The Perfect Way of Tanning
1. How does tanning work?
Tanning beds use ultraviolet (UV) light to tan people. There are three types of UV; UVA, UVB, and UVC. Tanning beds are designed to concentrate optimal levels of UVA in conjunction with very low percentages of UVB, on the outermost layers of skin so as to stimulate the production of Melanin pigment, which is slightly pink in it’s dormant state, and cause it to turn brown after excretion. The more melanin cells that are present in the skin determine the amount of pigment that will be excreted and distributed, and therefore the extent of the tan. Tanning beds are designed to filter this UVC, as this is a harmful type of UV.
2. How deep can tanning rays really go?
There is an urban legend about a “Roasted Tanner” who supposedly roasted her internal organs by tanning too much. Don’t give it a second thought. A UVA ray (the rays in tanning beds) can only travel as deep as the dermis, which is the middle skin layer. UVB can’t even travel that deep.
3. Why is it important to develop a base tan?
Moderate exposure to UVB helps develop a natural barrier in the skin to protect the body from excessive UV light. UVB stimulates the production of melanin, which then surrounds the core of cells to protect DNA. This melanin substance absorbs and/or scatters radiation. In addition to UVB thickens the epidermis (the top layer of skin), there by limiting the amount of UV light, which could penetrate the lower skin layers. If this photo protection (base tan) is not developed or a sunscreen is not used, sunburn can occur and the DNA of the skin cells may become damaged. Repeated sunburn can result in damaged cells, which then reproduce themselves. This can be the beginning of skin cancer.
4. How often am I allowed to tan?
It is suggested a 24-hour time period to pass between tanning sessions. Pigmentation and/or over-exposure may not be fully visible for 12 to 24 hours after your original session. Two tanning session within a 24 hour period could result in an unintentional burn. Ask your salon for any specific requirements.
5. How long does it take to get a tan?
This depends upon the skin type of each individual as well as the tanning equipment they are using to develop their tan. While some may notice significant results in just a few sessions, it can take others several weeks of tanning three times a week to get their “base tan”. Output of the tanning equipment and the tanning lamps is also a factor.
6 Do I have to sunburn first to obtain a good tan?
Like most activities in life, indoor and outdoor tanning must be done in moderation. A beautiful tan is achievable without overexposure. Reddening is a body’s warning that the skin has been overexposed to ultraviolet light. Do not ignore this warning. If you continue to expose red skin to ultraviolet rays, the skin’s natural repair mechanism becomes overloaded. This may lead to chronic light-induced skin damage in which the resilient fibers of the lower skin layers are harmed, causing them to sag.
7. Does heat matter?
No, the temperature of the tanning unit does not play a roll in you tanning results. You will not receive a better tan if it is scorching hot or average to the touch.
8. I have reached a point that I just can’t get any darker. What can I do?
Your skin actually becomes thicker as your tanning progresses and makes it difficult for UV light to penetrate the upper layers of skin. This is commonly referred to as a tanning “Plateau”. Moisturizer is extremely important at this point. Your skin cells are standing up as much as 45°, and are actually reflecting UV rays. Using a lot of moisturizing lotion will help these cells lay down and become more translucent, there- fore more receptive to UV rays. Our recommendation is to use a good step 1 (or non tingle) tanning lotion for 2 to 3 tans to get your skin softened up then start a rotation with a step 2 (or hot action) tanning lotion. Rotate your tans, two tanning sessions with the step 1 tanning lotions then, one tanning session with the step 2 tanning lotion. Keep this rotation up and use plenty of moisturizer, you will get over your tanning Plateau.
9. My face and legs don’t tan very well. What should I do?
Our face is the only part of our body that does not produce it’s own moisture. Our legs become a little dryer because of clothing, hosiery etc. Fact is that moist skin tans much better that dry skin. Use a moisturizer at least twice daily. This is not only applicable to the face and legs but all parts of your body.
10. A 20-minute session in a tanning bed is equivalent to how many hours in the natural sun?
It is difficult to make a simple comparison between the sun and modern indoor tanning equipment. Just as various kinds of indoor tanning lamps and equipment differ in spectral output and energy emitted, the sun’s strength is dependant on several factors as well, such as the time of day or year, the latitude, cloud cover, pollution and reflection. Consequently, there is no formula for relating indoor tanning exposure times to outdoor exposure times.
11. If a person cannot tan in the sun, will he/she tan indoors?
Normally, a person tans indoors only as well as he/she is able to tan outdoors. Yet, those fair-skinned people who generally cannot tolerate the uncontrolled rays of the sun often achieve some color when tanning indoors. This can be attributed to a different spectral output as well as carefully timed sessions in a controlled tanning environment. Skin type, heredity, and individual photosensitivity all determine who will have success tanning indoors.
