Why Do Bodybuilders Tan?

Bulking muscles, swimming trunks, and baby oil go well with strong, dark, glazing tans. In the realm of bodybuilding, athletes compete to achieve the most attractive, musculatured, and aesthetic physique possible.

You might, however, be curious as to why bodybuilders spray tan. Why is there such a fuss about pre-show spray tans and why is that dark color? Why are there so many heavy coats of spray tan? Knowing the rationale for bodybuilders’ use of spray tans is crucial for your company’s objectives, regardless of whether you’re an experienced salon/mobile business owner or a newcomer to the spray tan market.

If you’re familiar with the bodybuilding community, you undoubtedly already know that some people refer to it as the “sport of illusions,” which refers to the athletes’ desire to appear as chiseled, muscular, and attractive as they possibly can. The method by which they accomplish that? They work out hard to build up those bulging muscles, and they follow strict diets, but they also polish their poses to best accentuate their physiques. This is where spray tanning comes in.

What is tanning?

The skin is subjected to certain chemicals as well as UV artificial sunlight during the process. Melanin is created by skin pigment-producing cells in artificial sunlight. When you are exposed to the sun, a natural process takes place that includes this.

Short-wave ultraviolet radiation, or “UVB” rays (the “A” in UVB derives from the Latin word for “bronze”), is used in tanning to activate a lotion or cream containing a synthetic chemical known as a “tanning agent” (the “A” in UVB comes from the Latin word for “bronze”). The skin’s hue gradually tans as a result of this.

All around the world, including a large number in the United States and Europe, we can see bodybuilders with tans. Chroma-tanning is the term for the method of tanning that involves using manufactured or “processed” sunlight to tan the skin rather than natural sunlight. Chroma-tanning is used by bodybuilders because its results are far more pronounced and persistent than those of a natural tan.

Increased vitamin D levels, an important substance that supports the health of the bones, muscles, and brain, are the most frequent cause of tanning in humans.

What Makes Tanning So Important?

Bodybuilders place a lot of emphasis on tanning as part of their competition preparation for a variety of reasons. The advantages they gain from tanning are:

Bodybuilders who tan appear more chiseled.

defines the definition of muscle.

Evening out skin tone and hiding imperfections

It also absorbs harsh stage lighting, giving bodybuilders a more chiseled appearance.

The color tan is more attractive.

One can present oneself in a more captivating manner to the audience.

Similar to how wearing black can make you look slimmer, dark hues create contrast and shade where it is needed to make bodybuilders’ muscles appear thicker or slimmer in particular areas.

How To Tan?

Bodybuilders engage in an odd ritual in the days preceding the competition. But this isn’t a spray tan from the beauty parlor. The technique can transform the skin color from the lightest white to the darkest bronze.


Exfoliation, or eliminating too many dead skin cells from the body, is the first stage. Skin is smooth and prepared to absorb the tanner as a result. While taking a shower, it is advised to apply a natural exfoliator like olive oil and sugar.


The removal of all body hair is the next step, and I do mean ALL. An additional step to make the tan stick is hair removal. Men who shave also appear more defined on stage, especially if they have dense body hair.


It’s now time to start tanning the day before the show. The tanning product is typically a liquid mixture that is sprayed or applied with a roller. The venue where contestants may get their tans was set up by the contest organizers.

Competitors enter a small booth in the tanning area after stripping off, where a staff member coats them with the spray. Just a few minutes, plus a few more for drying.

After the first coat, contestants are free to get dressed and conduct themselves as usual for the remainder of the evening. On the day of the competition, though, they typically need to return early to get a second coat.

Competitors are covered in a little sticky film when tanning is finished. However, if it becomes wet, it tends to wipe off or streak. Backstage, there are people who can touch up your tan if it gets damaged or smeared.

Each contender spends at least $100 on their tan. All of this raises the question of why bodybuilders put themselves through such hardship to tan.

Let me now address the query, “Why Do Bodybuilders Tan?”

Some Of The Reasons Bodybuilders Usually Tan

Bodybuilders recognized the advantages of tanned skin on stage even before the invention of tanning beds or bronzers. After their workouts, Arnold and his friends would relax on the Venice beaches during the golden age.

Bodybuilders are now using spray tanning to enhance the effect. It enhances the full muscles and sharp lines they worked so hard to develop and helps them project on stage.

It Defines The Muscles

It is common knowledge that muscles can appear more pronounced on darker skin tones than on lighter ones. For individuals with lighter skin, this means that spray tanning significantly aids in improving the appearance and definition of the muscles (and complements the effort at the gym) without requiring much effort. Bodybuilders apply more than one coat of tan to further the appearance. For optimum impact and effects, they frequently wear an additional black coat to draw attention to their muscles over their entire bodies.

