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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Castro

How Does Spray Tanning Work? By Chemistry of Course!

Updated: Jul 9

Spray tanning is a quick and easy way to achieve a beautiful bronze glow without the dangers of UV radiation from tanning beds or the sun. It takes 24 hours for a spray tan to develop, as oppose to bed tanning which can take weeks for certain skin types. How does spray tanning work? All spray tans and any at-home self tanner has the same basic ingredient: DNA (or dihydroxyacetone). DHA is a sugar that reacts to the amino acids from the proteins on your skin that induces brown compounds called melanoidins. The specific chemical reaction that occurs between the sugar and amino acids with the help of your body heat is called maillard reaction. The maillard reaction is the same reaction that turns cookies or any food brown when they are cooked in an oven! How cool is that?

Your brown tan will gradually fade over 7-10 days with your skin's natural exfoliation cycle. Since the tan is actually made from your skin cells, as you skin cells flake off, the tan will lighten. Showering, sweating from exercise, being in a pool or jacuzzi and exfoliation with a loofah can fade your tan sooner than normal. To prolong your spray tan, use sulfate-free body wash and lotion. It's best to apply lotion after each shower to prevent your skin cells from drying out and flaking off. Understanding the science behind your skin can help you get the best results from your spray tan!


To book your spray tan in Charlotte, NC, visit or call/text Amanda at 980-819-1327.

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