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Spray Tan Before and After Stretch Marks: Is it Effective?

Written by Lexi Carlson
Medically Reviewed by Denise Christine Bries, MD
Spray Tan Before and After Stretch Marks Coverage_ Is it Effective_

Stretch marks are a normal phenomenon that can cause body image issues in everyone.

However, everyone deserves to look and feel good, and that’s where spray tanning comes in!

Whatever your skin tone is, you can hide stretch marks with self-tanners, at least temporarily.

Note that while you can use a spray tan to cover stretch marks, it will fade eventually. Let’s start our spray tan journey by identifying the issue.

Read on to find out more!

What Are Stretch Marks?

If you’ve got raised streaks across your skin or a faded scarred area, those are stretch marks.

Just like the name implies, they’re the skin that has healed after having expanded or contracted.

Stretch marks are a sign of damage in the deeper layers of your skin than the epidermis.

They’ll often start out as a shade darker than the rest of your skin but will eventually lighten with age.

Folks who have undergone great weight gain or women who’ve come from pregnancy will often have stretch marks afterward.

Note that this issue can affect everyone!

Despite being scars, stretch marks won’t cause any issues with your skin’s connective tissues apart from not producing the same amount of pigment cells as before.

Unfortunately, stretch marks are permanent. Some treatments can be applied to cover stretch marks, like laser therapy to increase collagen growth or topical creams.

Stretch marks may itch, but DON’T SCRATCH them if you can help it! This will only cause more damage to your skin’s top layer.

You can tame your stretch marks by using a spray tan. This will help you retain your skin’s actual color without risking further skin damage.

Does Spray Tanning Cover Stretch Marks?

If you’ve got body image issues, you’ll be glad to know that spray tan cover stretch marks easily.

Regardless of your skin type or color, you’ll have an easy time using spray tan to cover up stretch marks! This is because spray tans are often a transparent color.

This sheer wash will dye your skin a pleasant tanned color and can be used to mask any large pores you’re uncomfortable with.

After having this sheer color tint applied to your body, any stretch marks on your skin’s outer layer will be temporarily hidden.

Note that a spray tan can last from 5 to 10 days on average.

It may not perfectly cover your stretch marks, but it will even out your skin tone so that they won’t stand out so much.

Spray Tans vs. Airbrush Tanning

There are various kinds of fake tanning methods, and another popular alternative to spray tanning is airbrush tanning.

We’ll explain how this differs from a normal spray tan.

Spray Tan

A standard spray tan will require you to enter a booth filled with nozzles.

These nozzles will cover you in a tanning solution while you turn around at specific intervals.

You may opt to undergo this process either while naked or with clothing, but it’s recommended to wear a specific bathing suit is recommended to show off your tinted skin.

The amount of spray tan solution used here will depend on how tan you’d like to be. Expect to see darker shadows along your body with this process.

Airbrush Tan

This process features more tan help than a spray tan since a technician from the salon will be personally applying the tanning solution to you.

This is a big plus because the technician can better contour the tanning product to your body. Both methods use DHA or Dihydroxyacetone.

An airbrush tan will last longer than a spray tan, plus the overall tint will match your skin better.

What Happens When You Tan With Stretch Marks?

Since stretch marks are scars, they won’t tan evenly.

Your tanned skin may be a few shades darker than your stretch marks, depending on how healed your scars are.

Newer stretch marks may appear red or purple but will eventually fade. It’s inadvisable to tan with these marks because they may darken rapidly.

When given time to heal, stretch marks will whiten and remain white despite tanning in the sun. This will make them stand out more.

How to Reduce Stretch Marks

Stretch marks can harm your self-image, but note that you cannot completely get rid of your stretch marks.

Unfortunately, they’re here to stay, but you can cover stretch marks with a tanning solution or apply a retinoid cream to create more collagen.

Take care with creams because they can irritate your skin. These methods will also work with older stretch marks.

You may have heard that tanning beds will help cover your scars, but this is a bad idea! Depending on whether your stretch marks have healed or not, you’ll get the opposite result.

