Your Skin, The Largest Organ
- Layers of the skin
- Facultative pigmentation
- Constitutive pigmentation
Skin covers all body surfaces. The skin of an average
adult weighs 8-10 pounds and has an average area of
about 22 square feet. The purpose of this outer covering
for the body is to protect against injury, infection,
heat, cold, and store water, fat and vitamins. The human
skin is rejuvenated about once every four weeks.
Thinking of your skin as an organ, rather than something
that we can use and abuse, puts things in proper perspective.
Your skin is a wonderfully resilient organ and for the
most part can survive virtually any form of punishment.
The skin is the body's boundary, tough enough to resist
all sorts of environmental assaults, yet sensitive enough
to feel a breeze.
A versatile organ, skin creates the first line of defense
against possible invasion by bacteria and germs, while
maintaining the body's internal environment to within
a few degrees of normal throughout our lifetimes. The
skin also secretes fluids that lubricate it and barricade
toxic substances, while maintaining this environment.
The skin can absorb some soluble substances
The Skins Function
The skin is divided into three layers, the epidermis
or outer layer which produces the tan; the dermis or
middle layer which contains collagen and other materials
vital to the skin's strength, its ability to repair
itself and fight off infections; and the subcutaneous
tissue or bottom layer which serves as insulation, a
food reserve and binds the skin to your body. The layers
of the epidermis which are involved in the tanning process
are the horny (outer) layer and the germ (inner) layer.
Cells from the germ layer are constantly reproducing
and pushing old cells up through the horny layer where
in approximately one month they are sloughed off. At
the base of the epidermis, cells called melanocytes
(about 5% of the epidermal cells) exist. These are the
pigment cells involved in the tanning process. The melanocytes
use the amino acid tyrosine to produce melanosomes (dark
brown granules of pigment) which contain melanin that,
when oxidized by UVR, provide the adaptive coloration
of the skin. When exposed to ultraviolet radiation,
the melanocytes release extra melanosomes thus making
the skin darker and completing melanogenesis which is
defined as the UVR-induced production and oxidation
of melanin, i.e., the process of developing facultative
pigmentation, better known as cosmetic tanning. Facultative
Pigmentation is simply the level of an acquired tan
developed by an individual exposed to ultraviolet light
where as Constitutive Pigmentation is our natural skin
Every individual has only a given amount of melanin
which is determined by an individual's skin type. Although
a person may gradually increase the amount of melanin
production through tanning, the person cannot change
from one skin type to another.
One function of the skin is to protect its underlying
tissues from invisible radiation i.e. that produced
by the sun. The sun emits three kinds of ultraviolet
(UV) rays, UVA, UVB and UVC. Although invisible, you
can see the results of ultraviolet rays in such things
as the growth of plants and the tanning of our skin.
UVC is the shortest, most harmful wavelength of ultraviolet
rays, but is virtually stopped by the Earth's ozone
layer and pollution. UVB is the medium wavelength and
although overexposure can cause erythema (sunburn),
a controlled amount is necessary to initiate tanning
in the skin.
UVA is the longest wavelength and is responsible for
the completion of the tanning process. Tanning is actually
the body's natural defense mechanism to protect itself
from the sun's rays.
The outer surface of dead cells (horny layer) is the
first shield against any invader. These cells, called
keratinocytes or skin cells (about 90% of the epidermal
cells), arise from the living dividing basal cells (named
for their location at the base of the epidermis). New
cells rise, pushed from the base by rapidly dividing
basal cells. These new cells produce greater and greater
quantities of a protein called keratin. The fibrous
keratin accumulates within the cells until it nearly
replaces their living cellular machinery. This journey
to the surface takes approximately four to five weeks.
Now they have withered, died and bound themselves firmly
to one another, forming a tough nearly impermeable outer
shell to the epidermis. Perpetual shedding of this horny
layer prevents many microbes from penetrating the skin.
As the epidermis goes about the business of renewing
the horny layer, it sheds the dried out cells at a rate
of one million every forty minutes. This horny layer
becomes thicker and tougher in response to UV to protect
the skin from overexposure. The remaining 5% of cells
found in the epidermis are mostly made up of Langerhans
and Merkel cells. Langerhans cells, also known as "immune
cells," help fight-off organisms trying to invade the
body. Merkel cells, known as "touch receptors," relay
touch sensations to the dermis as contact nerve endings.
