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How does tanning work?

Tanning beds use ultraviolet (UV) light to tan people. There are three types of UV; UVA, UVB, 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 the UVC, as this is a harmful type of UV.


Why should I tan?

Moderate exposure to UVB helps develop a natural barrier in the skin to protect the body from excessive UV light. The application of light is absolutely essential to all life on earth yet there are various reasons, both biological and psychological, why exposure to light is desirable. In addition, most people believe they look better with a tan. Thus, having a tan can provide a psychological up lift for some.


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.


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 cell to protect DNA. This melanin substance absorbs and/or scatters radiation. In addition the 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 and can become the beginning of skin cancer.


How often am I allowed to tan?

Regulations only allow one tan session in a 24 hr. period. The skin continues to tan 24-48 hours after your session so don’t be concerned about not seeing results right away. This rule is to help maximize tanning while minimizing the risk of burning. It’s all about control – something you don’t get outside.


Do I have to sunburn first to obtain a good tan?

Sunburn does not fade into a tan. Sunburn indicates overexposure to UV light and actually damages the skin. We promote smart, moderate tanning for those individuals who can develop a tan. The golden rule of tanning is simple – DON’T EVER SUNBURN!


Will I be tan after the first session?

Not likely. The skin needs a few sessions to gradually develop the self defense mechanism know as a tan. This process cannot be sped up. The length of time it will take to get a tan depends on the skin type of each individual. 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.


I tanned 10 minutes the other day, can I tan 20 minutes today?

We definitely do not recommend this because there is a very good chance that you will burn. We recommend you only increase up to 2 minutes each time you tan, this way you can build your tan without the chance of burning. In general, following the recommended exposure schedule and the recommendation of your tanning consultant will provide the best results.


How does indoor tanning expose compared to the natural sun?

The process of tanning is the same - skin is tanning by UV light. Those who tan indoors are exposed to a scientifically calibrated amount of light.  When used in accordance with the FDA exposure guidelines (posted on each unit) tanning beds are designed to maximize tanning without burning. The main difference is tanning outdoors is an unregulated environment. A person cannot control the amount of UV light they are exposed to due to changes in the earth’s atmosphere. Also, the sun emits what is called UVC light which is the most harmful rays – Tanning beds filter the UVC rays out!!


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 dependent 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.


What causes white patches/spots?

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. 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.


Also, patches of skin, which do not tan, could be the result of genetic determination.


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.


Can tanning beds cook your internal organs? (Urban Legend)

No! UVA with your average tanning bed penetrates about 2mm deep (about the thickness of cardboard) into the body, UVB is even less. Tanning beds are NOT nor do they work like a microwave oven.


My face and legs don’t tan the same as the rest of me?

Moist skin tans better than dry skin. The face and legs are naturally low in moisture and become dryer with normal activities. Keep your skin moisturized with hydrating lotions morning and night and drink plenty of water. You can use an indoor tanning lotion specifically designed for those areas and/or occasionally tan in our Classic Leg Tanner and use Tahitian Tan Mist for your face. Tahitian Tan Mist gives you a beautiful tanned face without tanning your face, protecting you from the UV!


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. Your eyelids are you the thinnest skin on your body and you only have one set of eyes. Protect your eyes!


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.


Is it harmful to wear contact lenses when tanning indoors?

It is not advised. Although wearing the provided protective eyewear will protect your eyes from ultraviolet light, the heat generated while tanning could cause drying and discomfort. If you are going to wear contacts while tanning, it is recommended to use moisturizing drops prior to your tanning session.


Can I tan if I am pregnant?

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. Please check with your Doctor.


Is it possible to contract AIDS or other STD’s from a tanning bed?

People cannot contract diseases from properly sanitized, well maintained tanning beds. Disease specialists have said that no evidence exists to prove that sanitized tanning units have spread diseases. We use a disinfectant that is proven to kill 99.9% of all bacteria.  It is the same disinfectant used on surgical equipment in hospitals.


Are there certain medications that will make me sensitive to UV exposure:

Yes. Always check with your physician or pharmacist.

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