Tan, that tawny shade of brown is something that fair skinned persons have always sought. The word is derived from the process of tanning leather from crushed oak bark which results in this particular tone. It's more commonly acquired by exposing oneself to the ultraviolet rays of the sun which darken the skin. The attraction of darkened skin has come and gone through the years, as most fashion fads do. There were times when products and methods to whiten skin were in vogue. But in the 1920's, Coco Chanel accidentally got sunburnt. Parisian women, who are known to set fashion trends around the world, liked the color and the tanning craze was born.
Whether you try to acquire a tan sun bathing on your lawn or on a sunny, tropical beach, it usually takes some time and a lot of fuss. This, plus the concern about sunburn and skin cancer have led people to look for alternative ways to get a tan. The most popular alternative is known as sunless tanning. It essentially involves applying chemicals such as stainers, bronzers or tan accelerators to the to the skin.
Spray tanning is a common form of sunless tanning. An airbrush or spray gun is used to spray the body with a colorless DHA-based chemical which burns dead cells on the surface of the skin and creates a brown color. The whole process, administered by a trained salon technician usually lasts for about 20 minutes and results in an even tan that will fade gradually from 5 – 10 days.
A handheld spray gun, of the type similar to the one for painting cars, is used to apply the chemical to the skin. There are three major types: the regular airbrush used for arts and crafts, a low-volume low-pressure (LVLP) spray gun, and a high-volume low-pressure (HVLP) spray gun. The LVLP spray gun is essentially a Siphon type Bottom Feed airbrush of the Double-Action type. The low pressure and low volume produces a fine spray that dries quickly. The adjustable trigger control allows the technician to adjust the spray flow. The LVLP spray gun is more efficient than the other types. With it, the technician can spray the whole body in 10 – 15 minutes compared with 45 minutes with the regular airbrush. Because the spray tanning airbrushes are portable, the service can be offered anywhere.
Spray tanning has become big business. You can find spray tanning salons in almost any city or town in the USA with a large enough population. In these salons are well-ventilated spray areas measuring at least 4 ft. x 8 ft. where trained technicians do the spray tanning charging $35 – $50 for the the full body service or $8 - $12 for a facial tan.
A variation of this salon is the spray tanning booth. In this type of establishment, the client lies down on a tanning bed which sprays the body with the chemical in much the same way that a car wash cleans a car. The advantage of individual spray tanning over a tanning booth is that the amount of spray in the former can be adjusted to suit the client's skin type and tone.