UV Tanning Frequently Asked Questions
Why do people tan indoors?
Convenience. You can tan day or night, rain or shine, summer or winter. It's a controlled environment. The UV output is predictable. After completing your customized skin type analysis, your tanning consultant will recommend a tanning unit and exposure schedule based on your tanning goals and skin type. You tan at your convenience.
Are the rays you get indoors the same as the sun?
The sun and sun lamps emit UVA and UVB. UVB starts your melanin (tanning pigment) production, the UVA oxidizes the melanin which gives your skin its tan appearance. You get the same color tanning indoors as you would outdoors, but in a more controlled environment. Some people with fair skin will actually develop more color indoors because the tanning process is controlled and gradual.
How long will it take me to get a tan?
This depends on your skin type, your ability to tan and the tanning unit you choose to tan in. The Diamond level units will develop a tan in 4-6 sessions when you come in every other day. Platinum level will tan you in 4-7 sessions and the Silver level will tan you in 7-10 sessions. No matter the unit, you need to tan every other day to obtain your color.
How do I keep my tan?
This depends on skin type and how dark you like your skin. In the Diamond level you would need to tan once every 7-10 days, the Platinum level once every 7 days, and on the Silver level 2-3 times per week. Using indoor tanning lotions and after tan extenders helps to preserve the life of your tan.
How long will my tan last?
Your skin replaces and renews itself every 28-30 days. A tan will not last more than a week or two depending on your skin type and the health of your skin. That's why maintenance tanning and using quality indoor tanning lotions and extender moisturizers is so important.
Lighter skin requires more time to build a tan and more sessions to maintain the tan. Your tanning consultant will advise a tanning schedule for you with your goals in mind.
What should I wear while tanning?
Some tanners prefer no tan lines. If this is your first time tanning nude, we recommend you cover sensitive areas for part of your exposure with swimwear, underclothes, or you may ask for extra towels.
Lips have no melanin, you should use lip balm with a sunscreen. Tattoos and scars should be covered with bandages or sunscreen.
I'm hearing a lot about vitamin D and its effects on health, I've read you can get D from sunlight, but can you get vitamin D in a tanning bed?
You sure can. Vitamin D is made naturally by UVB from sunlight and UVB in tanning lamps is the same UVB that's in sunlight but delivered in a more controlled, convenient environment.
I've heard from friends that people have fried their internal organs by going from spa to spa to bypass the recommended tanning time. Can this really happen?
That was “The Myth of the Roasted Tanner” that started circulating in the 1980's that persists to this day. It even made the cover of the book, Urban Legends.
This legend was dispelled by Discovery Channel years ago. On a myth busters segment they placed raw chicken on a tanning bed for several hours and kept the bed running. Not only did the chicken not cook, it barely got warm. It just turned a gnarly gray color.
This should have put the myth to rest, but sometimes people like to hang on to certain beliefs even after proven wrong. Going from spa to spa will not fry your organs but will probably give you a severe sunburn.
Can I tan when I'm on medication?
Some medications and cosmetics can be photosensitive. This can mean a greater potential for sunburn, rash or hives, or an itchy feeling after tanning. The best thing to do is check your prescription instructions or ask your pharmacist if you can be in sunlight while taking the medication. If not, you should refrain from any sun until you finish your medication, wait 24-48 hours (ask your pharmacist for advice) and then resume tanning, Remember to advise your tanning consultant that you were on medication so we can adjust your tanning exposure schedule. You'll probably have to decrease your time.
Fragrances, over the counter medications even pre-natal vitamins can be sun sensitive for some people. If you develop any reaction after tanning, please let your tanning consultant know right away or email an owner or manager.
Which tanning units tan best?
The Diamond level units produce the most UV rays, will tan you the fastest, and will require fewer maintenance sessions. The Diamond level has more lamps, are roomier and generally run cooler. They are great for tanners that have little time to devote to tanning.
Platinum level units will produce a tan quickly and require a few more sessions to maintain your color than a Diamond level unit. They have fewer lamps equating to less tanning surface area. Great for a Cadillac lifestyle on a budget.
The Silver level units are for tanners with more time than money. The tan will develop over 7-10 sessions tanning every other day. Maintenance tanning will require 2-3 sessions per week. Great for people with seasonal affective disorder who are looking for more time under the sunlamps.
As with most things it comes down to personal preferences, but at Solar Planet we have a tanning unit just for you. Any bed will tan you and you can start your tan in any level. We adjust your tanning time based on your skin type, your stage of tanning and the tanning unit you choose to use.
I hear you tan better when the sunbeds are hot. Is this true?
Actually, the opposite is true. While sunlamps do run hot just after a lamp change, they start to run hot again at the end of the lamp life.
You may feel as if you get more color when tanning on a unit that's just been used, but the darker color is more heat flush than a real tan. You'd get the same flushed appearance to your skin after exercising.
Why do I get a gray brown appearance to my skin after tanning?
We call that IPD or Immediate Pigment Darkening, a combination heat flush and some existing melanin oxidizing. The real tan, delayed tanning, happens 24-48 hours after your session. Most people will notice their peak color the day or two after their session. This is why we ask you to tan every other day. We do not want you to sunburn. It's important to wait at least 24 hours between sessions to be sure you have no pinkness to your skin.
I saw no color after my first session, is there something wrong with the lamps?
If you have not tanned within the last 30 days you have no melanin in the upper layer of your skin. The UVB stimulates the melanocyte to release melanin, bringing it to the skin's surface, then the UVA will turn the pigment brown. It is a cumulative process and does not happen in one session. That's why your tanning consultant will advise you to tan every other day as long as you do not experience sunburn.
You will develop a tan over 4-6 sessions in the Diamond and Platinum units and in 7-10 sessions in the Silver level units if you come in every other day.
Should I wait a certain amount of time after tanning to shower or bathe?
For best results you should wait at least two hours after tanning with a bronzer before showering. The DHA needs time to react with the proteins in your skin.
Proper skin care keeps your skin glowing and healthy and healthy skin tans best. Remember to moisturize daily and use tanning lotions approved for sunbed use. California Tan products are specially formulated for tanners and are safe on sunbed acrylics.
How do I know that the tanning units are clean?
All Solar Planet consultants and staff are trained in the proper sanitation of tanning equipment. The disinfectant used is hospital quality and destroys strep, staph (MRSA), and many other contagious organisms. Cleanliness is our #1 priority.
Do I have to wear goggles? I really hate raccoon eyes.
It is very important for all tanners to wear eyewear when using any tanning equipment. UV light can cause permanent eye damage, such as the formation of cataracts, loss of night vision, loss of color and peripheral vision. Closing your eyes, putting coins or cotton balls over your eyes will not prevent UV light from penetrating your eye lids.
All Solar Planet tanners are required to purchase and wear personal eye protection. We offer many varieties to fit the shape of your eye.
Skin around the eyes has minimal melanin so tanning is difficult to achieve around the eye. Bronzers and foundations can help. Using eye shields and moving eyewear slightly may help. Ask you Solar Planet tanning consultant for their tanning techniques.
Liberating, I will definitely airbrush again.