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WHY DO PEOPLE TAN?
Light is essential to all life on earth. Exposure to light is desirable for both psychological and biological reasons. Many societies equate some skin color as attractive. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that indicates some people actually require more light exposure to function effectively. Exposure to bright light causes the brain to suppress the release of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin acts as a depressant in the body if generated during the daytime. When affected people are exposed to long hours of bright light, they feel happier and are able to enjoy life. Bright light sources are now frequently used to successfully treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Scientists are also researching health benefits associated with exposure to sunlight such as the production of vitamin D3 in the prevention of bone diseases (such as osteoporosis) and the symptoms of psoriasis. Many people would answer the question “Why tan?” by simply saying that a great tan looks good, makes them feel great and adds to their personal confidence by making them feel more attractive.
HOW DOES INDOOR TANNING WORK?
The degree to which you are able to tan is determined by your body’s ability to produce and process a chemical called melanin in the skin. Within the controlled environment of indoor tanning, the precise combination of UVA and UVB are administered in measured doses. The first phase of the tanning process (immediate pigment darkening) begins immediately and fades within minutes. The second phase ( delayed tanning) may be visible after 24 hours and becomes obvious in 3 to 5 days. Delayed tanning is the reason that visible results may take 2 to 4 sessions. As your indoor tanning sessions continue according to the exposure schedule of the tanning unit used, your tan will deepen to the point that you can maintain that tan with 1 to 2 sessions per week. If you are developing a base tan before going on a trip, you would want to start tanning about 3 to 4 weeks before you go.
HOW LONG DO TANNING SESSIONS LAST?
Your first exposure may be as brief as 2 to 3 minutes. As your skin slowly becomes conditioned to ultraviolet light, you can gradually increase to the maximum exposure time for the tanning unit you are using and your skin type.
HOW OFTEN CAN I TAN?
Since 1986, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) guidelines specify that a 48-hour interval is required between tanning sessions. Pigmentation and erythema (sunburn) may not be fully visible for 12 to 24 hours. Thus, two tanning sessions within this 24 hour period could cause an unintentional severe burn. Maximum pigmentation should be built up gradually in 8 to 10 tanning sessions. Most equipment manufacturer’s and sun tanning associations recommend the 48-hour interval between tanning sessions.
CAN I TAN THROUGHOUT THE YEAR WITHOUT HARMING MY SKIN?
Scientists have not found any indication that moderate and responsible indoor tanning over an extended period of time causes skin damage. It is important that you follow the recommended exposure based on the tanning unit used and your skin type. Skin damage, including skin cancer, could occur if a person overexposes the skin to UV.
IS PIGMENTATION INDUCED BY INDOOR TANNING EQUIPMENT THE SAME AS A TAN OBTAINED FROM THE SUN?
Yes. Both the sun and indoor tanning equipment emit a combination of ultraviolet light which efficiently produces pigmentation in the skin. Indoor tanning equipment generally emits more energy for a quicker apparent tan.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR TO TAN INDOORS?
Since you are in a private room while tanning, you can wear whatever you like. (However, long sleeve shirts and pants are not recommended!) While some people choose to tan in their bathing suits or underwear, others prefer a more “natural” approach. If you are tanning a previously unexposed part of your body, be sure to cover it up for part of your tanning time so it can catch up safely with the rest of your tan. The only absolute requirement is that you wear eye protection every time you tan. Eyes are unable to protect themselves from UV light even when they are closed, and UV light can cause permanent damage to the eyes. Strict federal laws require that eye protection be worn by every indoor tanner. This eyewear must meet FDA standards and be supplied to every tanner. In addition, protective eyewear that is worn by several customers must be sanitized after each use to prevent infection.
IS IT OK TO WEAR CONTACT LENSES WHEN TANNING INDOORS?
There is no reason why contact lens may not be worn while tanning. When the eyes are closed and proper protective eyewear is worn, UV light cannot penetrate to the eye or lens. However, the heat and air flow generated by indoor tanning equipment could cause the eye to dry, thereby making contact lenses uncomfortable. Contact lens wearers may want to use eyedrops after tanning.
ARE ANY LOTIONS OR CREAMS BENEFICIAL TO THE TANNING PROCESS?
To achieve the best tan, one should keep the skin healthy. This includes regular cleaning and moisturizing. It is extremely important that the skin be as pure as possible before tanning. Be sure that the soaps, cleansers and moisturizers used contain no photosensitizing substances which could cause a skin rash or burn upon exposure to UV light. Many people feel that the use of quality skin care products enhances their skin’s look and feel.
WHY IS THE FACE MORE DIFFICULT TO TAN?
