Frequently Asked Questions

I've never tanned before - What is it like

There is no reason to be nervous. Our staff at Perfect Tan will walk you through everything you will need to know. We will take the time to analyze your skin type and give you a suggested time and tanning schedule. They will explain how UV light works and how your skin tans.

How long is one tanning session

The first time in a sun tanning bed can be anywhere from 5 - 15 minutes, depending on your skin type. Most of our beds go to a 20 minute max. session. It is suggested that you start out slow and build your minutes and tan over the next couple of sessions. Many tanning centers will have different equipment and lamps - therefore you should follow the recommended exposure time and schedule made by the Perfect Tan staff.

How long will it take me to get a tan

Tanning is a PROCESS! It takes time to build up a tan. You will also have to repeat the process to maintain your color. It can take anywhere from 8 to 15 tanning sessions for you to achieve a full tan on a conventional bed. High Pressure tanning is anywhere from 3 to 6 sessions depending on your skin type. Most people start seeing results by the third visit. The key is to build your tan slowly and tan regularly to achieve the results you desire. Remember a tan doesn’t happen overnight or on one visit, you need to build your base tan and tan smart by never burning. The key to a great tan is to stay moist at all times. Make sure you are using a recommended tanning lotion during your tanning session and stay moist at home with a good shower gel, and lotion. Do not dry out!

How often is a person allowed to tan

You must allow at least 24 hours between tanning sessions. We recommend a 48 hour time period for first time tanners. Pigmentation and or over exposure may not be fully visible for 12 to 24 hours after your original session. Two tanning sessions within this 24-hour period could result in a unintentional burn.

Why is it important to develop a base tan

Moderate exposure to UVB rays help develop a natural barrier in the skin to protect the body from excessive UV light. UVB rays stimulate the production of melanin, which absorbs and scatters radiation to thicken the epidermis (the top skin layer), thereby limiting the amount of UV light. If this photo-protection (base tan) is not developed or a sunscreen is not used, sunburn can occur and the DNA of the skin cells may become damaged.

Why does a tan disappear

A tan disappears because the top layer of your skin replaces all of its cells every 28-30 days. Keeping your skin moisturized, will prolong a tan, however a tan can be maintained only by repeated exposure to UV light.

I am pregnant - Can I tan indoors

There is no current scientific and or biological reason why a pregnant woman cannot tan indoors or outdoors. In fact, some researchers believe the production of vitamin D caused by exposure to UVB may be beneficial to both the mother and fetus. However, there is some concern that the heat buildup that occurs when tanning indoors or outdoors may adversely affect some pregnant women, just as a sauna or Jacuzzi might. It is recommended that pregnant women consult their physician before tanning indoors or outdoors.

If a person cannot tan in the sun, will they get a tan in a tanning bed

Normally, a person tans indoors only as well as he/she is able to tan outdoors. Yet, those fair-skinned people who generally cannot tolerate the uncontrolled rays of the sun often achieve some color when tanning indoors. This can be attributed to a different spectral output as well as carefully timed tanning sessions in a controlled tanning environment. Skin type, heredity, and individual photosensitivity all determine who will have success tanning indoors.

Is it harmful to wear contact lenses when tanning indoors

When the eyes are kept closed and proper protective eye wear worn, UV light is blocked from penetrating the eye or lens. However, the heat generated by indoor tanning equipment could cause the eye to dry a bit, there by making the lens uncomfortable. Just as one should moisturize the skin after tanning, you may also use eye drops recommended by your optometrist to remedy dryness.

When is the sun the strongest

The suns rays are the strongest between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 p.m. UVB rays (the UV light most responsible for burning) are more intense in summer months, Therefore, it is especially important to apply sunscreen during this time to minimize your risk of sunburn.

How does the depletion of the ozone layer affect us

A very thin level of ozone surrounds the earth and serves as a filter against UV rays. The use of chlorofluorocarbons has influenced the depletion of the ozone layer, allowing increased amounts of shorter wavelengths of UV light to reach the earth’s surface. Even though indoor tanning can help gradually build pigmentation (the body’s own way of avoiding excessive exposure to UV light). with a depleting ozone layer, there are now more chances to overexpose your skin. Precautions should be taken to avoid the risk of sunburn at all times.

