FAQ's about Tanning

Q. How long can I stay in the tanning bed the first time?

A. This depends on your skin tone and type. We will ask you to fill out a skin analysis to help determine your skin type. We will also take into consideration how long it has been since you last tanned. The most common skin type is Type 3, and these people typically tan for 10-12 minutes the first time in a machine that has 20 minute maximum.

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Q. How long will it take me to get tan?

A. For best results to achieve the sun protection factor, a minimum of 2 weeks of tanning every other day is recommended.

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Q. What is the purpose of using a “specially designed” tanning lotion in a tanning bed?

A. Today's indoor lotions are enriched with all sorts of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial ingredients to help get you tan FAST! They also help your tan to last longer. The bottom line is that lotions help you get more value for each tanning session. Please remember that “Indoor” tanning lotions do not contain sunscreens. Learn more about lotions.

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Q. Why should I use an “Upgrade” machine?

A. Upgrade machines have more Tanning Power to get you tan FASTER! They usually have a shorter session to help you get on with the rest of your life more quickly and often more comfortable to use.

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Q. Can I tan if I’m pregnant?

A. The concern about tanning and pregnancy is that tanning may tend to increase body temperature which may be harmful to the unborn baby. For this reason we recommend against tanning while you are pregnant.

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Q. Do I have to wear eye protection while tanning?

A. YES! Your eyelids are NOT thick enough to provide protection from ultraviolet light. Damage can manifest itself as reduced color vision or night blindness. “Raccoon eyes” can be avoided by moving the eyewear to slightly different positions during your tanning session. And it’s use is required by law.

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Q. If I’m really in a hurry can I tan more than once on the same day?

A. Please remember that tanning is a process that can take up to 24 hours for the effects to develop. For this reason the Federal Government prohibits tanning more frequently than once per 24 hours.

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Q. Can certain medications cause photo (light) sensitivity?

A. Yes. Many common medications and even ingredients in food, shampoos & soaps can cause photo sensitivity which may lead to overexposure. If you are taking prescription medications please check with your physician regarding possible photo sensitivity.
View a PARTIAL list of substances that can cause photo sensitivity. 

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Response to 20/20 Report:

Last night, the television show 20/20 aired a report that made some misleading and alarmist claims about the indoor tanning industry. In the coming days, tanning salon operators may encounter questions and concerns from customers who have either seen or heard about the 20/20 report. This memo is intended to help tanning salon operators address these concerns and reinforce the industry’s positive commitment to safety and customer satisfaction.

The report did not offer a full and accurate picture of the many responsible tanning retailers across the country. We also must keep in mind that the responses from salon employees that were aired were short snippets from a lengthy conversation and undoubtedly taken out of context. 

Concern: The 20/20 report claimed that the tanning industry is hiding dangers from its customers. 

BUT, this is untrue. The Indoor Tanning Association openly acknowledges that overexposure to UV light, whether from the sun or from a tanning bed, is potentially dangerous. That’s exactly why tanning beds are carefully calibrated and FDA regulated – preventing sunburns and overexposure keeps customers happy.

Concern: The 20/20 report claimed that indoor tanning causes the deadly form of skin cancer called melanoma.

BUT, the research featured in the report is controversial, does not represent a scientific consensus, and only shows a very small increase in risk for certain sensitive skin types. More recent research featured in the New York Times suggests that there has been no increase in melanoma rates, and the apparent increase is due to changes in diagnostic criteria. 

It is important to remember that overexposure to any source of UV light is potentially dangerous. Excessive indoor tanning, just like excessive tanning at the beach, does increase your risk of the relatively benign skin lesions that 20% of Americans develop.

Concern: Some of the hidden camera footage in the 20/20 report showed tanning salon employees giving bad advice to customers. This is unfortunate, and it does underscore the importance of good training.

BUT, any large industry will inevitably have a few employees who make incorrect statements, and these individuals should not be taken as representative of the majority of responsible tanning businesses.

Just as no one would expect to get diet advice from a cashier in a supermarket, it’s best to research indoor tanning by using independent sources, on the Internet or elsewhere. 

Some of you may have concerns about the ITA’s decision to grant an interview to a television program that clearly had an anti-tanning agenda. We remain confident that appearing on the program was the best move from a public relations standpoint. The 20/20 piece would have aired regardless of the industry’s involvement. From the start we knew the story would not be fair or balanced. This is evidenced by the fact that Dan was interviewed for well over an hour and the industry’s perspective was given 15 seconds of air-time. Also we know from conversations with producers that had Dan not gone on camera, they would have conducted an interview with a local salon owner. We continue to believe that Dan was the most effective messenger to answer the serious criticisms made by 20/20 as a result of their undercover investigation. 

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