By Ivy Potter, Image Sun Tanning of Northwest Indiana
The most prominent step to preparing for a spray tan is exfoliation. It seems like everyone knows that not exfoliating before a spray tan is disadvantageous. Less known is that over exfoliating can be just as unproductive and even damaging. As an industry, we have successfully trained our clients about the need for exfoliation. We say “exfoliate prior to your spray tan to ensure longer lasting results.” Are clients hearing “the more you exfoliate the better your tan will be?” Put some love back into the scrub by educating client on proper exfoliation techniques for sunless success.
There are two methods of exfoliation: chemical and manual. Chemical exfoliation involves the use of enzymes or acids to break down and loosen skin cells and is typically not well suited for sunless. The more appropriate method for sunless is manual exfoliation, which uses a rough material to physically remove dead skin cells. There are so many options for manual exfoliation, from brushes and gloves to crushed seeds and sugar, that clients get the impression anything will work.
Some materials are not only too harsh for sunless; they can actually do long term damage to skin when used too aggressively. Of course, the best exfoliants are those designed to accompany sunless tanning products. However, clients exfoliate before coming to a tanning appointment and will often opt to use alternative products. Using alternatives is fine if done properly. You can keep clients from going overboard by reminding them to gently “polish” their skin with a sugar scrub or mild loofa. Curb deviations by explaining that too much or too little will dramatically change the outcome of their tan.
Timing and technique are everything! Most clients should exfoliate no less than 24 to 48 hours prior to their tanning session. Exfoliating too close to a tanning session strips away the skins oils essential for sunless development. Soaking in a warm bath will loosen up dead skin cells allows for easier, more effective removal. Work gently in circular motions and always follow a manual exfoliation with a hydrating moisturizer. Last don’t, exfoliate too often. At most, once a week is more than enough.
Skin is never one size fits all, and our skin condition is ever changing. Help clients develop a pre-tan ritual that meets their skin’s individual needs, but remember those needs may change. The dry winter air and even dear aunt flow can alter the needs of our skin, so be flexible. But always scrub with love!