Bodybuilder competitors often question if it’s really necessary to tan before a competition.

There are many reasons why a tan, or at least a base coat, is necessary. A tan will look better in the stage lighting. The lights of a stage are different than the lights at home, at the gym, or outside. Without a tan, stage lights can wash out a person’s skin tone. A tan significantly improves the optics of the body when you’re standing on stage. Golden tones reflect off the lights to capture and illuminate the right areas of the body.

Requirements for muscle tanning. Tanning in a salon is recommended versus tanning outside in the sun. Sun exposure can cause damage to the skin, and promote premature skin aging. A healthy looking glow can be achieved with a spray tan. A spray tan for a bodybuilding competition is different than an everyday spray tan.

Bodybuilding tan application requires multiple appointments and ample preparation. Follow these competition spray tan tips for the most flattering stage-ready tan.

Tan Preparation: 48-72 hours prior
Waxing: It’s recommended to remove all body hair for the smoothest skin surface 12-24 hours prior
Shaving: Smooth out stubble and prep for exfoliating
Exfoliating: Exfoliate when skin is dry or damp using a buffer, then rinse in the shower and pat dry

Tips:

Base Coat
Typical spray tan instructions apply, like wearing loose clothing and ensuring your body is free of any products, including deodorant. After the tan application, make sure it is completely dry before putting on clothing. Your tan will fully develop for 12 hours and up to 24 hours. During development, it’s important not to get the body wet. Do not shower and avoid any activity that could cause perspiration. Plan your workouts accordingly!

Competition Tan
After the base coat has been applied and had time to develop, the tan can be applied. It’s up to you how dark you want to go. Sometimes a coach will advise on the color and tone of competition spray tan solution. Maintain your spray tan for competition day. Consider using a product that will seal in your tan and prevent the color from fading.

Competition Day – Finishing Touch
A tanning glaze should be applied two hours prior to stage time. To enrich the color to a glistening glow, apply again 30 minutes prior. Remember, the darker golden tones will play well with the stage lights.

Post Competition Tan Tips
There are many products that will help remove some of the extra layers of color. After the competition, you’ll want to reveal a natural, even tan. Be careful not to over do it on the exfoliation. Use a product that will care for your skin and remove the competition tan.

If you’re serious about your competition tan, it may be a good idea to do a practice tan. The right color depends on your individual skin type, and it may take a few coats before you figure out what’s right for you. The most important thing is to not let your tan distract from your body. With a golden spray tan for bodybuilding competition day, your hard work will be enhanced and maximized for your big moment.

For additional guidance, consult your competition coach. A WestSide Tan professional can also provide tips and advice for your spray tan.