It Creates the Illusion Of A Slimmer Body.

Recall how we discussed the significance of illusion in the bodybuilding sport? A dark coat of spray tan guarantees that the athletes’ muscles are visible even when they are not flexed, in addition to giving them a little more bulge. Spray tanning aids in this by making the muscles look slimmer because the darker hue pulls the eye inside. However, you should be aware that this only functions when the athlete’s body fat is below a certain threshold.

Stretch Marks Can Be Hidden With Its Assistance.

Stretch marks are unavoidable “battle wounds” that both men and women, whether they like it or not, get when they work out hard. This results from the muscles getting bigger naturally. Stretch marks are a common problem for bodybuilders, and spray tan evens out the tone of their skin to help conceal these marks as well as other skin problems.

It significantly aids in achieving the “whole package.”

A fantastic spray tan is the finishing touch for a body that is ready for the stage, to sum it all up. It will assist the rival in projecting its finest image. The muscles appear somewhat more defined, slightly more developed, and add a leaner look where it is needed with the aid of a decent spray tan.

As a professional spray tanner, your primary concern should be applying the layers correctly. Simply visit our website’s blog post area to learn more, and feel free to wander around if you’re looking for professional bodybuilder spray tans. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions as well. The employees at Artesian Tan are totally focused on assisting you in honing your sunless skills!

Protect Your Body From Bright Lights

The fact that bodybuilding competitions take place on stages with dazzling spotlights should not be underestimated. The majority of that light is also reflected back into the judge’s eyes by a person with light skin.

Because it successfully eliminates the distinction between muscle groups that competitors must correctly locate, this effect is known as “wash out.” A deep-colored skin, however, absorbs more light, which makes muscles more noticeable.

Creates The Guise Of Greater Definition

Additionally, a spray tan may make little details pop, including oblique muscle feathering and muscle striations.

Once more, the darker color is to blame. But the spray tan also has a tendency to build up in wrinkles, such as the space between the abs.

A tan can make bodybuilders appear slightly slimmer because definition and low body fat are the main criteria used to grade bodybuilders across all categories.

Evens Skin Tone

Most people’s skin tones between exposed portions and areas covered by clothing vary slightly, unless they’re tanning in a bed. In rare instances, you might even have noticeable tan lines.

A spray tan’s additional advantage is that it gives your entire body a consistent skin tone. This is more attractive and aesthetically pleasing for exhibiting the physique.

Cover Up Skin Flaws

The spray tan helps to conceal imperfections in addition to balancing out skin tone. This includes any characteristics of your skin that stand out from the hue of your natural skin, such as freckles, moles, acne, or even tattoos.

It Lessens the Risk of Melanoma

Bodybuilders’ use of tanning technology is not just a matter of preference or taste. Life and death are at stake. According to a study that was published in the Medical Journal of Australia, bodybuilders who don’t use tanning beds have a 10% higher average chance of developing melanoma.

It reverses the Effects of the Steroid

Most bodybuilders frequently utilize steroids for a variety of reasons. Acne is one of the many negative side effects of these drugs. Acne causes facial scars that appear awful and are highly embarrassing.

As we previously stated, tanning is the best way to conceal any skin imperfections. Tans might be an effective remedy for scars brought on by steroid use.

Tan Is One Of The Criteria Used To Judge Bodybuilders

As opposed to the coffee bean tint of today, bodybuilders were often more of a golden, naturally tanned color in Arnold’s era. The use of dark tans increased somewhere between now and then.

Once enough people started engaging in it, the judges eventually began to base their judgments on how bronzed the contestants appeared.

This encouraged more bodybuilders to begin bronzing. Whether you like the way dark tans appear or not, if you want to compete, you’ll probably have to put up with it, barring a significant shift in the industry.

Act As A Confidence Booster

Similar to how a darker skin tone can sometimes boost confidence, having a strong stage presence is crucial in these competitions for bodybuilders. A fresh spray tan can make some people feel more confident when they’re flexing their bodies beneath the spotlights on stage while wearing almost nothing.

It’s important for bodybuilders to be as self-assured as possible when competing because stage presence is one of the main criteria on which they are rated.

It’s Part Of The Industry Now

The use of spray tans and fake tans has become so commonplace in the bodybuilding world that judges often consider the quality of the tan when rating competitors. These attitudes turn artificial tans into more than just another technique to get ready for an exam—they become a mandatory requirement that must be checked, despite the fact that their effects on scoring can vary.

