Spray Tanning Questions

How to Protect Nails from Spray Tan? (Prevention Methods)

Written by: Anastasija

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Spray tanning is a great way to indulge in some self-care time, while also reaping the benefit of an instant, damage-free tan, but how does the process interfere with your nails? There are a few things you should be aware of when having your spray tan done, with regards to your nails, so read on to find out everything you need.

Does a spray tan damage your nails?

acrylic nails Anastasija Thirsty for tan

Firstly, it’s time for us to find out whether or not a spray tan will actually cause any damage to your nails, and how it could potentially interact with them. This interaction does depend on your nails themselves, such as the condition they’re in, as well as whether you have any extensions, acrylics or polish on them.

In terms of actual damage itself, a spray tan isn’t exactly known to cause any problems with your nails, such as make them weaker or cause any sort of concern with their structure or health, but it can affect their appearance.

Prevention MethodDescription
Apply a BarrierApply a clear base coat or petroleum jelly on the nails before tanning
Use Protective GlovesWear disposable or reusable gloves during the spray tan application
Create a BarrierUse a small foam brush or cotton swabs to create a barrier around nails
Cleanse After TanningImmediately wipe off any tan residue from the nails after tanning
Moisturize RegularlyKeep nails and cuticles moisturized to minimize tan absorption
Table 1: Tips to Protect Nails from Spray Tan

If you’ve got any sort of acrylic nails, gel polish or even normal nail polish on your nails, you shouldn’t recognise any issue with the spray tan, and it shouldn’t interfere with them at all. You may notice a little bit of bronzer remaining on them, but we’ll talk about that later. However, the spray tan generally won’t affect the coating or polish on your nail at all.

spray tan on acrylic nails by Anastasija thirtsty for tan

On the other hand, your problem with a spray tan and your nails is more likely to arise if you just have your natural nails, completely free of any nail polish. When your natural nails are exposed to the product, namely the bronzer in your spray tan, they are vulnerable to being discoloured by this as the naturally uneven and textured surface of them will allow the product to sit on the surface.

In the spray tan formula, there is a special ingredient, known as DHA, which is the one responsible for the tan sticking to your skin, as it causes a reaction with the cells. This DHA is combined with various different bronzers and other ingredients to make up the formula. The DHA itself won’t be responsible for any discolouring of your nails, as it reacts specifically with skin cells, but the bronzers may be left behind on your nails.

If your natural nails are damaged in any way, whether they’re broken at all or you have lost lots of structure and support within the nail, you’re more prone to experiencing this problem, purely because the nail makes for an easier surface for the spray tan to attach itself to.

Also read:
What Brand of Spray Tan is Best? (Top Picks)
How to Protect Acrylic Nails When Tanning? (Explained)

How can I protect my nails from a spray tan?

We’ve established that, while a spray tan won’t necessarily cause any damage or concerns to the health of your nails, it can interfere with their appearance, and lead to discolouration. Of course, it’s good to minimise any potentially negative results of a spray tan like these, in order to get the best outcome, so you probably want to find out exactly how to protect your nails from the spray tan.

Luckily, protecting your nails is easy, and there are a few tips you can take note of in order to prevent discolouration of your nails and yield the best results.

applying nail polish by Anastasija Thirsty for tan

The first tip you should take note of is particularly helpful if your nails are damaged, and that is to apply a clear coat of nail polish on top of your nails prior to the spray tanning appointment. If your nails are clear and free of any polish, as we mentioned, the bronzers will stick to them much more easily, so applying a clear coat of nail polish on top will create a smooth, slippery surface that will prevent discolouration.

Of course, if you want to get a little more interesting and playful with this trick, you can choose to paint your nails with coloured polish, too, as that serves the same purpose. If your nails are damaged and you’re worried about using a polish on them because you’re trying to heal them, you could always consider using a strengthening topcoat which takes care of your nails at the same time.

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Not to mention, if you’re planning to get a manicure, pedicure or even both anytime soon, the best time to go is before your spray tan rather than after. Doing so will prevent the bronzers from sticking to the fingers and it’ll also allow you to exfoliate the feet or soak them when having a pedicure, as you won’t be able to do this after your spray tan.

Fixing MethodDescription
Lemon JuiceRub lemon juice on the stained nails to help lighten the tan stains
Baking Soda PasteCreate a paste using baking soda and water and gently scrub the stained nails
Nail Polish RemoverUse a non-acetone nail polish remover to remove tan stains from the nails
Whitening ToothpasteApply a small amount of whitening toothpaste on the nails and gently scrub
Nail BufferUse a nail buffer to gently buff away any tan stains on the nail surface
Table 2: Tips to Fix Tan Stains on Nails

Another way you can protect your nails is by using a barrier cream, and this tip works for the cuticle as well, which may soak up lots of tan when sprayed. Barrier creams work as a shield on top of the skin, and they will protect your nails from the tan, as well as lowering the chances of your cuticle soaking up too much product from the tanning solution and turning orange or too dark.

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The last tip is to simply wipe your nails with a wet wipe or makeup wipe after the tanning session is over, and this is something you can do anyway, even if you have acrylic or painted nails. Doing so will prevent as much bronzer as possible from fully discolouring your nails, and it’ll wipe off any solution on the surface of them.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, it’s easy to see that there are plenty of ways you can protect your nails from a spray tan, and it’s easy to find a method that work best for you. Remember, your nails are only exposed to being discoloured if there’s no polish on them, so there’s no need to worry if you have acrylics, gels or polish on them already!

About Anastasija

Welcome to my website! I'm Anastasija, and as a redhead with a sensitivity to the sun, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect sunless tanner six years ago.

After extensive research and four years of personal experience, I'm here to share my wealth of tips and tricks for achieving a beautiful, sun-kissed glow.

Whether you're interested in self-tanners, spray tans, or safe sun exposure, this website covers it all.

Join me as I provide valuable insights and guidance for various methods of getting that desired tan.

Anastasija thirsty for tan about me

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