You have sprayed your client with a beautiful tan. You visually inspected it before she left, and everything looked great. Then 24 Hours later, the client tells you she has “white spots on her stomach and back”. UGH what happened, and how can we fix this?
Below we will try to dissect the issue, and see if we can fix it.
Question to Customer:
Is there anything on your skin? Did you have anything on the skin before we sprayed you, or have you appled anything? (lotion, oils, soap residue, hair conditioner residue)
I am trying to make sure skin was clean and dry and product free.
Did the customer use a cleanser to clean her skin after conditioning her hair, as conditioner on the back, can effect tan penetration?
Do you think she may have used a product that coated her skin before or after you sprayed her? See this article on PRODUCTS TO AVOID
How are you exfoliating and prepping your skin, and what products are you using specifically?
Here, I am trying to find out if they are using a manual exfoliation mitt, cloth or scrub, and if they might have product, lotion or oil residue on the skin. Or maybe they are using a scrub product that is leaving a residue on the skin. (a soap down with a mild gel soap that is translucent, after the scrub would often remove any oil or lotion residue from scrub products)
Maybe they are not manually exfoliating, but ONLY using a pretan exfoliation prep spray product (which will NOT exfoliate the skin well, nor remove many types of product residue from the skin, these are a good cleaner and de-greaser, not a good exfoliate method. See this link of SKIN PREP, EXFOLIATION, and See this link on CLEANSERS)
I specifically want to know what they are using, and how they are using the products. Just saying “I exfoliated” does not provide enough information. As products used, and how you have used them can make a big difference on results. I want to know if there could still be product residue, or uneven dead skin patches on the skin. I also want to confirm skin was left clean and dry, and no other products were applied after the shower, before they were sprayed.
Is it possible something was spilled or splashed on the skin while your tan was developing? Did you sweat during tan development?
In the case of this client, she said the tan looked great right away, She dressed in loose clothing and went to bed, and woke up with “Spots”. They got worse as her tan developed/darkened. She thought is was sweat maybe. So she tried again, trying not to dress or sit down for an hour, then dressed in a loose tee shirt, went to bed, and woke up again with spots. This client actually sprays herself, so she has solution available for retesting.
She noted she gets this all the time, and has been getting is for a few years. She used to use tanning beds actively. And experienced this (though to a lesser degree) when using Sunless Spray Booths.
Then she send these photos to me. This actually provide a little more information. So if possibly, try to see the client in person, or view some images, this can be very helpful.
Looking at the images, (left) though this still could be product on the skin, or sweat, this may also be a skin issue. And with her history, its an ongoing problem, not a new problem.
So its something related to the long-term
I advised the client to lightly clean and exfoliate a test patch of the skin, using specific steps below.
- Exfoliate stomach with a pair of exfoliating gloves HERE,she can also use an exfoliating mitt, or cloth. Or she can exfoliate with a backing soda and water paste.
- Use a Transparent/Translucent type shower gel (see article here on CLEANSERS).
- Rinse and dry skin well.
- Do not apply any lotion or other product to the skin.
- Use a pad or cloth and LIBERALLY apply solution to a large area covering her stomach. It should be thick enough to be very visible on the skin. It needs to be large enough for us to see results over a largish area.
- Let skin dry, use a blow dryer if needed.
- After skin is dry, you may lightly powder if needed for comfort (Powder Steps, Hows and Whys are HERE).
- Dress in loose clothing, and go ahead and sit etc. Just avoid sweating for 8 hours if possible.
- Rinse skin after 8 hours, and view results.
I want to see if this blends out the spots. Based on the answer, proceed with below options.
Yeah – No Spots!
If the spots are less visible, or hopefully gone, then the issue was something left on, or applied to the skin, ether pre or post tan. I would coach the client on exfoliation steps. The exfoliation/cleansing method they used in this case seems to be one they should be using. Also make sure they understand pre and post tan care (Handout sheets are HERE)
Nope We still have Spots!
If it does not remove or darken/blend out the spots, do the spots appear to be in roughly the exact same size, shapes and pattern she had before?
If they are, then this tells us this is a SKIN issue, not related to application, exfoliation etc.
