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How to spray tan clients with eczema or psoriasis

Eczema and psoriasis are common skin conditions. Eczema causes patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked and rough, and blisters may sometimes occur. Meanwhile psoriasis also causes flaky patches of skin, which form scales.

These conditions might sound like a no-go for tanning, but the good news is that clients with eczema or psoriasis can still use fake tan; it just requires a little more thought and preparation. 

Choosing tanning products for clients with psoriasis

Celebrity spray tanner James Harknett advises, “Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is the active ingredient within self-tanners and spray tan solutions, and this is the ingredient that reacts with the proteins on the surface of the skin to cause the browning effect.

“The only ingredient to avoid when tanning clients with psoriasis is alcohol, which is normally found in canned tanning products. This should only be avoided because it contributes to a drying effect on the skin, which can aggravate psoriasis.

“If clients are prone to psoriasis, then they should avoid tanning during a flare up because the product can aggravate and dry the skin cells when reacting to create the tan.”

Choosing the right tanning products for eczmema

Shoned Owen, tanning expert and founder of vegan sunless tan company Tanya Whitebits, says that, much like with psoriasis, it is important to refrain from tanning during eczema flare-ups or when there are open wounds.

“Once the skin has healed, usually around a fortnight after a flare-up, clients can safely tan if they follow the correct advice,” she adds.

Tanning expert Carrie Marsh, who has worked on the stars of Strictly Come Dancing, agrees, adding, “If your skin is inflamed and you have sore open wounds, I wouldn’t recommend tanning those areas as it could cause further irritation.”

Owen adds, “I would recommend looking at the ingredients list in the tanning product in case there is anything that could cause sensitivity. For clients with eczema, a gentler formula with natural ingredients is best.”

Gemma Smalley, Sienna X Midlands region trainer, advises using “a good-quality tan that contains lots of nourishing, moisturising ingredients”. 

Tan preparation for clients with eczema or psoriasis

Abbie McCann, lead educator at Crazy Angel, believes that preparation is key. She says, “As a tanning therapist it’s your job to make the client feel comfortable. I have come to realize over the years you have to take a different approach with all clients that suffer with eczema because every client is different with this skin condition.

“Firstly, make sure you ask the client if they have any skin conditions you should be aware of at the time of the booking. Secondly, a consultation is so important in these cases because it allows you to assess the client’s skin and make the best decision for them and the desired results.

“If you feel the client’s skin is in a place where you can go ahead with the tanning treatment, during the consultation, take a look at their skin and advise them to trust you as a therapist to give them the percentage of tan that would be best for them and their skin, and which won’t emphasise their condition.” 

Owen comments, “Whatever the product, I would recommend performing a 24-hour patch test to check skin suitability and sensitivity before tanning. If irritation occurs, don’t use it.”

“Once you have established that there is no sensitivity, advise clients to condition their skin regularly with moisturiser in the weeks leading up to the tan application. This is especially important for eczema sufferers,” she continues.

“Just prior to tan application, I recommend applying a good barrier cream to dry areas, especially those affected by eczema.”

When it comes to clients who have psoriasis. Harknett advises that they should “exfoliate with a gentle product and concentrate on built-up, coarser skin. Then they need to keep the skin heavily hydrated up until the day of tan application.”

He continues, “Therapists need to get as much information about the client’s skin as possible during the consultation. Pay particular attention to applying an oil-free barrier cream to affected areas of psoriasis.”

As for what barrier cream to use, McCann says, “Vaseline is great for those who have particularly sensitive skin but always ensure you are using a product with the best ingredients, suitable for these skin conditions. You can even advise the client to bring their own moisturiser if this makes them feel more comfortable.”

What to do during tanning treatments

Owen says, “When applying the tanning product, it is best to avoid direct application to eczema-affected areas. When unaffected areas have been tanned, use a blender brush or the back of a velvet tanning mitt to glaze over the problem area.

“This will help blend in the tan and prevent dry areas from absorbing too much product, which can produce darker patches.”

Smalley adds, “An extra tip is to use a good quality tanning mitt to gently pat and buff a hydrating tanning mousse into the skin instead of a spray tan.”

Harknett advises, “Ensure that you use a tanning solution that’s not too high in DHA so that it’s not too dehydrating.”

Post-tan aftercare for eczema or psoriasis

Aftercare is the same as it is for all clients, says Harknett, “They should rinse in a warm shower and pat gently with a soft towel. Clients should moisturise generously with products that aren’t too rich or buttery.

He adds, “Working in a medicated talc around the chest and creases with a soft make-up brush will help keep the tan intact and prevent it from flaking off prematurely.”

Owen comments, “Clients should continue to moisturise regularly to hydrate and prolong their new glow.”

Smalley adds, “You could even give them a sample of cream to take away with them.”