3 Key Differences between a Clear Tan and a Speed Tan


In case you haven’t heard, the sun is murder on your skin. Aging, wrinkles, sun spots and skin cancer really take the glamor out of that sun-kissed glow.

For a while, indoor tanning was touted as the safer alternative to outdoor rays, but it did not take long for that to be proven a myth. The other alternative was to dye your skin with products that stank and turned you orange.

The search for the perfect, safe tan has led us to the modern alternatives of spray tans that are professionally applied or products that you can use at home. These are of two basic varieties: clear tans and instant, or speed tans.

Clear tans and speed tans both use the same basic process. They are made from a chemical called DHS that is derived from sugar cane. This chemical reacts with the surface skin cells on your body to produce a darkened tint.

What Is the Difference Between Clear Tan and Speed Tan?
When you are deciding between clear tan products and speed tan products, there are three key differences that you should consider.

– Captain Obvious points out that clear tans are clear. This means that you cannot see where you are putting the product as you are applying it. Are you getting a nice, even coat? Did you miss a spot or ten? Who knows?

Speed tan products are tinted, so you can see where they are. You will immediately notice streaks or areas that you missed altogether.

Clear tans are most successful when applied professionally in spray tan booths. Experienced operators know how to make sure that you get an even coat that will produce the right degree of color.

Speed tans are also great choices for professional spray tans, but they are definitely the best choice for at-home use. Being able to see what you are doing is always best for the amateur!

– Speed tans give you instant color, while clear tans do not. If you want to leave the house or the tanning spa looking like you just came home from vacation, the speed tan is the way to go.

“Although speed tan is tinted and gives you color as soon as it is applied, both speed and clear tans will develop over time,” sad Samba Glow. The color of the tint in the speed tan will last through one shower, and by the time it washes off the next day the true color will have established on your skin.

A clear tan is invisible at first, but will begin to be noticeable after about four hours and will continue to darken over the next day. Both types of tanning product will last about a week and then begin to fade, depending upon how much water and abrasion your skin is exposed to.

– Clear tan does not rub off on your clothing while speed tan often will. This is particularly important to know for bridal parties. White gowns and white, high-collared shirts do not look quite so special with brownish stains everywhere they touch your skin.

If you have time to go through one shower cycle and wait several more hours, you will probably be safe with a speed tan. If you want to tan the morning before your afternoon wedding, go with clear tan. It will have time to develop a light tan with no danger of staining, and will continue to darken the rest of the day, giving you nice color for your honeymoon.

Is Speed Tan or Clear Tan Best for You?
As with most things, the answer is: It depends. If you want color right now, and do not care about it rubbing off a bit, you want speed tan. If you can wait, or you want the color to develop gradually so the difference is not so noticeable, you want clear tan.

Whether you choose speed tan or clear tan, they share the advantage of being better than baking in the sun. Save your skin and save your life by getting your color the modern, safer way.

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Kevin Schultz is a professional journalist with over 15 years of writing and media experience. He is a full-time contributor to the Themocracy Online News Blog and his insightful writing has been enjoyed by thousands.