Frequently Asked Questions about Indoor Tanning, Spray/Airbrush Tanning, and Red Light Therapy.
If you have a question relating to indoor tanning, sunless (airbrush) spray tanning, or red light therapy that you don’t see an answer for, please contact us directly by filling out the form at the bottom of the page for assistance.
Red Light Therapy
Indoor Tanning Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Indoor Tanning safe?
This is an often disputed question with advocates and critics on both sides. Anyone who has ever researched the issue has heard “there’s no such thing as a safe tan.” However, the sun is responsible for our very existence and through millions of years of evolution our bodies have evolved to intentionally tan. Avoiding the sun at all costs is like avoiding water because people drown in it.
Most of us tan for the beauty of it. However, there are many medical reasons as well, such as for vitamin D, mental health, and even physical health. According to Dr. Lewey, of the University of Oregon, exposure to controlled Ultraviolet rays has a positive psychological effect on most people. A sense of well-being and lessening of depression are experienced by many. According to Dr. Zane Kime, author of “Sunlight Could Save Your Life”, UV sun-tanning rays produce an effect similar to that of physical training, causing a measurable improvement in physical fitness. He goes on to say that “other benefits include: Decrease in blood sugar and blood pressure and an increase in endurance, energy, and strength. UV is known to elevate moods in people and kills pathogens and is linked to the reduction of at least 18 different forms of cancer” and by some estimates helps reduce 4 out of every 5 cancers. Many studies have also shown a SIGNIFICANT reduction of colon, ovarian, and breast cancers among those that tan regularly. The fatality rates of colon and breast cancers are between 20-65 percent and claim 138,000 lives every year in the USA. Osteoporosis, a bone disease that is inhibited by regular sun exposure, affects 25 million Americans with 1.5 million osteoporosis patients suffering bone fractures per year, which can be fatal in elderly cases. Studies have shown that non-tanners sunburn more often than those that tan indoors. According to NBC’s “Today Show” and the Associated Press, sun exposure prevents more forms of cancer than are caused by it. In short, there are many positive effects of the sun.
Despite the many good reasons to tan, tanners should also be aware that there are negative effects especially when overexposure (sunburn) occurs and according to the National Cancer Institute, approximately one-third of one percent (0.003) of Americans are told they have skin cancer each year. There are two types of skin cancer–melanoma and non-melanoma–with the most threatening being malignant melanoma. Melanoma, which is the rarest kind, is estimated to account for 75% of all skin cancer deaths, (roughly 8,000 deaths annually,) the majority of whom are fair-skinned men over 50 years of age and who worked indoors. However, melanoma most often appears on parts of the body that do not receive regular sun exposure and is more common in people who work indoors than in those who work outdoors and appears to be linked to hereditary. The conventional thinking is that people who are in the sun frequently are less susceptible to sunburns–a leading cause of skin damage. This helps explain why outdoor workers aren’t as likely to get melanoma. While we do not yet conclusively know the exact cause of skin cancer, it does appear that UV exposure (and sunburn in particular) are contributors.
Overall, those that tan (both indoors and outdoors) should realize that like most things in life, there are both positive and negative effects. Moderation and education are the keys to safer tanning. Our goal at Sun Splash Tans is to minimize the negative effects of tanning through education and superior modern equipment while maximizing the positive to ensure the best possible experience.
- Why tan at Sun Splash?
All tanning salons are NOT the same. The tanning results you get will vary wildly depending on the tanning equipment, the frequency of lamp changes, and just overall maintenance. We know there are many factors that go into your decision, such as how close the salon is to your home, how expensive they are, etc. We encourage you to NOT just go with the first salon you find, but to do a bit of homework and even visit several salons to see how clean the store is, how well the beds are maintained, how knowledgeable to the staff is, and how the experience is as a whole. Here are just a few reasons why you can expect only the best from Sun Splash tans.
- How old do I have to be to Indoor Tan?
In Hawaii, you must be 18 years or older to tan in a tanning bed. Before being permitted to tan, you will be asked to present a valid photo ID that includes your date of birth on it. For those under 18, a sunless tan is an option.
- What results should I expect.
Because we are all so wonderfully unique, we all tan very differently. Tanning potential varies significantly based on your ethnicity, hair color, and many other factors. To determine your tanning potential, Sun Splash has created an online Skin Type analyzer tool to get you started. When you come in for your first visit, our trained staff will assist you to determine your needs and set expectations.
- What is a tan?