Why do some dermatologists warn people against sun exposure

While some dermatologists may advocate total avoidance of all sun exposure, the media seems to quote only those who do. Many dermatologists and others from the medical community have acknowledged the need for moderate sun exposure, while advocating the use of sunscreens.

Can tanning indoors cause cancer

Excessive exposure to any UV light source may lead to skin damage, which may cause skin cancer. While there has been no comprehensive study on the causes of skin cancer, three high risk groups have been identified: 1) severe sunburns at a young age 2) history of skin cancer in the family and 3) very fair skin, red hair, freckles or moles. If you fall into one or more of these groups, any UV light exposure should be treated with even greater caution. The fact is, most forms of skin cancer are treatable. Even melanoma, which accounts for only 5% of all skin cancer, is 90% treatable if caught in this early stages. Early diagnosis is essential. It is recommended that all UV exposure be moderate.

May people who have had skin cancer tan indoors

It is strongly recommended that those who have suffered skin cancer avoid tanning either indoors or outdoors. Such people may be genetically predisposed to contract skin cancer or be unusually susceptible to it. Any exposure may trigger another outbreak.

What is a "Photosensitizing Agent"

Photosensitivity is defined as a chemically induced change in the skin that makes an individual unusually sensitive to light. Diseases, allergies, cosmetics or medications may cause photosensitivity. Medications such as psoralen, diuretics, birth control pills, tranquilizers, antibiotics and high blood pressure medicine may also affect one’s photosensitivity. Certain substances such as citrus fruits, celery, cosmetics and soaps can also increase photosensitivity. Harsh disinfectants, some lotions and sunscreens may also cause sensitizing reactions. If you are unsure if your medication is a photosensitizing agent consult your pharmacist.

Can I tan all year long without harming my skin

To tan smart is to build up your tan in a controlled and gradual manner. This gives your body a natural tan without burning, giving a pigment a chance to develop and increasing your protection to UV light. It may take longer but you reduce the risk of over exposure and skin damage. Gradual exposure utilizing the advice of our Perfect Tan staff will not only build a better tan but will prevent the negative aspects of over exposure.

Why do some people itch after tanning indoors

Itching and/or rashes may be linked to several unrelated causes. Some people are naturally photosensitive to UV exposure while others are susceptible to heat rashes, a cause totally unrelated to UV light. Certain chemicals or ingredients found in cosmetics, lotion, shampoos, and even acrylic cleaner might cause itching. Customers should be advised to tan with the skin as clean as possible. If discontinued use of a suspected product does not inhibit the rash, discontinue any exposure to UV light and consult your physician. Heat rash, or tanner’s itch may also indicate that the light and heat generated by tanning bulbs or the sun have dried your skin, especially in previously unexposed areas. Discontinue tanning for a few days, then slowly build your time allowing melanin production to increase. For temporary relief try an unscented emollient cream. If symptoms persist, discontinue tanning and consult your doctor.

What causes white spots

There are several reasons why white spots become noticeable on the body once the tanning process begins: 1- Patches of skin, which do not tan, could be the result of genetic determination. 2- White spots could also appear due to the presence of a fungus, which lives on the skin’s surface. While the fungus is harmless, it does not absorb UV light, which would normally penetrate the skin. This fungus did not appear as a result of tanning; it merely becomes noticeable once tanning occurs. It can be remedied though the use of prescription drugs or some other topical lotions. White patches of skin, which are often prominent on the shoulder blades and just above the buttocks, can be caused by the pressure from the body as it reclines on a hard tanning bed surface. This pressure inhibits the flow of blood through that area of skin. Since blood carries oxygen, which is essential to the tanning process, this area does not tan. Periodic body shifting during tanning will make these patches disappear. Also the use of a stand up tanning unit will help get rid of those white spots or lines caused by the bed surface. Certain medications can react unfavorably with exposure to UV light. For example, birth control pills can cause blotches and uneven pigmentation of the skin.