A bodybuilder is immediately at a disadvantage if they choose not to apply any fake tan.


In other words, a tan looks good. The tanned look is desired by most people, and if you want to look your best, a bronzed skin tone will play a big part in that. However, bodybuilders frequently overdo it for the reasons mentioned above.

As Everyone Else Does

Last but not least, spray tan use has become customary during bodybuilding competitions. Therefore, even if you wouldn’t really like to, you virtually have to in order to keep up with your rivals. In the comparison rounds, you won’t make a bad impression because of this.

At the End of the Contest

A bodybuilding competition might extend for several hours, something most people might not be aware of. There are numerous categories, and occasionally there are hundreds of contestants. The finals will take place in the afternoon or evening after the prejudging in the morning.

Finally, being free of the greasy spray tan casing is therefore a tremendous relief. But not all of it rinses off! For at least a few days after the show, the competitors’ skin still has an orange color.

Despite the absurdity of this level of tanning, bodybuilders make it one of the smallest trade-offs for their best-looking appearance. In the kitchen and the gym, the actual work is done.

The Tan That Bodybuilders Usually Use

Bodybuilders apply fake tans to get tanned. Spraying the skin with chemicals that adhere to the skin and allow the body to absorb the chemicals creates the artificial tan. Even after the bodybuilder stops using them, the body still has a tan. However, fake tans have a number of issues.

They actually apply spray tan. Base-tan is the type of tan that most bodybuilders have. By remaining outside for a week or two, you can develop this base tan. A few weeks before the contest, you might notice bodybuilders applying sunscreen. Although it imparts a natural tan, it is not the well-known stage tan.

They seem quite lovely because of the spray tan they employ. Similar to paint, it has the effect of making their bodies appear much more attractive than it actually is. However, there are rarely any negative side effects when these spray tans are removed swiftly.

Why Do Female Bodybuilders Get Such A Dark Tan?

Bodybuilders of both genders are affected. In general, it’s bodybuilding. Take a look at this man tanning before a performance.

Darker colors are said to help showcase muscular definition. It’s just the way that lighting and shadows work. White illumination washes off skin that is white.

Additionally, muscles stand out more on darker skin tones than on lighter ones, making fake tanning a creative approach to enhance muscle definition without exerting any effort.

A bodybuilder’s last-ditch effort to emphasize his or her muscles for competitions and contests is to layer self-tanner on the skin. The muscles of bodybuilding champions’ chests, torsos, arms, and legs are emphasized to the fullest extent by their extra-dark artificial tans.

The Influence of Fake Tan in Pop Culture

Fake tans are frequently utilized in mainstream culture, notably in the early 2000s, aside from in bodybuilding competitions. Characters from television programs like “The Jersey Shore” frequently have tans that rival those of the darkest bodybuilders.

Since fake tans seem absurd, this led to the development of a stigma against them. People with false tans are frequently teased because they are rather evident to others.

Some individuals started acting in this way in an effort to resemble these personalities. At least for bodybuilding, they serve a purpose. Because they are self-conscious about themselves or their complexion, many people outside of the bodybuilding community use fake or spray tans.

Because people can usually tell whether a tan is artificial or not, doing this typically has the opposite impact. If you’re a bodybuilder, you shouldn’t feel guilty about applying fake tan. You’re not just acting this way out of insecurities; you have valid reasons as well.

Real, practical uses for artificial tan exist among bodybuilders. Whether you’re a bodybuilder or not, you should put more effort into overcoming your fears than trying to fake something like your skin tone. Most fake tans aren’t that deep, and most people think they look too unnatural.

In the end, spray tans are significantly less risky for skin cancer than true tans. If you’re a bodybuilder, go ahead with the spray tan, but if not, it might be best to hold off.

Effect of ‘Fake Tans’ on Your Health

We all certainly already know this, but tanning from the sun or a bed is extremely terrible for your skin. Your skin is exposed to harmful UV radiation when you use a tanning bed or go to the beach to get a tan.

Young people who use tanning beds significantly increase their risk of skin cancer by 75%. That wasn’t a typo, either. Despite the increased risk of skin cancer, this causes your skin to look aged and wrinkled over time.

Spray tans, however, are a lot safer. They are significantly healthier because there is no UV light used. They may not look as wonderful, but there is no cancer danger. Therefore, I would say they are a success.

This does not imply that spray tans are fully risk-free. You are still applying chemicals to your skin, and if you don’t exercise caution, you risk getting into trouble.

Inhaling the fumes is a significant risk of spray tanning. Asthma, COPD, and possibly lung cancer have all been linked to inhaling these substances, according to several studies. A new tab is opened.

