Washing with products on the day of your appointment can also change the pH level of your skin. Products like body washes/soaps etc are very alkaline (higher pH level) and can cause the skins pH level to rise. Elevated pH levels of the skin can cause a tan to more easily overdevelop and result in a more golden or orange result. For the days after a shower Soaps aren’t good and should never be used with a spray tan as they can have a pH level of up to 9 (some 11) which means that it can potentially leave the skin dry, tight and vulnerable to damage, especially to those who already have dry skin or their skin is dry after a spray tan after being sprayed with a solution that contains ethanol/alcohol as a drying agent. For those who are unfamiliar with pH. A pH scale measures acidity and alkalinity. The lowest being a 0 (which is the most acidic) right up to the highest at 14 (extremely alkaline)…. 7 being neutral… The skins natural pH levels sits at around 5 to 5.5… in other words slightly acidic. We have found that if your skin is more on the acidic side the spray tan won’t last as long and it will just flake off… if the skin is more alkaline you are more inclined to go a golden or orange colour… and this is why no body products should ever be used whilst the spray tan is still in development due to the alkalinity of all body products. If you constantly shower with body products, especially the wrong body products you can strip the barrier of your skin. As mentioned soaps are very alkaline and the skin doesn’t set itself back to it’s natural pH level immediately… it takes a while for it to “reset”… in fact it takes about 1 pH point per hour to get back to it’s natural pH levels, so whilst the skin is resetting it can leave the skin extremely dry or oily in the meantime which is not good for the tan either way. When selecting products for the skin the lower the pH levels are the more it can be absorbed by the skin and is why the pH of spray tanning solutions are formulated and manufactured with a lower pH level. Having a body wash that is pH balanced will work best as it doesn’t throw out your pH levels. The thing is… even after the spray tan has developed on the skin your body products can still influence the colour of the spray tan the days after the initial appointment, which means that your spray tan still has a chance to go a little golden or orange in the days after if an incorrect product is used on the skin. Having a spray tan turn more golden or orange from say day 2/3 onwards is moreso from the products that are being used on the skin than from the spray tan solution or application itself, as the development of the spray tan stops at the 24 hour mark (36 hours at most), so if a spray tan is turning orange from say 48 hours onwards then the body products used on the skin needs to be looked and potentially changed. ·What is pH?·As we are now discovering the pH level of the skin is really important when it comes to spray tanning and the development of the tan. ·pH stands for potential of hydrogen or potential hydrogen, which is basically the concentration of Hydrogen Ions in a liquid. ·Just to clear things up, it’s not actually the skin itself that has a pH reading. Objects that are solid can’t have a pH, so for anything to have a pH reading it must be liquid. ·The skin has a thin, protective layer on its surface which is called the acid mantle. The acid mantle is a combination of the sebum (free fatty acids that are excreted from the skin’s sebaceous glands), and the lactic and amino acids from sweat. Producing this is a way that your skin naturally fights the growth of bad bacteria and keeps a comfortable level of moisture in your day to day life. This is what actually creates the skin’s pH. Your skin is continually producing this regularly and what is excreted through the skin is what gives the skins pH reading. ·In all research documentation I have come across (as well as already being known as a standard term in the spray tanning industry), we will still refer to it as skin pH, but just remember that it’s what is excreted through the skin that is creating the pH not the skin itself. ·The pH level of the skin refers to how acidic or alkaline it is. On a scale of 0-14, with 0 being the most acidic to 14 being the most alkaline, 7 is considered a neutral reading for your skin’s pH. The ideal pH for the skin should be slightly acidic – at around 5.5. · · How does pH affect your spray tanning?