Ultraviolet B initiates the tanning process by stimulating
the melanocytes, releasing melanin into the surrounding
cells. As these melanin granules migrate to the skin's
surface, there is a chemical reaction that occurs between
the tyrosine, the melanin and the UVA rays that turns
the skin a light brown or brown giving us the tanned
The degree of coloring achieved depends on the amount of melanin one has,
the duration of the exposure and the individual's reaction to the ultraviolet
The sun is not selective in the proportions of UVA
and UVB emitted. Therefore the skin is vulnerable to
too much UVB which can cause sunburn, as well as other
types of damage to the skin.
Another system at work in the epidermis is our immune
system. The epidermis houses special cells that join
the immune system in defense against disease. Langerhans
cells give agents of the immune system information regarding
the nature of foreign substances entering the body through
the skin. Extremely high doses of UV can damage Langerhans
cells, preventing them from sending the appropriate
warning signals to the immune system. Lymphocytes are
also located in the epidermis. They are the other defender
in this delicate cellular world. Lymphocytes are also
damaged by prolonged overexposure to UV.
This highly complex inner world of the skin mandates
responsible treatment by its owner as well as those
of us entrusted with the cosmetic care of this largest
of human organs.
Understanding Ultraviolet Radiation
- Electromagnetic spectrum
- UVA, UVB and UVC
- Wave theory
- Quantum theory
In order to truly understand the tanning process of the skin you
need to have at least a basic understanding of the properties and
function of light. Although light has played a central role in the
histories of religion, art and science and is so common to our
everyday existance, it can actually be quite elusive.
Understanding Ultraviolet Radiation
To understand ultraviolet radiation (UV) one needs to know UV?s placement in the
electromagnetic spectrum. Ultraviolet light is located between X-radiation and visible
light. UV has a higher frequency and shorter wavelength than visible light, and it
has a lower frequency and longer wavelength than X-radiation. UV with its longer
wavelength and less energy is less penetrating than X-ray and is sometimes absorbed
by matter. Photobiology studies the interaction of nonionizing radiation between the
electromagnetic spectrum and biologic systems. Nonionizing radiation represents the
ultraviolet, visible and near infrared regions of the spectrum. Tanning occurs as a
result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation. To fully understand this reaction, you must
familiarize yourself with the electromagnetic spectrum.
The electromagnetic spectrum is a way of visualizing the frequency and wavelength
proportions of different forms of energy. Electromagnetic radiation has properties of
both waves and particles. We divide the electromagnetic spectrum in the UV range for
UVA is found in the region between 320 and 400 nm (nm = Nanometer = 1 billionth
of a meter) and is the least powerful wavelength band of UV radiation. UVA acts
primarily to cause the melanin pigments in the skin to oxidize (darken) creating the
cosmetic tan and has limited power to cause erythema (sunburn).
UVB is found in the region between 280 and 320 nm. It comprises the wavelengths
primarily associated with erythema (sunburn), is also necessary for the production of
vitamin D in the skin and is primarily responsible for stimulating increased melanin
production. UVB wavelengths (at 305 nm) have 1,000 times more erythemal power
than UVA wavelengths.
UVC is found in the region between approximately 200-280 nm and is called
germicidal UV because of its proven effectiveness in killing single-cell organisms.
Solar radiation in the UVC range is absorbed almost entirely by the atmosphere and
that is fortunate considering that even a short overexposure to UVC is very harmful
to the eyes and causes severe erythema (sunburn). UVC is emitted by High Intensity
Discharge (HID) lamps; therefore these lamps require special filter glass, to contain
the output of the UVC spectrum (this will be discussed later). Another place where
radiation in the UVC range can be found is in the arc of a welding torch. For that
reason, optical damage referred to as ?welders eye? is caused by UVC light.
Ultraviolet rays are similar to X-rays, white (visible) light, infrared and other similar
types of radiant energy. They are all electromagnetic waves, wavelike disturbances
associated with vibrating electric charges. Most waves are transmitted by some
medium; for example, you have all seen waves on the surface of the water, in which
case the water is the transmitting material. When a stringed instrument is plucked,
waves are set up in the string, so the string becomes the transmitting material.
Strangely enough, no one knows what transmits electromagnetic waves, however, we
have proof that they are in fact transmitted.
Electromagnetic waves all travel at the same constant speed as light, 186,000 miles
per second in a vacuum. All electromagnetic waves have the same form and travel
at the same speed, but differ in wavelength. Wavelength is the distance between
two successive crests in the wave. The number of crests or cycles per second is the
frequency of the wave. The unit of frequency is hertz or 1 cycle per second. Therefore,
if the wavelength is decreased, then the frequency is increased. Frequency and
wavelength have an inverse relationship which is calculated with one of two equations
where the velocity of radiation is 186,000 miles per second.
