Frequently Asked Questions
• How do self tanners work?
• How many days will a sunless tan last?
• How long should I wait after using a self tanner before I shower?
• Why is keeping skin moisturized essential to maintain great sunless results?
• Will the spray tan from a spray tanning application come off on my clothes?
Q. How do self tanners work?
A: The principle tanning agent used in all self-tanning formulas is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). This ingredient does not produce a “real tan” by increasing the skin’s melanin levels, rather it creates a tanned appearance by developing a brown color on the surface of the skin. The action of DHA is limited to the upper layer of the skin and involves a reaction between DHA and skin proteins and oxygen that produces brown compounds. This process is similar to what occurs when you slice open an apple and the surface of the apple browns when it’s exposed to the oxygen in the air. The development of color takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours and the intensity of color is dependent upon the DHA concentration in the product as well as each tanner’s individual skin characteristics. The color developed by the DHA usually lasts 5 to 7 days and begins to fade as the top layer of the skin naturally exfoliates.
Q. How many days will a sunless tan last?
A: The longevity of a sunless tan depends on the type of self tanning application, the skin’s natural exfoliation process, and on the skincare regimen followed before and after application.
On average, self tanners last 4-7 days. A professionally application, I.e. a sunless tan received at a salon or spa, will last longer than an at-home application as there is usually a greater percentage of DHA used.
• At-home application (lotions, sprays, mousse, etc.) = 3 to 5 days
• Professional application (stand-up spray units, airbrush, Custom Bronzing) = 5 to 7 days
The “life span” of a sunless tan also depends on your skin’s natural exfoliation. The faster your skin turns over, the faster the sunless tan will fade. The tan created by the DHA affects only the top layer of the skin and will begin to fade after 4 to 5 days as the skin naturally begins to exfoliate.
Following a good skin care regimen before and after sunless tanning will help a sunless tan last longer. Exfoliating prior to a sunless tanning application and keeping skin moisturized afterwards are essential. Sunless tan-extending products with a light self-tanning bronzer, like Norvell’s Prolong tan extending lotion, help hydrate skin and maintain even, natural-looking color longer.
Q. How long should I wait after using a self tanner before I shower?
A: It is best to wait about 6 hours after using a self tanner before you bathe or shower to give the DHA time to fully react with skin proteins. We recommend 12 hours or longer for best results.
Q. Why is keeping skin moisturized essential to maintain great sunless results?
A: It is important to keep skin moisturized after sunless tanning as dry, flaky skin will slough off faster and color will fade sooner. You basically want to slow down your body’s natural exfoliation process. Sunless tan-extending products with a light self-tanning bronzer, like Norvell’s Amber Sun Prolong, help hydrate skin and maintain even, natural-looking color longer by providing subtle bronzers.
Q. Will the spray tan from a spray tanning application come off on my clothes?
A: If you are using a spray solution with a cosmetic bronzer, some of the bronze color may rub off on clothing or bed sheets. This is most likely to happen when you get dressed immediately after tanning. To minimize the chance of the tint transferring to clothing, we recommend that you wear loose-fitting, darker clothes after your spray session. Try to refrain from physical exertion that could result in you sweating until you shower and wash off the cosmetic bronzer. The cosmetic tint is water-soluble. Therefore, in most cases, the color will come out of clothing in the wash.