious Super-Fruit You NEED for Fabulous Skin
From Beauty Smoothies to Cold Creams: 7 Tips for a Healthy Glow
New Skin Test Could Diagnose Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Early
The Miraculous Powers of Vitamin E
Feeling Blue? It May Be Time for Your Skin to See a Shrink
From Citrus to Yogurt: Food for Your Skin
Get Clearer Skin by Going Au Naturel a Couple Days a Week
6 Tips for Acne Free Skin Today!
From Laser Treatments to Fitness: Treat Your Spider Veins Today
Smartphones Causing Younger People to Develop Tech Neck
Skincare Tips to Adopt Before You Hit the Hay
Tiny Hungarian Village Source of Hollywood's Latest Beauty Trend
What a Girl Wants: Christina Aguilera's Best Skincare Tips
Does Your Face Need to Hit the Gym?
Just Like Us: Which Celebrities are Dealing with Varicose Veins?
Can't Rinse It Off: Alarming Chemicals on Your Skin
Five Tips For Looking Better by Feeling Better
In-Depth Skincare Guides You Should Check Out
Lasers: The Future of Anti-Aging Treatment
From Melons to Wine: How to Care for Your Skin in the Summertime
Steal Your Man's Skincare Products to Save Big Bucks
5 Ways to Get More Bang for Your Buck at the Dermatologist
Clearing Up Five Food and Skin Myths
You Can Glow Like Jennifer Lawrence with a Little Help from Linda Ross
Experts Break Down All You Need to Know About Varicose Veins
Spring Clean Your Skincare Routine
Stuck on a Desert Island? Aloe Vera's Got All Your Beauty Needs Covered
From Carrots to Green Tea: Prevent Sun Damage with Plant-Based Foods
Because You're Worth It: L'Oreal Campaign Seeks to Prevent Skin Cancer
Drink Your Fruits and Veggies for Radiant Skin
Get Clear Healthy Skin with Warm Weather Exfoliation
ZIIP Your Way to Healthy Skin!
Bacterial Buzz: Beauty Through Probiotics
The Most Common Form of Cancer Can Be Easy to Detect
From Shade to Snacks: The Best Summer Skincare Tips
What You NEED in Your Bag This Summer for Flawless Skin
Whip Up a DIY Spa in Your Kitchen
Sweat It Out: Don't Make These Skincare Mistakes at the Gym
Study Finds Cancer-Causing Mutations in Healthy Skin
5 Summer Skincare Products Men NEED to Stay Healthy 'n' Hunky
Beyond Acne: How Flower Waters and Oatmeal Can Heal Sunburned Skin
Can Bathing in Ramen Lead to Healthier Skin?
7 Foods to Avoid for Healthy Skin
From Cleansing Oils to Kimchi: The Best Offbeat Beauty Solutions
Varicose Veins Aren’t Just a Cosmetic Problem
Five Ways to Limit Your Skincare Products When You Travel
8 Ancient Skin Care Treatments
O.J. Can Kill You—And We're Not Talkin' Simpson
Healthy Skin Comes From Within: What to Eat to Glow Like a Celeb
Refresh Your Skin and Treat Acne and Rosacea with At-Home Microdermabrasion Systems
Pale Portlanders Offer Their Sun Safety Tips
Try These Hot Summer Skincare Products!
Men Get Them Too: Debunking Varicose Vein Myths
Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires... and Varicose Veins
Eat, Sleep and Relax Your Way to Healthy Skin!
New Technique Offers Quickest Treatment for Varicose Veins
The Skin Cancer Foundation Kicks Off Eighth Annual Tour
Cosmetic Expert Spills on the Pros and Cons of Laser Hair Removal
Swap Out Coconut Oil for Olive, Grape and Sunflower Oils for Better Skin Now
Tips and Tricks for Treating Your Varicose Veins
Skincare Product Chemicals Likely Not Tested for Safety
The Unusual Factor in Keeping Skin Hydrated: It's Not Water
Secret Water Recipes and Other Cleansing Tricks for Great Skin
Nutritionist Says Flavonoid, Vitamin C and Lycopene Beneficial for Skin
Men Need to Moisturize Too, and Other Helpful Tips
How to Keep Your Fitness Routine From Conflicting With Your Beauty Routine
New Trials Show Non-Surgical Options to Remove Varicose Veins
The Clear Path to Healthy Skin for Men
Food as Cosmetics: Culinary Skin Tips for Life
Varicose Vein Treatments to Try Right Now!
Four Tips for Healthier Looking Skin
A Quick Guide to Specialized Facial Treatments
Switch Up Your Skincare Regimen This Fall
Expert Facialist Offers Fall Skincare Tips
Four Tips for a Nighttime Skincare Routine
More Middle-Aged Men Seeking Varicose Vein Treatment
What Can Skin Mapping Tell You?
Bypass the Booze and Bread for Healthy Skin
Tata Harper on the Importance of Organic Ingredients in Skincare
Is There Such a Thing as Cheap Botox?
3D Printing Technology Leads to New Varicose Vein Treatment
Mohs Surgery May Be the Most Effective Skin Cancer Treatment
Six Spices That Can Improve Your Skin Health
Nix These Foods for Radiant Skin
The Simple Bare Necessities for Healthy Skin
The Surprising Beauty Benefits of Coconut Water
From Avocados to Tea: The Best Foods for Radiant Skin
Not Just for Carving: The Many Skincare Benefits of Pumpkin