What is the tanning process?



Tanning takes place in the skin’s outermost layer, the epidermis. This layer contains cells called melanocytes which, when stimulated with ultraviolet (UVB) light, produce melanin. Melanin is the dark pigment found throughout the layers of the skin. The melanin then moves up through the epidermis and is absorbed by the skin cells. When exposed to UVA light, the melanin darkens, producing a tan. Both the UVA and UVB components of the ultraviolet light are needed to produce the protective condition we call a tan.


Can I get a tan after one session?


Not usually. The skin needs a few tanning sessions to allow the skin to oxidize its melanin, darken and produce a tan. This process cannot be rushed. Your tan will begin to deepen within 3-5 sessions, depending upon the amount of melanin within your skin.


If I never can get a tan outside because I burn, can I get a tan indoors?


If repeated sunburns, and frequent exposures are needed to get an outdoor tan, it may be possible to acquire an indoor tan without the burning that is often associated with the tanning process. You would need to begin with a short exposure time, and increase it very gradually. Consistency is also important; 2-3 tans (depending upon the strength of the equipment) each week for several weeks should yield the desired effect. However, if you NEVER tan from the sun, you will not tan from tanning lamps, since they emit the same spectrum of tanning rays as the sun.


How often should I tan?


In order to build a tan, tan regularly. Don’t let too much time go by between visits, or your tan will begin to fade. It is suggested that you wait 36-48 hours in between each session to allow your tan to fully develop between visits. You can build up your tan by gradually increasing indoor tan-time and tanning two to three times a week. Once you have a tan, you can maintain it by tanning one or two times a week. At Endless Summer Tan, we require customers to wait at least 24 hours between tanning sessions because a tan can take up to 24 hours to emerge, and the risk of burning is greatly increased during that time.


What causes a tan to fade?


Tanning takes place in the top layer of skin, the epidermis. This outer layer, with oxidized melanocytes, is shed every 30 days, causing the tan to fade. Indoor heating, hot water and harsh soaps can hasten the fading process. Well-moisturized skin, increased water intake, neutral ph soap and showering in warm water can increase the longevity of your tan. Regular tanning sessions are also needed to maintain a great tan.


When shouldn’t I tan?


It is not recommended to tan if you are taking photosensitizing medication. If you aren’t sure, check warning labels on the medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist, or consult the list of sensitizing medications posted in the lobby. These medications can greatly increase your risk of overexposure.


Do I need to protect my lips?


Absolutely! Lips will burn easily and repeatedly unless you protect them with lip balms or sunscreen.


Is eye protection really necessary?


Yes. The FDA requires protection for the eyes. Night blindness, lack of color perception, retinal ulcers and eventual blindness are consequences of not protecting the eyes. Using a towel, coins, cotton balls or regular sunglasses are not acceptable alternatives.


How do I prevent racoon eyes?


Adjusting the protective eyewear occasionally during a tanning session will help minimize this condition. The adjustment can be performed by gently sliding the eyewear to a new position. You should never lift the eyewear off your eyes to adjust their position.


Can I wear my contact lenses while tanning?


Because tanning naturally draws moisture from the body, eyes are sometimes inconvenienced with contacts that lose moisture, too. Even with protective eyewear, eyes can dry out a little. Removing contacts before tanning can be beneficial. Moisture can be drawn from the lens itself, shortening the longevity of the lens. If tanning while wearing contacts, use moisturizing drops prior to or just after the tanning session to prevent temporary discomfort.


Can I tan in the nude?


Yes, but proceed with care! Cover all previously unexposed areas for the majority of your tanning session for the first few visits. Leave your swimming suit or underwear on and remove clothing for the last few minutes of tanning, thus slowly exposing the skin. Gradually increase the exposure to these areas, giving the skin time to build melanin production and avoiding painful burning to sensitive areas.


Does tanning indoors have the same effect as tanning outdoors?


Yes. The advantage to indoor tanning is “control.” You always know what you’re getting from an individual tanning session. It is very precise, calculated, controlled exposure designed to give you a cosmetically pleasing tan without burning your skin. Outdoor tanning is an uncontrolled environment, making it easier to burn.


How many hours of sunbathing is a 15-minute tan?


It is difficult to make a direct comparison between the sun and indoor tanning equipment. As each type of indoor tanning lamps and equipment differ in UVA and UVB output and energy emitted, the sun’s strength is dependent on several factors. The time, day, season, the latitude, and cloud cover must all be considered. Consequently, there is no formula for relating indoor tanning exposure times to outdoor exposure times. It is far more important to be aware of the maximum exposure-time of the tanning unit you are using and adjust tan-time down when using stronger units.


Is indoor tanning a smart idea or worth it?


Research suggests the benefits of regular, moderate sun exposure may outweigh the risks of overexposure, which easily can be minimized by avoiding sunburn. Moderate indoor tanning– for individuals who can develop a tan– is the smartest way to minimize the risk of contracting sunburn while maximizing the enjoyment and benefit of having a tan. Tanning is also the main source of the body’s production of vitamin D. This is a vital component in muscle weakness, risk of bone fractures and even cancer as we age. Indoor tanning clients are exposed to a controlled dosage of ultraviolet light carefully formulated to produce a tan and minimize the risk of sunburn. It may be a more reasonable decision to tan indoors.


Can I use any lotion I want while tanning?


Please do not use any outdoor tanning lotions or oils at Endless Summer Tan because they will damage the acrylic surfaces of our equipment.


Is it okay for pregnant women to tan indoors?


One concern about pregnant women tanning is the heat. Remember that the temperature around the baby remains relatively constant at 98.6 degrees, so the baby can take a little heat, but the same amounts of heat that would cause anyone to be uncomfortable (e.g. sauna, hot tub, hot sun during the summer) will also make the baby uncomfortable. It is suggested that if pregnant, you tan during the morning hours and with a doctor’s permission.


For more information on indoor tanning: www.tanningtruth.com

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