What the heck is happening with her skin though, and can we fix it?
Two possible options come up.
(Please note, I am not a Medical Care provider, nor is this considered Medical Care or Treatment advise. This is just general educational information, based on experience, to help guide your client toward a resolution. Please always advise that they seek proper Heath Care advise from their personal medical care provider before diagnosing or treating any condition.)
Damaged Skin from UV Exposure, or pigment reduction with aging (AKA Sunspots)
This usually appears later as we age usually around ages 35-40, often on face, legs and arms, it is called idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis. (or IGH) They tend to be more common in women, probably due to thinner skin in females, which is more prone to UV damage issues. The skin may be smooth or slightly rough feeling.
The skin has been damaged from UV Exposure, and some areas of skin no longer produce pigment. When the skin is untanned, the pale spots fade into the normal surrounding lightly pigmented skin, and may not be visible. But when the skin is exposed to UV light, they will not tan like surrounding skin, and show up as white dots/spots. So thy see unpigmented/untanned skin spots.
Though Sunless Tanners do not us UV to generate the color, nor do they change the skins pigmentation level, the sunless tanner can still produce less or no color on these areas in some clients. The surround skin (undamaged) will sunless tan normally, and the contrast can make the spots really stand out, even if they tan some, they are still lighter then surrounding darker skin.
The skin has been damaged, and the texture and absorbancy in that area has changed, so the skin may not absorb or react to the sunless tanner in the same manner as the surrounding skin does. This can appear as white spots, that do not tan, or tan lighter. Derm NZ has some great information on these spots, with photos if you would like more details, just click the link to the left in blue.
There is no simple treatment, though there are some options such as Retin-A, Dermabrasion etc. These are things the client would need to investigate with the help of their Medical Care Provider.
As a technician you cannot fix this issue. You can use a lower DHA level product, so the sunless tan is lighter in depth, so the contrast is less. You can also direct the client toward some temporary cosmetic cover up options such as Body Make-up and Bronzers. Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs products are some I have used, and they work well. These will wash off with water or rain, or sweating. They are a temporary cover-up only.
IGH white spots, can also be related to skin aging and pigmentation loss related to age. But this client has a history of UV Tanning bed use, so UV damage is a possibility here.
Yeast Growth on the skin:
Another consideration is excess yeast growth on the skin.
Pityriasis Versicolor AKA Tinea Versicolor which is related to a yeast overgrowth on the skin, most common on the trunk, neck and arms of the body. It can appear at any age, but is more common in younger clients, and men. It is more common in hot and humid locations, and can easily be spread with Tanning Bed use, so is common in Tanning bed users as well. It may disappear in winter, and reoccur in the summer.
Spots or patches may be white, pink or coppery. They are often lighter then surrounding skin. They may be smooth or rough, They may peel or flake or seem dry.
This would be diagnosed clinically with a Visit to their medical care provider. I would recommend they visit a Dermatologist to seek treatment.
Gels, creams, cleaners and oral medications are normally prescribed, depending on treatment area, yeast culture results, size of coverage needed. One treatment for yeast over growth is Head and Shoulders or similar type Psoriasis Shampoo applied to the area, and left on. Do this daily for a week or two.
However the yeast can be any of 14 different varieties. And using the correct specific treatment depending on the species is the best option to receive the fastest eradication. Client may need to try more then one treatment option, per their Drs advice.
Once eradicated, it can return if hot, moist or humid conditions persist. The patient will then seek treatment again.
If yeast was the issue, once it is removed, then you can spray tan normally in that area. In some cases though, the skin may have been permanently damaged, leaving some white spots that still will not tan. Cosmetic cover-ups will be the only option for these areas. With time, the skin may eventually heal and pigment may even out in the damaged areas, but it can take a very long time.
Vist Derm NZ link here, if you would like to view some photos, and read up on this type of infection.
So what was wrong with this client, and did you find a fix?
If those do not work, to please visit a dermatologist, and they can prescribe an RX cream, gel or oral medication, which can clear it up quickly.
If left untreated, the yeast will continue to spread, and can actually cause some permanent pigment loss in the skin.