A tan is the darkening of the outermost layer of skin (epidermal) from exposure to the sun or comparable ultraviolet (UV) light, which causes melanocytes to increase their production of melanin to the skin. When stimulated by the shorter waves of UVB light, the melanocytes produce melanin. The melanin then moves up through the epidermis and is absorbed by other skin cells. When exposed to the longer waves of UVA light, the melanin oxidizes or darkens, producing a tan. In short, UVB synthesizes pigment, while UVA ensures their oxidation. Together, the two create a tan. The more melanin production, the darker the skin.
A tan is your body’s way of creating its own natural SPF (sun protection factor). Over thousands of years, those closer to the equator needed more protection from the intensity of the sun and thus evolved to continuously produce melanin resulting in darker skin. Those farther from such intensity found light skin was more efficient and evolved to only produce melanin when needed. Yet seasonal changes, such as hot summers, meant that the protection of darker skin was sometimes needed, and thus the ability to tan developed. A good tan for a normal Caucasian person is equal to about SPF 4, which means it takes 4 times longer before mild sunburn sets in. Using SPF 15, for example, means it takes 15 times longer before sunburn sets in.
Unfortunately, that does not tell us much about how long we should stay in the sun. That depends on your skin type, which is a whole different topic. A sunburn, by contrast, results when your body can no longer process the UV rays and tiny blood vessels in the skin burst resulting in the redness that we see. A sunburn does NOT turn into a tan and should be avoided at all costs since sunburn is most distinctly associated with skin damage, such as skin cancer. On the other hand, moderate tanning (not burning) has been shown to have many positive benefits. For a better understanding of UV rays, see “What are the different types of Ultraviolet Radiation.”
For a better understanding of UV rays, see “What are the different types of Ultraviolet Radiation.”
- What are the different types of Ultraviolet Radiation?
The sun puts out three different types of ultraviolet radiation (UV): UVC, UVB, and UVA. According to NASA, UVC rays are the most harmful but fortunately are completely absorbed by the ozone layer and normal oxygen. UVB rays–often called the “burning rays”–are mostly absorbed by the ozone layer, but a portion of UVB rays do get through. UVA is NOT absorbed by the ozone.
UVB is typically the most destructive form of UV radiation to reach us here on Earth because if overexposure occurs, it has enough energy to cause photochemical damage to cellular DNA, which means it can damage your skin. UVB effects can include erythema (sunburn), cataracts, and the development of skin cancer if overexposure occurs. UVA is the most commonly encountered type of UV light. UVA exposure has an initial pigment-darkening effect (tanning) followed by erythema if the exposure is excessive. Atmospheric ozone absorbs very little of this part of the UV spectrum. UVA is needed by humans for the synthesis of vitamin D. Most phototherapy and tanning booths use lamps that primarily produce UVA with a hint of UVB, which is required to kick-start the tanning process.
- Why don’t I look darker when I’ve just come from tanning?
Don’t be surprised if when you leave a tanning salon your color is only slightly darker. It will continue to darken over the next few hours as your body reacts and produces skin pigmentation. Your results will also vary quite a bit depending on your skin type. People with fairer skin may find it takes several weeks before a base tan is firmly established while others will see immediate and sweeping bronzing.
- How long will my tan last?
The length of time it takes before your tan completely fades varies slightly from person to person and depends on the depth of your tan. However, the epidermal (outer layers of skin) is constantly and slowly renewing itself with the regenerating process taking approximately one month for all layers to reach the surface and be shed. In short, your tan will not likely last more than one month.
- Do I really need eye protection?
A tan is created by UV rays penetrating the upper layers of your skin. The skin around your eyes is the thinnest in your body and UV light can easily penetrate that skin to reach your eyes even when your eyes are closed. Repeated unprotected exposure to UV light (whether indoor or from Mother Nature) may cause long-term damage to your eyes. In fact, the eyes are very sensitive and any damage that happens to them is cumulative, which is why as kids so many of us are told to never look directly at the sun. Here at Sun Splash, we want to ensure that your eyes are well-protected. All of our tanning eyewear complies with at least the minimum Federal Regulation 21 CFR 1040.20, which states that indoor tanning eyewear transmits less than 0.1 percent of UVB, and less than 1 percent of UVA as proved in carefully controlled tests. In short, it is important that you always protect your eyes whether it be while tanning indoors or when outdoors. Besides, you have nothing to lose!
- Why do I need tanning lotion?