·Spray tan solutions are formulated with a pH of around 4 – 6, so the standard pH level of the skin is perfectly suited to a spray tan solution. Having a skin’s pH with too high or too low a reading can potentially affect the outcome of the spray tan result. ·The further the skins pH is away from the spray tan solution’s pH the less desired the results will be. ·The important thing to remember is that not only do we have to worry about the pH of the skin for the duration of the time it’s on the skin, but also whilst the tan is developing for the first 24 hours… not just at the time of the spray tan application. Whatever is excreted through the skin will change the pH level of the skin and therefore the outcome of the spray tan, and as the tan is in development for anywhere up to 24-36 hours then we need to think about what we/clients are doing for the duration of that time to get the best spray tan results. ·So this brings me to the question… Do spray tanning pH balancing sprays really work the way they are meant to? ·If a clients pH is over or under 5.5, and the pH balancing spray is supposed to perfect the pH of the skin for your spray tan, and the pH naturally adjusts itself back to its standard pH level over time (1 pH point per hour), what happens if a client has a naturally higher pH level due to diet, or medication or other means? Their natural pH level will be higher than normal. The pH balancing spray that is used on the skin has a limited lifespan so what happens with the skin for the remaining 24-36 hours whilst either the solution is still on the clients skin or in development after their first initial wash off? Wouldn’t you continually have to use this product on the skin to ensure that the pH levels are perfect throughout the whole duration of the tanning process? As the pH of the skin isn’t actually the skin itself and what is excreted via the acid mantle, and this is an ongoing basis, wouldn’t the pH need to be adjusted repeatedly throughout the tanning process? I would think so… so a one off spray of a pH balancing spray wouldn’t make that much of a difference to the results of a spray tan. ·The prep spray or pH balancing spray is perfect for those clients who may have have sweat, product or oil on their skin at the time of the appointment that the prep spray will remove when used, but I don’t think that it is 100% foolproof to guarantee that the pH of the skin will be adjusted for long enough to make a difference to the overall result of the spray tan. ·Those clients who have a higher pH (alkaline) than the product being placed on the skin will find that their tans will over process quicker and go orange, but can also develop lighter but still with quite a golden result… which is why we say that the tan can turn orange easier with a higher pH level. This has also been confirmed in a report on Dihydroxyacetone by M.C Biotec Inc. ·Those clients who have a lower pH (acidic) than the product being placed on the skin will find that that their tans may not develop as dark as they are meant to, and it also won’t last as long, so clients who have a lower pH will always develop lighter than normal and have a shorter lifespan. The only difference between a higher pH and lower pH result is that the lower pH skin will not overprocess the solution, so you will very rarely get an orangey or golden result with a client who has an overly acidic pH skin level. · pH Balanced Products… Are they ok for spray tanning?·We see everywhere products advertised as pH balanced, but are they beneficial for a spray tan? ·In all reality a pH balanced product (ie pH balanced body washes, soaps etc) will have a pH reading of 7, which is still 1.5 pH points higher than the average pH level of the skin – 5.5… and can still lead to an unwanted result of a spray tan if used right before a spray tan appointment. ·As mentioned before, we have found that if your skin is more acidic than the product being placed on the skin the spray tan won’t last as long and it will wear off very quickly… if the skin is more alkaline you are more inclined to go a golden or orange colour… and this is why no body products should ever be used on the skin whilst the spray tan is still in development due to the alkalinity of most body products. Even water with a pH of 7-8 can affect the outcome of a tan, and why a client should not shower within 3 hours of their spray tan appointment (natural pH of 5.5 – with water having a pH of 7-8. 8 - 5.5 = 2.5… so hence 2.5 - 3 hours before the skin’s pH is back to its standard pH level after showering with water only). ·If you constantly shower with body products, especially the wrong body products you can strip the barrier of your skin. Soaps are very alkaline and the skin doesn’t set itself back to its natural pH level immediately, it takes a while for it to ‘reset’. In fact it takes about 1 pH point per hour to get back to its natural pH levels, so whilst the skin is resetting it can leave the skin extremely dry or oily in the meantime which is not good for the tan either way. ·When selecting products for the skin slightly acidic pH levels are easiest for products to be absorbed by the skin as the standard pH for the skin is 5.5, and is why the pH of spray tanning solutions are formulated and manufactured with a lower pH level. Also, DHA is more stable in an acidic environment. Having a body wash or soap that is pH balanced is ok, but having one that is slightly acidic or at the perfect pH for the skin (5.5) works best as it doesn’t throw out your pH levels. ·Look for products that have a pH of around 5.5-6.5 (lower than 7). These are perfect for your skin overall in everyday use, and is also perfect for maintaining the longevity of your spray tan. ·Colour Me Bronze Professional is working on a specific body wash that has a pH of 5.5, which is absolutely PERFECT for a spray tan. You will definitely notice a difference when using this