While this is frightening, as long as you don’t breathe them in, you will be fine. Avoid tanning beds if you’re getting a spray tan for a bodybuilding competition, and seal your mouth.

Criteria’s Bodybuilders Judged On?

A bodybuilding competition might be really intimidating and perplexing if you’ve never participated in one. This being said, once you learn the fundamentals, they will become second nature to you. Here are some of the criteria by which bodybuilders are truly evaluated.

First and foremost, your size, Mass. Let me put it this way: you don’t have a great chance of winning a tournament if you’re young. Despite this, the remaining points in this list demonstrate that being large is not everything. Although it’s not the be all and end all, having large muscles is unquestionably significant. You haven’t seen a skinny bodybuilder in a while, after all.

Definition: Although a little trickier, this one is nonetheless equally significant. If you have defined muscles, you are slim and have less fat on top of them. You look more desirable and attractive as a result since you have less body fat. Consider powerlifters as an example; despite having more body fat than bodybuilders, they are always considerably stronger. You must be thin if you hope to compete in your next bodybuilding competition.

Proportion: Achieving a good proportion can be challenging. Instead than focusing on mere size, proportion aims to achieve an even distribution of muscular development across your body. People who miss leg day are a horrible illustration of this. The fact that their legs are small despite having muscular upper bodies gives them an unbalanced, top-heavy appearance.

Symmetry: There are some similarities and distinctions between symmetry and proportion. When your biceps are symmetrical, which means they are the same size, you may have a good proportion if your pectoral muscles are in balance with your biceps. This one is crucial for competition scoring in order to give your physique a symmetrical, appealing appearance.

Stage Presence: Your on-stage demeanor will determine how well you perform. This could refer to your gait, your level of assurance, or how visually pleasing your poses are. Your tan may also be relevant in this situation. Practice in front of a mirror or enter competitions immediately to improve your stage appearance.

These are all the criteria by which you are evaluated in a competition, although they go into greater detail than what I will discuss here. Keep a look out for a complete piece on this subject that I’m working on as well. In the meantime, simply entering tournaments and finding out what works for you is one of the best ways to improve.

Muscle Building and Body Dysmorphia

Bodybuilding can occasionally cause people to have image issues since it drives you to have an exceedingly competitive body. With body dysmorphia, you become fixated on “flaws” in yourself that truly don’t exist.

Although some people’s self-confidence issues are common, dysmorphia elevates them to a whole new level. You feel terrible about yourself for something that doesn’t exist when you have this illness. Anybody can experience this, but bodybuilding can make it worse.

You need to have the best body you can in order to succeed in the fitness sector, and bodybuilding in particular. Some people have a tendency to become fixated on “problems” that they perceive within themselves, whether or not they actually exist and regardless of whether they have any control over them.

Many people in the bodybuilding and wider weightlifting groups struggle with this problem. Comparing yourself to other bodybuilders will only exacerbate this issue.

Unbelievable as it may seem, fake tans can also affect this. Fake tans are sometimes used by people who are self-conscious about the color of their skin. Again, tanning is not a very complex subject and only accounts for a very small percentage of problems with body image.

Try to avoid comparing yourself to others to fend off dysmorphia. Always try to change yourself if it’s possible, if there’s anything about yourself that you’d like to change. You shouldn’t worry about something if you can’t change it.

Differences Between Powerlifting and Bodybuilding

Powerlifting and bodybuilding differ considerably, even though they are both types of weightlifting. Your body’s appearance and the size of your muscles are significantly more important in bodybuilding.

On the other hand, powerlifting is all about your form when you are lifting as well as your actual strength. Bodybuilding requires far more work than powerlifting, and you need to pay attention to a lot of little things. You can change your course if you’re headed down one path but want to go in a different direction.

However, the majority of weightlifters don’t lift for competition; they exercise to feel and look better. In the end, pursue your interests—whether they lie in powerlifting or bodybuilding—because you can always move between the two.

Some people desire to gain strength quickly, while others want to do so gradually. You should decide which one you wish to pursue because each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Final Verdict

In the complete debate, we wanted to address some general questions, like what tanning is. Why do bodybuilders tan?

The slightest things can determine where you finish in a tournament where judges carefully examine your physique. You also get a tiny lift in definition and muscularity from a dark uniform tan, which could help you place better.

You probably aren’t in a rush to try spray tanning now that you’ve read about it. Although they are not as elaborate, commercial spray tans. And a more natural tan will produce some of the same results.

However, if you decide to use a tanning bed or the sun to obtain a tan, be sure to restrict your exposure to UV rays.


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