A Collection of Spray Tan Horror Stories.

Now that the weather's starting to heat up, we've noticed a certain segment of the population coming out of hibernation.

Yes, hibernation. I mean, that's the only explanation, right? How else could it be that everyone's looking so pale these days? It's not like the sun just disappears when it's not summertime.

Anyway, there's good news on the immediate horizon: With all the patio and pool time on everyone's docket in the coming months, even the palest of the pale seem primed to be exuding a healthy glow soon.

Well, if they're careful. Getting too eager too soon on the tanning front often just means getting burned. The trick, of course, is easing into the process. Because, without a good base tan going, any one of these activities can result in a pretty dicey situation.

So here's our recommendation: Ease into it. Spending a few minutes outdoors with a healthy application of sunscreen should do the trick.

Conversely, don't listen to those friends of yours who'll tease you with possible shortcuts toward getting your tan on this summer. Specifically, we beg you to avoid spray tanning at pretty much all costs. Although this shortcut might seem like a good jump-starting option at first, trust us, it is not. Nobody has ever gotten a “realistic” spray tan in the history of ever. Sorry, that's just not a thing that exists.

Don't just take our word for it, though. Over the course of the past few weeks, we asked a number of Central Track readers to share with us their worst experiences in battling the great orange beast. They agreed — so long as we agreed in turn to keep their identities anonymous and save them a little bit of embarrassment. We did.

As you read on, let each one of these tales serve as a reminder that spray tans are, in fact, the devil. So don't get one, OK?

• “The worst thing I can think of is spray tanning in the dead of summer and then getting into a toasty car with leather interior. They say to not go out into the rain after you spray tan because the rain drops will make you streak, but they don't warn you against sweaty ass cheeks in a hot car. Literally, my butt looked like tie-dye, and it was obvious my swamp ass was the culprit. Long story short: Spray tan plus white panties equals poo poo stains.”

• “One time, I got strange orangey skid marks on all of my clothes, and it made for an awkward laundry day a few days later with my then-boyfriend. Just do yourself a favor and don't wear underwear at all. If you think regular skid marks are bad, try explaining the orange ones. You can't. And those stains don't come out.”

• “Something I wish I would have thought about before being sprayed is that none of my makeup was going to match my face anymore. The one and only successful spray tan that I've ever experienced resulted in me running to the drug store and dropping $30 more dollars on shitty makeup that was three shades darker than my usual stuff. My tan lasted about nine days, after which I was stuck with a $90 worth of shitty orange makeup that I never used again.”

• “I once did a spray tan that made me smell like stale popcorn for a whole week. That was embarrassing enough.”

• “A quick word of advice: Don't ever think that you can do that shit by yourself at home. I made the mistake of thinking I could apply some St. Tropez self-tanning lotion to myself at home before prom, and it turned out to be a huge disaster. Not only did it not dry in time — apparently that shit takes hours — but it smelled so bad that my date actually asked me if I had spent the day painting someone's house. So I just told him, 'Oh, sure, I love painting houses. That's what it is.'”

• “I had a boyfriend in middle school get super freaked out by my toes that were streaked with spray tan. He told all of his friends I had nasty fungus feet and, the more I tried to explain, the more guilty I looked. It followed me to high school. So I moved to Texas.”

• “I once made the mistake of thinking it'd be cool to spray-and-go. I was on the way to a event and I thought, 'Oh, I'll just stop by the salon and get a quick spray. I'm going to look so good and everyone is going to be so jealous!' Big mistake. I looked horrible and didn't have time to fix it. And it looks even worse in the summer. One time, I decided to spray tan before an all-day festival and it resulted in sweating the spray tan off and staining all of my clothes. It was a waste of money and it ruined my shirt. I wished I wouldn't have wasted my time.”

• “A few years ago, I threw a Katy Perry party. On the day of, I went to tan and my friend told me I should just go ahead and get a spray tan because it came free with the bed tanning membership I bought. So I decided to go for it. It started out really pretty and bronzy and subtle. But then it started getting darker and more orange every thirty minutes. I had already done my makeup in these light, cotton candy colors and I was wearing pale colors. By the time the party started, I was bright orange with scary ass makeup.”

• 'Whenever I spray tan, the area in between my boobs gets real weird looking. It gets all patchy and dark. It's super gross.”

• “If you don't apply lotion to your knees, fingers, toes or anywhere else that there's excess skin hanging around, you're going to be orange there, and there's nothing you can do about it. And it's not just applying lotion; it's really slapping that shit on there good. The first time I spray tanned, the lady told me to apply some lotion to my toes and fingers. Apparently 'applying' means 'pouring that shit on there real good' because I applied the lotion like I normally do, and it wasn't nearly enough. Did I already mention that this shit won't come off?”

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