Tanning 101: the do's and don'ts
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Updated: Sunday, July 19, 2009 05:07
It's inevitable. No matter how many articles come out lecturing about the dangers of tanning, people are still going to do it, especially with Spring Break just around the corner. So, instead of wasting more time and space telling students they shouldn't go at all, here are the facts about how to do it as safely as possible.
Julie Cullen, a university senior and Tan Inn Employee, agrees that the best way to be safe is by wearing protective eyewear, using a good quality lotion and following the recommended time limits.
"As far as eye wear, the best way to protect your eyes is by using UV protected goggles to protect you from the UV light," Cullen says.
Stacy Bolinger, a university junior and Hollywood Tan employee, says protective eyewear is essential.
"Any approved type of eyewear is a must," Bolinger says. "Your eyelids aren't thick enough to protect your eyes from the sun. They won't get tan, you will just burn your retinas."
In addition to eyewear, Bolinger says wearing lotion is important because not only will skin most likely burn without it, but the light evaporates the moisture in skin and the lotion is used to replace it.
Along with lotion, SPF chapstick is necessary as well, since lips have no melanin and they will burn, not tan, according to Bolinger.
But, before lathering up with lotion, potential tanners should know there are some lotions that will enhance their tan, and others that will obstruct it.
"Lotions with anti-oxidants A and E are the best," Cullen says. "These lotions don't offer UV protection but help the skin. Lotions like Jergens and Bath and Body Works dry skin out and the mineral oils block the UV so you don't get as tan."
Cullen says although lotion keeps the skin hydrated and provides a longer-lasting tan, there are certain skin types which will react differently to specific lotions.
To put it in simpler terms, the wrong combination of skin type and lotion can have the common and dreadful result of orange-looking skin.
"As long as you rotate beds and don't just use the highest one you can avoid looking orange," Cullen says. "If you do normally get dark, go lighter on the bronzer."
Along with getting the right tanning accessories, it's just as crucial for each customer to learn about what type of skin tone he or she has, as time limits vary for all types.
According to Cullen, there are six types of skin.
"When someone signs up, we do a skin analysis to find out what type they are," Cullen says. "For example, the base tone can't do anything but a spray tan. We also recommend only tanning one to three times a week."
Bolinger agrees, saying skin that burns in the sun will burn in the tanning bed.
"Just like in the sun, you have to take it easy and work yourself up to the higher bed and longer time," she says.
Cullen says fortunately for people who are apprehensive about getting into a tanning bed, there's the safer alternative of mystic, or spray tan, which is FDA-approved and contains no UV light.
Junior Ali Burke says she chooses spray tanning over regular tanning.
"I go spray tanning because it's not known to cause cancer," Burke says. "It doesn't give you wrinkles and it's moisturizing and evens out your skin tone."
Cullen says the mystic tan doesn't get streaky and it's recommended for people with fair skin.
Bolinger says if customers have a specific event they would like to be tan for, they should spray tan prior to the occasion to test it out, then come again the day before as well.
So, for all of the Spring Breakers desperate to have a smooth base tan before even boarding the plane, talk to the tanning experts at your salon to learn the right precautions for enhancing a healthy tan appropriate for your skin type, Bolinger says, don't just fry yourself.
"The known tanning myth, a burn will turn into a tan, is not true," she says. "By getting burnt you are only drying out and damaging your skin, not tanning it."