Frequently Asked Questions
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. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.