12. Is indoor tanning the same as tanning outdoors in the sun?
Yes and no. The process of tanning is the same-skin is tanning by ultraviolet (UV) light. The main difference, however, is that a person can not control the amount of UV light they are exposed to while outside due to changes in the earth’s atmosphere. Also, the sun emits what is called UV light, which is the most harmful of all ultraviolet rays. Tanning beds filter this UVC light out.
13. Do I really need to wear goggles while tanning?
ABSOLUTELY! It is of utmost importance! Your skin can tan-your eyes can’t. Federal law requires all tanning salons to supply customers with proper eye protection. This eyewear must meet federal government standards by blocking 99% of UVA and UVB rays. Closing the eyelids, wearing sunglasses, or using cotton balls over your eyes is not adequate protection as the UV rays will easily penetrate these things and continue into the eyes.
14. How do I prevent “raccoon eyes”?
Adjust your eyewear once in a while during your tanning session will help reduce the demarcation of tanned to non-tanned skin. You can make this adjustment by gently sliding your eyewear to a new position. You should never lift the eyewear off of your eyes during adjustment.
15. Can I tan if I am pregnant?
Please consult your physician. Although we know that there is no danger from UV rays since they cannot penetrate deeper than the dermis (skin layer), pregnant women are advised to be cautious with saunas, hot tubs, and other things that can cause excessive heat to build up in the uterus.
16. Why do some people itch after tanning?
Itching and/or rashes may be linked to several unrelated causes. Some people are naturally photosensitive; that is, they may have an allergy, which becomes symptomatic upon exposure to UV light. Others are susceptible to heat rashes, a cause totally unrelated to UV light. Certain chemicals or ingredients found in cosmetics, lotions, shampoos, and even the acrylic cleaner used on the beds may cause itching as well. Rashes caused by these products generally occur in localized areas on which the products were applied. You should tan with the skin as clean as possible. If discontinued use of a suspected product does not inhibit rash, you should discontinue your exposure to UV light until the condition subsides or see a physician.
17. What causes White Spots?
There are several reasons why white spots become noticeable on the body once the tanning process begins: Patches of skin, which do not tan, could be the result of genetic determination. White spots could also appear due to the presence of a fungus, which lives on the skin’s surface. While the fungus is harmless, it does absorb UV light, which would normally penetrate the skin. This fungus did not appear as a result of tanning; it merely becomes noticeable once tanning occurs. It can be remedied through the use of prescription drugs or topical lotions. White patches of skin, which are often prominent on the shoulder blades and just above the buttocks, can be caused by pressure from the body as it reclines on a hard tanning bed surface. This pressure inhibits the flow of blood through that area of skin. Since blood carries oxygen, which is essential to the tanning process, this area does not tan. Periodic body shifting during tanning will make these patches disappear. Certain medications can react unfavorable with exposure to UV light.
18. Should I shower after a tanning session?
Taking a shower after tanning will not wash your tan away. A natural tan takes 24-48 hours to develop. The tanning process occurs within the epidermis when melanocyte cells are stimulated by ultraviolet light that causes them to produce the pigment melanin. Melanin production results in the tanned appearance of the skin and is the skin’s natural defense against the sun and over-exposure, i.e. sun burning. Melanin travels to the surface, where it eventually flakes off. This process allows us to develop new skin every four to eight weeks. Keeping your skin hydrated and exfoliated will help maintain a more radiant and healthy-looking tan.
19. Should I shower before a tanning session?
A shower is not recommended 1 hour before an indoor tanning session but you should remove any makeup or perfume before the session. Some ingredients in makeup and perfume can make skin more sensitive to UV light and lead to overexposure or sunburn.
20. What causes the scent that I smell after tanning?
In a word, “melanin” is the cause. Ultraviolet light in the UVA range causes melanin to enlarge and turn brown. During the process, dermatologists say a chemical reaction takes place. A natural side effect of the reaction is the aroma. This occurrence is normal whether you’ve been tanning inside or outside. Some tanning lotions have been designed to minimize or prevent the odor from occurring, but ultimately a shower will remove the odor.
21. What should I wear to tan?
That’s up to you! Undress and tan as you wish in swimwear, underwear, etc.
22. Are there certain medications that will make me sensitive to UV exposure?
Yes, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist if you have a question on any of the medications that you are currently taking.
23. How do I protect a fresh tattoo?
It is important not to expose a fresh tattoo to sunlight or indoor tanning equipment, while the tattoo is still healing, since chemicals sensitive to UV exposure have been injected into the skin. Cover the tattooed area completely or don’t tan until the skin has healed. After the skin has healed the chemicals have lost their sensitivity to UV, but continue to take moderate protective measures. Tattoos will continue to lose their brilliancy with exposure to UV light, whether it comes from indoors or from outdoors.
24. Do I have to take my contact lenses out when I use a tanning bed or booth?
No, although you may want to. Although eyewear will protect your eyes and lenses from UV damage, the heat emitted from the tanning equipment may dry out the lenses and irritate your eyes.