Two reasons. First of all, the face is an exposed area. Throughout the day lotions, make-up, sweat, bacteria, and other substances act as a barrier to a portion of the UV light. Second, frequent washing of the facial area tends to rub off skin cells more so than on other parts of the body.
IF A LAPSE IN INDOOR TANNING OCCURS, CAN THE TANNER RESUME AT THE SAME EXPOSURE TIME?
Because the development of a healthy tan is a gradual process which occurs only on repeated exposure to UV light, a person who stops tanning for an extended period of time may have to start from the beginning again. Subsequent sessions can be gradually increased depending on skin type and equipment used. A tanner should never “push the limit” and try to regain their tan too fast.
CAN TEENS AND CHILDREN TAN INDOORS?
There is no biological reason why teenagers and children should not tan indoors. The indoor tanning decision should be an informed choice. It is questionable as to whether a minor child can make such a decision. Therefore it is recommended that persons under 18 years of age obtain the written permission of their parent of legal guardian. ISLAND TAN adheres strictly to the above recommendation. No one under 18 will be allowed to tan without written parental consent and no one under age 15 will be allowed to tan at all.
CAN INDOOR TANNING CURE ACNE?
While there is no known cure for acne, phototherapy (use of UV light) has been effective in easing the skin problems common to this condition. There are also many drugs, including tetracycline and Retin-A which are also widely used for treatment of acne. Because these drugs can render the skin photosensitive, one must avoid UV exposure when medicated. Furthermore, the use of UV light for acne treatment should only be conducted by a qualified physician. The Food and Drug Administration prohibits indoor tanning equipment operators from asserting that tanning equipment use is beneficial for any other purpose except obtaining cosmetic coloring.
CAN TANNING CAUSE WRINKLES?
Yes. Excessive exposure, particularly to UVA, can destroy the resilient fibers of the lower skin layers thereby causing the top layer to sag or wrinkle. UVA, if not blocked by pigmentation and skin thickening in the outer skin layer, can penetrate to the dermis and affect skin elasticity. It is recommended that tanners use a light source which contains both UVA and UVB and carefully follow the exposure schedule for your skin type and the tanning equipment used.
CAN TANNING INDOORS CAUSE CANCER?
Excessive overexposure to UV light from any source can cause skin cancer. UV induced skin cancer takes anywhere from 15 to 30 years to develop. Therefore, it is very unlikely that the cases of reported skin cancer are a result of indoor tanning. It is recommended that all UV exposure be moderate, whether indoors or outside. On the other hand, pigmentation can be the most protection against skin cancer.
“Where the Sun Always Shines”
IS IT POSSIBLE TO CONTRACT AIDS OR OTHER SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE BY MEANS OF INDOOR TANNING?
NO! The transmission of most infectious diseases requires the exchange of body fluids from one person to
another. This does not take place by using indoor tanning equipment. However, other infections can be passed on by the use of unsanitary equipment and eyewear. It is essential that both the acrylic sheet and reusable protective eyewear be sanitized with the appropriate disinfectant after each use.
WHY DO DERMATOLOGISTS WARN PEOPLE AGAINST SUN EXPOSURE?
While not all dermatologists advocate total avoidance of all sun exposure, the media seems to quote only those who do. If pressed, many dermatologists will acknowledge the need for moderate sun exposure, but advocate use of sunscreens and medication.
HOW CAN I BE SURE I TAN PROPERLY?
All exposure, whether indoors or outdoors, should be gradual and moderate. Your skin type should be determined before starting and a recommended exposure schedule strictly followed based on your skin type and the tanning equipment used. Your safety is of paramount importance!
HOW DOES INDOOR TANNING EXPOSURE COMPARE TO SUN EXPOSURE?
Indoor tanning technology provides the most efficient choice for individuals to obtain a cosmetic tan in a controlled exposure environment. When you tan indoors, your exposure can be carefully controlled depending on your skin type and amount of previous exposure. Outside sun exposure varies widely depending on the time of day or year, latitude, cloud cover, pollution and reflection. Many people prefer indoor tanning because they can tan night or day, rain or shine, in total privacy and air-conditioned comfort.
WHY DOES A TAN DISAPPEAR?
As part of the skin’s built-in repair mechanism, the top skin layer (epidermis) replaces all it’s skin cells every 28 to 30 days. A tan can only be maintained by repeated exposure to UV light.
CAN THE UV RAYS PRODUCED BY INDOOR TANNING LAMPS PASS THROUGH THE SKIN AND AFFECT INTERNAL ORGANS?
The wavelengths emitted by all indoor tanning lamps are not capable of penetrating past the skin’s layers. Thus internal organs such as the liver, kidneys, uterus and even a fetus, are not directly affected by longer wave UV light.