Spray Tan Technique

Spray tanning sunburns

Spraying sunburned skin is a huge no-no. A sunburn is our body’s defense reaction to trauma caused by exposure to UVA + UVB Rays, ultimately damaging the skin. Damaged skin needs time to heal and recover before any DHA application. As your sunburn sheds, it exposes new healthy skin; your body will often have patches of new skin and dead skin while recovering from the trauma.

Remember: DHA (Dihydroxyacetone) is the main ingredient in Sjolie formulas; it works with the amino acids and proteins in the top layer of our skin to create a chemical reaction that produces our “tan” color.

When spray tanning over a current or recent sunburn, you are applying DHA to both dead skin and fresh skin cells, resulting in your client having

  1. A more noticeable appearance of the shedding skin
  2. Patchiness
  3. Areas lacking any color
  4. Areas developing too dark


Including sun-related questions in your initial Client Intake Form is a great option to screen your client’s recent sun exposure. Example questions below will help you determine the integrity of your client’s skin and if it is appropriate to continue with the appointment.

“Have you had long sun exposure in the last week?”

“What brand of sunscreen do you wear daily?”

“When was the last time you had a sunburn?”



Inevitably, clients are not entirely truthful on their intake form, and spraying a sunburn may happen. If this is the case, do not panic! But most importantly, do not immediately try to fix the tan. If a client reaches out after their initial rinse or in the days following the appointment with an apparent sunburn (likely presenting as patches of color or peeling), the best recommendation you can give is to increase hydration.

  • Your body is dehydrated from sun exposure; replenish your fluids by drinking plenty of water. Drinking water will allow the body to repair itself more quickly
  • Apply a quality moisturizer; this will replenish the skins moisture barrier and reduce peeling, itchiness, and tightness in the skin

Do not exfoliate the tan or use harsh chemicals to remove the tan immediately. Take a warm bath or shower using Sjolie’s Gentle Body Wash. Using a washcloth, gently massage the affected area to lessen the contrast. It is crucial you do not rub aggressively or peel the skin as this can cause further damage to the skin or cause scarring (with or without tan). Following this, apply your quality moisturizer and/or Aloe Vera Gel to help soothe the skin.

We do not recommend respraying the client to correct the sunburned tan. What happens if you respray? Your client will likely see the same results if not worsened by the additional coverage of bronzers and DHA. Instead, allow the client time to heal before rebooking them for another spray tan.

Spray Tans are a fantastic asset to year-round glowing skin! Keeping our skin healthy and hydrated will ensure the most flawless and even tan! Remind clients (and yourself) to layer up on sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and always stay safe in the sun!