We Are Sunshine

Our Environment and Spray Tanning

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

By Crystal Rooney, Sun Spot Atlantis

How can a spray technician in Florida using the same spray tan solution as a Colorado spray technician get a different outcome? The answer is simple – environmental conditions.

Perhaps you live in an area where the weather is hot and humid. Maybe you reside in a place where the temperatures are cold and brisk. Depending on your location, you’ll have either hard water, well water or overly soft water. All these factors play a critical role in the skin you present to your spray tan technician. Here are some simple basics and tips to combat the common environmental issues that affect spray tanning.

Hard or Well Water

If you have hard water, you definitely notice that body washes, soaps and shampoos just don’t produce a whole lot of lather. That’s because the minerals in the water are reacting with some of the ingredients in the products being used, producing a residue that does not wash away easily. Well water PH fluctuates daily, especially after a storm, so you might give a great spray tan one week and a poor one next month. Attempting to spray tan a client with product build-up results in no color, light color, splotches or only a few days of color. 


  • Exfoliation on site
  • PH or prep spray
  • Retail organic before and after products
  • All-natural body washes and moisturizers

Soft Water

If you use soft water, you may feel like it takes ages to rinse off your products and you’re left feeling greasy and oily. Yes, water can be overly soft. Alkaline with a high PH over 7 creates a slippery feel to the skin. In addition, water that is overloaded with salt molecules can cause DHA to overly saturate into the client’s skin resulting in an orange cast.


  • PH or prep spray prior to the spray tan
  • Organic and natural before and after product
  • Exfoliating soaps and glycerin-based moisturizers

Overly Dry Climates

Any arid conditions virtually strip the skin of moisture on a 24-hour basis. Excessively dry skin overly pulls the DHA and typically causes an orange cast. Not to mention, DHA will stick to any dry patches on the skin, creating a splotchy-looking spray tan.


  • Moisturizers and body washes that contain 80 percent oil and 20 percent water
  • If alcohol is in the top two ingredients of a skin care product, don’t use it!
  • Apply moisturizers within two minutes of exiting the shower with the door closed to retain humidity during application.
  • Avoid hot showers, keep them lukewarm.
  • Post moisture sprays

High Humidity

The skin loves humidity! However, combining high humidity and high heat spells disaster for a spray tan. The constant sweating throws off the skin’s PH, plus it washes off the solution and post spray products much faster. Sell retail products that contain humectants in your salon. Humectants work best in humid areas, because they absorb water from the air and actually require a high level of humidity to be effective.


  • Pre-PH or prep spray
  • Humectants
  • Post-session products that contain glycerin or alpha hydroxy acids
  • Post-session ultra-drying powder

Where we live has a big influence on our skin’s health and condition. Doing some research on your local elements will give you the education and tools to overcome any environmental spray tan obstacle. The skin adapts very well to its environment. When mother nature throws you for a loop, being armed with the right products and techniques will save the day – and save the spray!