Must protective eye wear be worn while tanning indoors

Although they may seem like a nuisance, the goggles that you wear while tanning are very important. Your eyelids alone offer almost no protection against UV light, which can damage the cornea and retina and lead to cataracts. Not using proper eye protection may also result in short term effects such as tired, itchy eyes, headaches and loss of night vision. No one should ever be in a tanning bed without eye protection. Buy your own pair to avoid the risk of infections like pinkeye which are easily transmitted. Don’t take chances with your eyes. (All eye goggles at Perfect Tan are soaked in sanitzer disinfectant before and after each use)

Should I wear sunglasses when I'm outdoors

Yes. More and more scientific evidence indicates that exposure UVB rays can cause damage your eyes. Generally, UVB rays can cause short-term injury, such as burning. Snow blindness is an example of immediate eye damage due to sunlight reflecting off snow, particularly at high altitudes. Prolonged unprotected exposure to the sun is cumulative and can result in cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye. Therefore, it is recommended you should wear sunglasses treated with UV resistant coating when outdoors.

Is it possible to contract a sexually transmitted disease from indoor tanning equipment

Contracting a sexually transmitted disease requires the exchange of bodily fluids from one person to another. This exchange does not take place by using indoor tanning equipment. However, this does not mean that other infectious conditions cannot be passed on by the use of unsanitary equipment and protective eye wear. At Perfect Tan, tanning equipment is properly sanitized after each use and we recommend that you do not share your eye wear with others. We will sanitize all eye wear after each tanning session.

Can indoor tanning cure acne

Phototherapy (or use of UV light) has been effective in easing the skin problems common to this condition. However, there are also many drugs, including tetracycline and Retin A, used for the treatment of acne that can render the skin photosensitive. Therefore, one should avoid UV exposure when medicated. Treatment of acne should be administered by a qualified physician.

Does tanning help treat depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

There exists a growing body of scientific evidence, which indicates that some people actually require more light exposure in order to function properly. Exposure to bright light, such as that emitted by the midday summer sun, causes the brain to suppress the release of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin acts as a depressant in the body if generated during the daytime. Thus, when affected people are exposed to longer hours of bright light, they feel happier, euphoric and more able to enjoy life. Bright light sources emitting only visible light are now frequently used to successfully treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Subsyndromal Seasonal Affective Disorder (SSAD).

Does indoor tanning equipment aid in the treatment of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by frequent bending and/or breaking of the bones due to the lack of sufficient calcium. Adequate calcium intake is essential for the development of strong bones and teeth. It is widely recognized that the body is the intestine does not absorb calcium unless vitamin D3 is present. Vitamin D3 is often referred to as the “sunshine” vitamin because it is produced in the skin upon exposure to UVB rays. Some studies show that indoor tanning lamps (which emit a certain amount of UVB) may initiate the production of vitamin D3 which in turn aids in calcium absorption.

Which is safer, tanning indoors or in the sun

Indoor tanning is a controlled environment, which allows you to slowly build a gradual tan, to develop pigmentation and increase your natural SPF - thus providing a safer environment. The external factors of tanning in the sun, such as time of year and day, altitude, cloud coverage, pollutants, reflective surfaces, etc. are harder to control or predict - which increases your risk of overexposure. In a tanning salon you are controlled by less then a 20 minute session, allowed to tan only once every 24 hours and unlikely to overexpose. In the sun as you are laying out, golfing, or playing tennis you can lose track of the time and the amount of time you have been in the sun, this causes you to get sunburned and overexposed.

What is in tanning creams that accelerates a tan and are they safe to use

The main active ingredient in tanning lotions is Tyrosine. Tyrosine is essentially amino acids from proteins that are converted through several metabolic steps to produce melanin. Melanin is the pigment responsible for causing your skin to darken and provides a natural factor of up to 10. Tyrosine is added to tanning accelerator products to supplement the body’s normal level of tyrosine at the skins cell level thereby speeding the tanning process. Indoor tanning lotions also helps counter the drying effects of tanning, prepare the skin to tan more efficiently, and make a tan last longer.

Why do people use lotion

Many people use indoor tanning products to maximize their tanning experience. The following are reasons why consumers enjoy using tanning lotions:

  1. They supply the skin with essential nutrients necessary for a tan and help moisturize the skin to keep it looking young and healthy.
  2. Moist skin tans more quickly and efficiently than dry skin, resulting in a better tan in fewer visits.
  3. Indoor tanning products help counteract the drying effects of heat and light associated with tanning (moisturized skin is healthier).
  4. Active ingredients supplement the skin’s cells with the same proteins that enhance the tanning process naturally.
  5. Specially formulated indoor tanning lotions help your tan last by retaining ultraviolet induced melanin longer.
  6. The latest lotion technology includes antioxidants that help prevent fine lines and wrinkles.