Okay ladies, summer is in full swing. And while we all want that glowing Victoria Secret sun kissed skin, it’s difficult to achieve. I know for me personally, I simply don’t have the time to bake in the sun. Sure, I would love to spend every Saturday and Sunday afternoon sipping mimosas next to a pool, but let’s be real, this is easier said than done.


Since I had a summer wedding coming up, like so many of us do, I decided I wanted to do something about my pale skin. I evaluated my options from forgoing weekend adventures to sunbathe out by the pool, to lying in the tanning bed. Finally, after talking with one of the estheticians in the MedSpa at RPSC, I decided that a spray tan would be the best option for me.

I chose to get my first spray tan because I don’t like the damage that a tanning bed and laying in the sun for an excessive amount of time does to your skin. Constant exposure to UV radiation expedites aging of the skin and significantly increases the risk of skin cancer.

In 2014, there were an estimated 76,100 new cases of Melanoma in the US with 9,710 of those cases resulting in death.

Source: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@research/documents/webcontent/acspc-042151.pdf

This is enough to scare me into wearing sunscreen on those days at the beach and avoiding the tanning bed, indefinitely.

So, I decided to go ahead and brave the uncertainty of how a spray tan would look on me. I thought it was definitely the better option to get that glowing skin for the wedding than damaging my skin. I also appreciated the fact that the MedSpa at RPSC uses an organic spray made from a Vitamin-enriched formula that focuses on the rejuvenating properties of caffeine.

Before my spray tan, I consulted with my esthetician about what to expect. She answered all of my questions about what I should do before getting a spray tan. I learned that you should exfoliate your skin the night or morning before your appointment and wear dark, loose clothing. We decided we would go with the “original” color on me since I am a brunette and my skin isn’t super fair. After talking it through, she took me to the upstairs treatment room.

In the room, there is a tent like structure that you’ll stand in when you get your spray tan. First, you’ll get undressed. Now this is a sensitive part of the spray tan process for some people. You have the option to spray nude or in clothing of your choice. I chose to spray nude because, hello, no tan lines from my bikini or sports bra. It helps that I’m very comfortable with the estheticians here at the MedSpa. This is what makes a consultation prior to your service so important. You want to make sure you are comfortable with the professionalism of the person giving you your spray tan.

After getting undressed, it’s crucial to put a hair net over your hair. My aesthetician gave me a great tip to let the hair net rest just above the hair line so a little bit of the hair is exposed. It’s better to get a little bit of tanner on your hair than to have a pale ring around your forehead!

Next, you’ll apply cocoa butter liberally on the hands, feet, elbows, and knees.  This helps prevent that “orange” look on these areas. Your aesthetician should coach you on this prior to letting you get undressed. But here’s a tip from someone who has gone through it. Apply this lotion in the tent! I made the mistake of rubbing slippery cocoa butter all over my feet and the awkwardly hobbling over to the tent and trying not to fall. Not my best look.

Then, it’s time! I’m going to go ahead and warn you, it’s a little bit awkward and a little bit cold. You stand legs spread and arms out. Again, I want to reiterate finding an aesthetician you’re comfortable with, especially if you choose to spray nude, which I recommend.

Here at Raleigh Plastic Surgery Center, the spray tan is done by hand. This isn’t the typical machine you see at a tanning salon. You get a truly hand-sprayed tan to ensure even coverage.

After the esthetician is finished with the spray tan, which takes about 15 minutes, you will spend 10 minutes using a heated pump and fan letting it dry and set.

You’re going to be darker that night. And sticky feeling. But it is SO worth it! If you can, don’t shower that night or workout. A tip from me, use darker sheets and pillowcases that night while your tan sets. You don’t want to stain any white or light colored sheets!

The next morning I showered and patted dry with a towel. My color was fabulous. Everyone commented on the natural glow the next day. Even one of my surgeons commented that it looked like I had been laying out at the beach!

My tan lasted a little over a week. Typically, your tan will last for 7-10 days so it is ideal before an event or wedding. I work out daily, and about after four days of running and sweating, the tan did fade more around wear the band of my sports bra lies on my back and sides, so that is something to consider. All in all, I would do it again in a heartbeat for any summer vacations or events I have!

Alexandria Smith, Marketing and Patient Care Coordinator