Just about everyone benefits from using a good quality tanning lotion. The skin is constantly drying out. Although it replenishes, it is often not quickly or adequately enough, especially for the tanner. Dry skin has many negative consequences including reflecting UV light (reducing the results from tanning) and leaving the skin feeling less soft and more inelastic. Tanning lotions help in three ways:
1. Intensify tanning results. Salon-quality indoor tanning lotions are created to react specifically to UV rays to help you tan as quickly, evenly, and as fully as is naturally possible. Unlike most retail-bought lotions, many indoor tanning salon lotions are specially formulated to temporarily stimulate the skin to oxygenate more quickly during tanning resulting in a richer and darker tan with up to 70% more color.
2. Get a longer-lasting tan. Indoor tanning lotions re-moisturize and care for your skin to create a beneficial, soft skin barrier helping you to both tan faster and to have a longer-lasting tan.
3. Condition the skin. Indoor tanning lotions have many other ingredients in them to care for your skin, such as anti-oxidants, to minimize any sun damage. Have you ever skipped the condition when washing your hair? You probably noticed your hair felt dry and rough. Your skin reacts the same way when lotion isn’t used.
Your skin is like a rubber band. If left out in the sun with nothing on it, it is much more likely to become damaged, dry, and crack. However, the same rubber band left outside in the sun will retain its soft-elastic feel much longer when a good lubricant is used on it. Since most professional-grade lotion manufacturers prohibit the sale of indoor tanning lotions at retail chains, the best (and likely only) location to buy a quality tanning lotion is from an indoor tanning salon.
Sunless (Airbrush) Frequently Asked Questions
- What is sunless tanning?
Sunless tanning is the process by which the skin color is darkened from exposure to a colorless sugar-based hygroscopic crystalline powder compound called dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA combines with the amino acids in the outermost 25% of the skin causing them to form brown-colored melaninoids giving the skin the appearance of a tan.
DHA was first discovered in the 1920s by German scientists doing X-ray experiments. The exact process they used to first discover DHA is not clear, but it was derived from sugar beets and sugar cane. After contact with the skin, the scientists noticed it turned the skin brown. Nothing much happened with DHA for 20 or so years after that. Then it was used to treat vitiligo, which is a rare skin depigment disorder. Finally In 1960 Coppertone commercialized it as a sunless tanning produce and it introduced QT or Quick Tanning. The color was not very authentic and the sunless market was nearly destroyed before it got started. In the 1970s the Food and Drug Administration added DHA to their list of approved cosmetic ingredients. It wasn’t until sometime in the 1980s that the cosmetic companies refined the processing giving much better and more consistent results [browner, rather than orange] with DHA. Today the color has been perfected and users find the results to be excellent and natural-looking.
- Why sunless tanning?
Sunless tanning is a great alternative or complement to a UV-based tan. In addition to the same reasons individuals tan indoors, sunless tanning does not include any UV rays, which allows tanners to tan more often without any concern for overexposure. Furthermore, those with fair skin may find they achieve much better results than just UV-based tanning
- Can I combine sunless and sun tanning?
YES! In fact, that’s what many do since it allows tanners to achieve an even darker tan that lasts longer than a sunless tan alone.
- Is sunless tanning safe?
Sunless tanning is FDA approved and does not involve any ultraviolet rays. The sugar-based compound (DHA) interacts ONLY with skin cells that are already dead posing no known side effects.
Red Light Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Red Light exposure safe?
Red light therapy is a non-invasive, cost-effective, alternative treatment to many skin beautification products. There are no UV rays in red light therapy and it was originally designed by NASA to treat wounds. However, those who are especially sensitive to light should use extra care. It is always a good idea to talk to a doctor before starting.
- How often do I need to go?
Two to three times a week (about every 3 days) is adequate for nearly everyone. Going more often than that generally does not produce a significant difference.
- Is there any other benefit to using the Beauty Angel?
The Beauty Angel offers not only state-of-the-art red light exposure, but also has a vibrating pad that you stand on to stimulate muscles for toning and general well-being.
- How long do the benefits of red light therapy last?
The effects from red light therapy are temporary. Generally, it takes about 7 to 10 sessions to see results, though many say they feel the benefits before that. Once stopped, your cells will again go back to their normal pre-exposure status meaning fine lines and such will return after about three months. Other benefits may continue for longer or may be permanent.
- Where can I learn more about Red Light Therapy?
For more information about red light therapy, visit www.redlighttherapyhonolulu.com or Google the term “red light therapy”.