product, and your clients will also see a significant difference with the spray tan maintaining its colour for longer and hence extending the longevity of the spray tan. ·Another product and Brand that I can recommend is TANfinity Skin care, which has soaps and body creams specifically formulated with a low pH. Most other products will be at 7 (balanced) or higher. Try to avoid these higher pH products as much as possible. Soaps can have a pH level of anywhere up to 9 or 11, which with long term use can permanently damage the acid mantle of the skin. You may not think that a pH level of 9 or 11 is damaging… but when you compare it to the pH of bleach, which is around 12.6 and you see the effects that bleach has when cleaning products, you can only imagine what damage a product with a slightly lower pH than bleach would do to the skin with long term use. · Colour Me Bronze Professional skin pH meter tester· ·Colour Me Bronze Professional has released a Skin pH Meter Tester that can test the pH levels of your client's skin prior to a solution being sprayed on to a client. They are specifically manufactured to be able to test the pH level of the skin. ·These will be a fantastic way to ensure that the clients skin is at the perfect pH level and will allow you to adjust your selection of solution to accommodate the pH level of your clients skin... if the pH of the clients skin is slightly higher or lower you will be able to adjust the colour and DHA% that you use on your client to always get the perfect result. It will also give you that edge and advantage over other spray tanners in your area, as nobody else will be doing as an extensive a test on the clients skin prior to the application... it really brings the standard of your spray tanning and consultation process higher than anybody else using other solution Brands... · · ·A moisturiser that has been formulated with a lower pH (around 5.5) works best, and should be used more regularly in the cooler months of the year. ·As soon as you get out of the shower, moisture will start to get pulled out of the skin from contact with the air. It’s why the best time for a client to moisturise their skin is within 4 minutes of getting out of the shower to prevent dry, crackly skin, especially on the shin area. ·Applying moisturiser whilst the skin is slightly wet/damp is best. This locks in the moisture, trapping water in the upper layers of the skin. It also allows the application of the product on the skin to be applied a lot easier as well, without potentially marking or damaging the spray tan whilst the skin is still heated from the shower. ·When the client finishes his/her shower they should pat themselves dry… leaving the skin slightly wet (but not dripping). Then they should apply their moisturising product to the skin as soon as possible after coming out of the shower. A thicker amount of moisturiser should be used in winter due to the damaging and drying effects of the cold, windy weather and when humidity levels are lower due to the weather and dry indoor heating. ·Please note that moisturising should take place once the tan has fully developed… so no sooner than 24 hours after appointment. Clients should allow their spray tan to develop as naturally as possible without inhibiting or influencing the outcome of the tan by placing products on their skin within this time. This also goes for body washes/soaps. ·Why do we need to wait before getting a spray tan after having a shower?·Firstly...·you want to make sure that the skin’s temperature has returned to it’s regular temperature as spray tan solution will not absorb correctly if the skin’s temperature is raised. ·Secondly...·we need to make sure that the skin’s pH is back to it’s regular pH (around 5.5) for optimal results. Spray tan solutions are formulated with a pH of between 4-6 so our skin’s pH needs to be within this range for a spray tan to work correctly. ·Thirdly... ·we need to make sure that the skin has had enough time for the sebum to excrete through the skin again so that the acid mantle is at the correct pH and settled prior to application. · ·So what is the Acid Mantle? · ·It’s a naturally secreted, thin protective film that covers the skin and is made up of oils, fatty acids, lactic acid, amino acids and the skin’s own natural moisturing factor. The Acid Mantle stores natural body oils and DHA reacts with the free amino acids found within the oils. The sebaceous glands are what produces your body’s sebum and makes up the acid mantle, and it’s the amino acids found in the acid mantle that is required to get the perfect spray tan. ·So why is Sebum so important to the skin?