Spray Tan or Tanning Bed? What you should know!

Depending on which part of the world you yield from it is the end of summer or it could be the start. One thing is for certain a lovely sun-kissed look is a year-round fashion statement in most parts of the world.

No matter what season, many people are eager to get that sun-kissed glow. However, the dangers of tanning beds and exposure to UV rays are becoming more apparent, and people are turning to safer alternatives like spray tanning.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between spray tanning and tanning beds, the pros and cons of each and why spray tanning is better for your health.

Tanning beds are a popular way to achieve a tan quickly, but they come with serious health risks. Tanning beds emit UVA and UVB rays, which can cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people who use tanning beds before the age of 35 increase their risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75%.

As if cooking your skin with carcinogenic lighting isn’t enough, tanning beds also cause premature aging, including wrinkles and age spots. Hmm No, thank you!

Spray tanning, on the other hand, is a safer alternative to tanning beds. Spray tans use DHA (dihydroxyacetone) as the active ingredient to darken the skin. DHA is a colourless compound that interacts with the amino acids in the outermost layer of the skin to produce a brown colour. It’s important to note that spray tans do not provide any protection from UV rays and that sunscreen should still be used when spending time in the sun.

One of the biggest benefits of spray tanning is that it is customisable. Spray tans can be tailored to suit individual skin tones, allowing for a more natural-looking tan. With a tanning bed, it’s easy to overdo it and end up with an unnatural-looking tan or even a burn. Spray tans also provide a more even tan, as the spray is applied evenly across the skin and is blendable, meaning those areas that inevitably end up darker or patch can be blended out for an even finish. Tanning beds can cause uneven tanning, as certain areas of the body may be closer to the bulbs and receive more UV exposure.

Another advantage of spray tanning is that it’s quick and easy. A spray tan can be done in just a few minutes, whereas tanning beds require multiple sessions over several days or weeks to achieve the desired level of tan. Spray tanning is also less invasive than tanning beds, which require you to undress and lie down in a machine.

Whilst both tanning options have their perks (and I certainly did not intend for this to turn into a tanning bed witch hunt), it is important to understand what you are getting yourself into when making a choice that could possibly have long and short-term side effects. Onto to the pros and cons – let’s start with spray tan…

Pros:

  1. A safer alternative to UV tanning: Spray tanning uses DHA (dihydroxyacetone) to darken the skin without exposing it to harmful UV rays, making it a safer alternative to tanning beds or sunbathing.
  2. Customisable: Spray tans can be tailored to your individual skin tone, allowing for a more natural-looking tan.
  3. Even tan: Spray tans provide an even application across the skin, helping to avoid uneven or patchy tanning that can occur with traditional tanning methods.
  4. Quick and convenient: Spray tans can be done in just a few minutes, making it a quick and easy way to achieve a sun-kissed glow.
  5. Temporary: Spray tans typically last anywhere from 3-7 days, so if you’re not happy with the results or change your mind, it will eventually fade.

Cons:

  1. Cost: Depending on where you go, spray tans can be more expensive than traditional tanning methods.
  2. Risk of an allergic reaction: Some people may be allergic to the ingredients in spray tanning products, so it’s important to do a patch test before applying it all over your body.
  3. Potential for streaking: If the spray tan is not applied evenly or if you don’t follow the proper pre-tan and post-tan care, you may end up with streaking or uneven tanning. However, this is easily remedied by a blending kabuki brush at the time of tan application or gentle exfoliation.
  4. Maintenance: Spray tans require some maintenance, such as avoiding water and tight clothing for several hours after application, and regular exfoliation to help it fade evenly.
  5. Not a sunblock: Spray tanning products do not provide any protection from UV rays, so it’s important to continue to use sunscreen if you plan to spend time in the sun.

Spray tanning can be a great option for achieving a sun-kissed glow without the harmful effects of UV tanning. While there are some potential downsides, such as the cost and potential for streaking, these can be minimised by choosing a reputable salon, doing a patch test beforehand, and following proper pre-tan and post-tan care. Ultimately, the decision to spray tan comes down to personal preference and individual skin type.

Let’s move onto the Tanning beds.

Pros:

  1. Convenient: Tanning beds are available in many salons and can be used year-round, providing a convenient way to achieve a tan.
  2. Control: Tanning beds allow you to control the intensity and duration of your tanning session, making it easy to customise your tan.
  3. Vitamin D: Tanning beds can provide a source of vitamin D, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and can help boost your mood.
  4. Faster results: Tanning beds can provide quicker results than other tanning methods, such as spray tans.
  5. Psychological benefits: Some people find tanning to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience, which can have positive psychological benefits.

Cons:

  1. Health risks: Tanning beds have been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer, premature aging, and other skin damage. The World Health Organisation has classified tanning beds as a Class 1 carcinogen, which means they are a known cause of cancer in humans.
  2. Expensive: Tanning bed sessions can be expensive, especially if you use them frequently.
  3. Addiction: Some people may become addicted to tanning, leading to excessive and prolonged exposure to UV rays.
  4. Time-consuming: Achieving a tan through tanning beds requires multiple sessions over several days or weeks, which can be time-consuming.
  5. Uneven tanning: Tanning beds can cause uneven tanning, as certain areas of the body may be closer to the bulbs and receive more UV exposure.

While tanning beds provide a convenient way to achieve a tan, the potential health risks associated with them cannot be ignored. While some people may find the psychological benefits of tanning to be worth the risk, it’s important to weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks before making a decision. Safer alternatives, such as spray tans, maybe a better choice for those concerned about the risks associated with tanning beds.

In short (again not a tanning bed witch hunt), spray tan is a much safer option for you to achieve that bronze glow. Be it sun-kissed in summer – or wanting to look like you spent a month in Cancun. Tanning beds are not as safe as most are led to believe and whilst there are many things in the world that can make us ill and contribute to our overall well-being that cannot be avoided, this is definitely one of those things we can 100% control.