We Are Sunshine

The Spray Tan Doctor Will See You Now: Skin symptoms and simple solutions

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

By Brandon Cardinal, Norvell Sunless

It’s that time of year again: busy season! New clients will mean old symptoms that need a fresh perspective. Reoccurring issues with results and skin never disappear, and remember, are not your fault, unless of course you are not educating your clients to the dos, don’ts and remedies.

What Are Sunless Symptoms? Global Symptoms are problems or concerns that occur across the entire spectrum of a particular industry. In the case of sunless tanning, there are several key factors that create these frequently asked questions or common issues. Thoroughly reviewing this article will prepare you for when one of these issues may arise.


Some clients may approach you and complain that after they get sprayed the tan is not the same after they shower. Even after two or three days their color has drastically decreased. First, do not blame yourself or the solution until you have done some research with the customer. Remember, a spray tan only last as long as it takes your skin to naturally exfoliate: five to seven days. Many solution manufacturers make outrageous claims that their magic solution can last 10 or 14 days. Don’t get caught up into sales pitch, rely on science and fact.

THE FIX: The goal is to have your client exfoliation prior to coming in for their spray tan session (48 -24 hours prior). By removing all the dead skin cells and dry skin, you now have a clean palate to begin spraying. Some people have inherently dry skin and need to be educated on what to use in order to properly keep the skin soft, supple and healthy. Also, in consulting with these particular clients, make sure they are not showering with bar soaps, shaving with creams or gels, waxing, or using any moisturizers, or using any products containing petrolatum, petroleum jelly, mineral oils, or parabens prior to their sunless spray. These items can create barriers and effect the pH balance of the skin.

Remind your client that five to seven days is an average life of their spray tan; not everyone’s skin reacts the same. Also remember, immediately following a spray tan, your customer has two things happening at the same time. They have the cosmetic bronzer already on their skin while the sunless tanning product gradually darkens the skin from the inside. Sometimes after the warm water rinse and shower, the majority of the cosmetic color goes down the drain, leaving the appearance of much less than they had just moments ago. You must educate these clients to the process for more word of mouth and happier customers.


Many people may complain that the sunless solution seems to be wearing off in patches. You have to think of your skin as your yard. Your grass can grow at all different lengths throughout, depending on certain situations like shade, slope and foundation quality. The same holds true for your skin. This is why exfoliation

is crucial. By properly exfoliating, the client is arriving with the best foundation possible. Another contributing factor to poor wear-off is choosing a solution that is too dark for the natural skin shade. If a very pale person is coming to get sprayed and a darker solution is selected, when the product begins to wear off there will be a huge difference from where the product was and still is.

THE FIX: First, make sure they start with exfoliating, and as they start to notice their sunless tan wearing off, instruct them to exfoliate heavily again. This may take all the remaining solution off of their skin, however they will no longer appear splotchy. Secondly, most people will look great the first few days of a sunless tan but then become patchy. Patchiness occurs when the incorrect solution is selected or the client is over-sprayed. The key is to make sure we are spaying them to look natural. A natural looking tan is a walking billboard. An overly dark spray can look unnatural on a pale toned person and wear very unsightly. Applying a prolonging lotion or tan extender after the 24 hour DHA developing period will assist in extending the life of their spay tan and help to eliminate any patchy dry skin areas. It is very important to remain honest with these clients so they are never surprised.