· ·Sebum is an oily substance that is excreted through the skin to the surface and keeps your skin waterproof. Sebum eventually makes its way from the dermis to the surface of the skin through pores, or hair follicles. When sebum is mixed with sweat it becomes the acid mantle. ·It keeps too much water from getting into your body, and it prevents you from losing too much water through your skin. It also protects the skin from bacterial and fungal infections. ·If you have oily skin it means that your skin is producing too much sebum. Clients with oily skin will produce a lighter tan result as the oil will work as a barrier to the skin. ·It is important to maintain the acid mantle, as a damaged acid mantle can lead to dehydration, oily skin, acne, and sensitivity. ... If the skin's pH rises closer to 7.0, it becomes less functional to kill bacteria, which leads to acne causing bacteria to multiply rapidly in the skin. ·Sebum and spray tanning during menstrual cycle…· ·The sebum and your body is responsible for a clients spray tans not turning out as dark as they would when the are not menstruating. ·Hormones are mostly to blame for this. As your period approaches, estrogen and progesterone levels drop. Without estrogen and progesterone to “cover up” the effects of testosterone, testosterone makes your sebaceous glands over produce sebum. Your skin becomes oilier, your skin gets inflamed, you can potentially break out during this time.. As more oil is produced during your menstrual cycle a thicker layer of sebum is covering your skin acting as a barrier. As there is a thicker barrier on the skin the spray tan will not develop as dark as normal. ·You may also find that sometimes clients will go spotty (white spots/clear spots), when you are spray tanning. This isn’t tinea versicolour as most people like to think… or like to throw around at any given opportunity as an answer when this happens (as I’ve seen alot in spray tan Facebook groups)… it’s just that the skin is excreting so much more sebum via the pores than normal and it reacts with the bronzer causing a barrier blocking the bronzer from hitting the skin where there is the most sebum sitting on the skin.. obviously the spots are where the sebum has excreted through the pores and spread outwards on the skin in a circular pattern. ·What can we do to help our clients get the best spray tan whilst menstruating?· ·As the skin is excreting more sebum, a prep spray would best be used prior to spraying the client. ·Spray tan client all over with the prep spray and get the client to rub themselves with a towel. It is better to towel off the product and the broken down oil/sebum on the skin than to leave the prep spray/oil on the skin and tan over it. What we need to do is ensure that the oil has been removed fully from the skin, even for the smallest amount of time, whilst the solution is being sprayed on the skin to give the best chance of development possible. How Skin pH Levels Affect A Spray Tan Believe or not, your skin’s pH levels can highly affect the results of a spray tan. If you’re wondering just what exactly pH is, it is a measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration present on your skin. pH is measured on a scale from 0-14; where lower numbers indicate a more acidic nature while a higher number indicates a more basic nature. 7 is a completely neutral substance such as pure distilled water which has not been exposed to air. Skin pH Levels Generally, the pH values of the skin range from about 4.5-6.0, 5.5 being the most common value. Skin is said to have what’s called an acidic mantle meaning a thin oily layer is natural excreted to protect and lubricate the skin. This is a way that your skin naturally fights the growth of bad bacteria and keeps a comfortable level of moisture in your day to day life. Finding A Balance Some skin products claim to balance pH levels even through they are quite alkaline. People who are prone to dry skin may have compromised integrity of the surface of the skin when using too many cosmetic products for this reason. It is a good idea to use such products in moderation to avoid getting too dried out. Dry skin can in turn create a poor result for your spray tan and the tan itself may turn out uneven and not last as long as is ideal. Patchy areas of uneven colour may also result if there are peeling dead skin areas which have not been exfoliated properly. Faux-Tanning Solution pH Levels pH values higher than 7 may create undesirable results or reactions to the skin. It is important to understand that when products sit for long periods of time, the pH balance within them may change to some extent. Luckily, a naturally formulated DHA solution will only change pH level to a 3 or 4 at most. A DHA solution should be formulated to its natural range of pH for best effectiveness on a wide variety of client skin types. It is also important to suggest a properly balanced aftercare moisturiser to keep the skin well hydrated after the solution is applied regardless of the pH of that product. Preparation Products – Worth It? There are quite a few pre faux-tanning products out on the market which are intended to be used to reduce the amount of oil on the skin before a sunless tan is applied. These can be a great resource for clients who have not properly exfoliated before their session begins. Sometimes, products like these claim they will balance skin pH but there is no proof the pH balancing effects are really that significant. It is more important that a pre-tan product can clean and even the tanning skin surface. It’s a good idea for all salon owners to look into using a preparation product on the skin of their clients before beginning the session for best results.