What to Do About Stretch Marks Before Spray Tanning

Beginner spray tanners should follow these tips before they get a spray tan. Ensure that you treat your skin equally and avoid prioritizing your stretch marks!

1.) Identify Your Skin Type

Before looking at spray tans, check your skin type on the Fitzpatrick scale. This scale will determine how much sunlight you can be exposed to.

While you won’t be sunbathing with a spray tan, this will help predict your ideal appearance after a full day in the sun.

2.) Test Your Make Up

This tip applies only if you’re using a self-tanner instead of going to a tanning booth. Test out your new skincare products with a patch or spot test.

Every client’s skin will react differently to skin care products, and your chosen spray tan may cause an allergic reaction.

Note that your skin may not produce a uniform reaction to spray tans, so ensure that you perform multiple tests to catch any potential sensitive spots.

3.) Time to Exfoliate

Before evening out your skin color with a spray tan, you need to ensure your body is free from dead skin cells.

Your body will naturally produce excess dead skin cells throughout the day.

These skin cells can create a patchy, uneven surface that can waste your spray tanning session. Gently treat your skin to a warm shower, and shave any troublesome patches of hair.

4.) Ditch Those Over-The-Counter Products

Spray tanning is a fair commitment! Remember that you’re going to be covering your entire body with a tanning solution.

Don’t use any products that contain bleaching agents if you plan to get a spray tan.

Many clients pick up skin-lightening products for their stretch marks, but they won’t always work.

5.) Don’t Be Afraid to Get Some Help

Beginners can contact their local spray tanning salon for some assistance in preparing for their spray tan.

Direct any questions you have regarding skin types, the best look for you, and how to exfoliate and prepare them for your spray tanning session.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about covering stretch marks here!

Can You Fake Tan Over Scars?

Yes, you can use a fake tan to cover scars! Note that stretch marks are scars, so this applies to them too.

Spray tans will temporarily cover any scars or stretch marks across your skin surface, but ensure that you test your self-tanner before covering your entire skin with it.

Don’t worry if your scars turn a darker shade than the rest of your skin after spray tanning. This happens when self-tanner pools in a stretch mark.

Why Do Stretch Marks Not Get Tan?

Their pigmentation level won’t change because they’re low on melanin or pigment cells. Without these cells to help darken your skin, your stretch marks will stay light.

Stretch marks may appear in several colors on your skin, but they’ll eventually develop a slightly silvery color once they’ve completely healed. This type of stretch mark won’t tan.

Regardless of whether your stretch marks are narrow lines or raised bumps, they won’t take on the same color as your naturally-tanned skin.

Can You Cover Cellulite With a Spray Tan?

Cellulite is a bane that will harm your overall look, and it’s made worse because they’re not limited to one area. They can pop all over your skin surface!

Fortunately, a spray tan CAN temporarily cover up stretch marks and cellulite. If spray tanning sounds like too much for you, you can apply body makeup instead.

We recommend using Sally Hansen airbrush legs to hide stretch marks. This airbrush tan will cover any darker patches that stand out on your skin and even your look.

Can a Natural Tan Cover Stretch Marks?

You may step out on a sunny day and think, “Will getting a sun tan cover stretch marks?”

Unfortunately, it won’t.

A tan can actually WORSEN the appearance of your scars because your tanned skin will highlight and accentuate the stretch marks. Then there’s the matter of the sun.

The stretch marks on your body won’t react to UV rays evenly because they have a different amount of melanin. You’ll look sun-kissed, but you may not look even. Try a spray tan!

Cover stretch marks with a spray tan for a shorter but tamer solution.


Some folks don’t mind their scarred skin and stretch marks, but you deserve to feel beautiful in your own skin.

A natural tan may not be in the cards, but spray tans are a perfect substitute!

A self-tanning product can also hide stretch marks from recent weight changes. Sometimes losing weight will leave behind some reminders, but these can be fixed with a self-tan.

Remember to conduct a patch test before getting a spray tan. You want to reduce the possibility of further irritating your skin.