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How, exactly, does spray tanning work?

I saw Honey-Boo-Boo’s Mama June get sprayed tanned for her wedding.  I have to admit, that, while she didn’t look good; she most definitely looked better; less like a pile of yeasty white dough and more like a nicely roasted pig. Was that mean? Truth is, tanned everything looks better, whether it’s flabby or fit. So maybe you aren’t a fan of sunbathing or indoor tanning; maybe you have that red haired, green-eyed super-pale complexion that never tans but always burns; maybe you have the last minute opportunity to go to a fabulous party or a spend a weekend at the beach…maybe you have some funky tan lines that you would rather not have to explain…or maybe that guy (or girl) you’ve been chatting with on-line has finally asked to meet with you…whatever the reason, you need a tan and you need it FAST. Spray tanning to the rescue!!

Spray tanning is so popular that the Discovery Channel did a report on it. Apparently Coco Chanel came home from vacation and, in 1923, made being tan synonymous with being fashionable. Ninety years later, being bronzed is still equated with being beautiful.  While the French fashion icon had to resort to getting tanned by the sun, we can achieve the same effect in just a few short minutes.

How, exactly, does spray tanning work? If you’ve ever sliced an apple and left it exposed to the air, you will have noticed that the flesh of the apple turns from white to brown. Believe it or not, that’s the same thing that happens to your skin when you spray tan. The chemical dihydroxyacetone (DHA to its friends)which occurs naturally inside the apple, is the main ingredient in sunless tanning solutions. DHA is a colorless sugar (finally, sugar that won’t make you fat!) derived from plants which has been used to treat skin pigmentation disorders for over 50 years, and is approved by the FDA.

DHA reacts with the amino acids in the outer layer of your skin, causing what are essentially dead skin cells to turn dark. Since you constantly shed skin cells, spray tanning is temporary; but it’s also safe.

If you don’t mind parading in front of strangers in a paper g-string then a spray tanning salon is a great option. You also have the option to purchase professional spray tanning equipment, with a very small investment, that allows you to apply the solution at home. You can invite over a few friends; people who already know about that unfortunate tramp stamp you got in college, and have a spray tanning party. Portable spray tanning tents help contain the spray and make clean-up much easier.

There are other options as well; you can buy spray tanning solution in aerosol cans. Spray it on and use a small roller brush to make it even.

However you decide to get that fake bake, there are some things you should do prior to application. Take a shower and remove all lotions or perfumes. While you are at it, exfoliate to remove dead skin cells. Pay particular attention to elbows, knees and ankles. Shave your legs (if you have particularly sensitive skin, do it a day earlier).

Don’t spray the soles of your feet or palms of your hands; it doesn’t occur naturally and will just look weird. These areas are also more likely to discolor and turn you into an orange orangutan. And don’t go overboard; lighter tones will look more natural. Unless you really like how that crazed Tanning Mom looks. Then go as dark as you can.

If you end up with some troublesome spots, try hydrogen peroxide or baking soda; dab it on with cotton balls.

And remember, it’s all an illusion; your fake tan won’t protect you from the sun, so don’t abandon your sunscreen.

I heard the Tanning Mom just made her porn debut. Yeah. I vomited a little in my mouth too.

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