Where the velocity of radiation is 186,000 miles per second. Frequency is calculated using cycles per second and wavelength is calculated in meters. The wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation vary in size from a fraction of an angstrom unit (an angstrom is equal to ten billionths of a meter) to thousands of meters, commonly called the "electromagnetic spectrum." Some of the wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation from this spectrum are classified as follows:
| APPROXIMATE WAVELENGTH
| 0.1 - 100 angstroms
| 10 - 200 nanometers
|Ultraviolet C (UVC)
| 200 - 290 nanometers
|Ultraviolet B (UVB)
| 290 - 320 nanometers
|Ultraviolet A (UVA)
| 320 - 400 nanometers
| 400 - 700 nanometers
| 0.74 - 1.5 micrometers
| 1.5 - 5.6 micrometers
| 5.6 - 1,000 micrometer
| greater than one millimeter
Therefore, the useful unit of measure for our purposes is the nanometer. Radiations shorter than 10 nanometers (i.e. gamma rays or X-rays) generally ionize molecules (remove electrons) producing positively or negatively charged ions and are, therefore, known as ionizing radiation. Ultraviolet radiation is absorbed by molecules and is known as nonionizing radiation.
Quantum (Particle) Theory
Another theory used in reference to the electromagnetic spectrum is the quantum theory. In order to explain energy transfer, a bit of energy called a photon was theorized. Photons have no mass and when absorbed this energy is passed on to the absorbing molecule (such as skin cells) and the photon no longer exists in its same state. The amount of energy in a photon is directly proportional to the frequency of the radiation. The energy of a photon increases as the frequency increases. The more cycles per second (frequency) of any given photon, the more energy the photon has. The energy of any given photon decreases as the wavelength increases. The longer the wavelength, the less the frequency.
Light energy is expressed differently. We often express radiant energy in terms of watts per square meter or milliwatts per square centimeter. Skin exposure is usually expressed in joules per square centimeter. A Joule, is a unit of measurement and is equivalent to the electrical work done in one second by an electrical current of one ampere through the resistance of one ohm; named for its inventor, British Physicist, J.P. Joule (1818-1889).
(A Brief Description)
- Low pressure
- High pressure
The tanning lamp is probably the single most important element to your
tanning unit. Having a better understanding of the function of the tanning
lamp will allow you to offer the best level of service to your client.
The fluorescent lamp is composed of seven main parts:
1. Base- connects the lamp to an external source of power.
2. Lead-in Wires- connects the base to the cathode, which emits
electrons during lamp operation.
3. Mercury- atoms in the form of vapor in the lamp which are strukt
by the electrons and excited from their ground state to a higher state,
from which they emit a UV photon with a wavelength of 254 nm.
4. Phosphor- absorbs this UV and converts it to longer wavelengths
(usually visible light). It is coated onto the inside of the bulb during
5. Stem Press- is a cathode support structure as well as the means to
hermetically seal the lamp ends.
6. Exhaust Tube- is the means of introducing the fill gas and mercury
into the lamp during processing. It is then closed off.
7. Fill Gas- is an inert gas which aids in starting and operating
the fluorescent lamps.
Tanning lamps emit primarily UVA radiation with a small amount of UVB.
The percentage of UVA and UVB is varied through lamp design by changing
the phosphor composition. An electric current is passed through mercury
vapor gas under low pressure which then becomes ionized. UV emissions
are the result of energy transfers between the electrons and the gas atoms.
Some lamp manufacturers rate their lamps by percentage of UVB, however,
lamp manufacturers who provide a spectral analysis graph will perhaps
be easier to understand.
fluorescent lamps are the most prevalent in the tanning industry. These
lamps vary in size; the average commercial tanning lamps are either 5
or 6 foot in length and range from 80 to 160 watts. Electrical contacts
for lamps are found in two types: Bi-Pin and RDC (recessed double contact).
Light output ranges across a wide spectrum, including UVA and UVB, plus
infrared and visible light. All fluorescent lamps share the same basic
design, a glass tube lined with a coating of phosphors, electrodes on
the inside and end caps at each end to seal the lamp. To determine the
proper lamp type for a particular piece of equipment, you are required
to follow the manufacturer's recommended lamp replacement guide posted
on the equipment's operation label. This information can also be found
in the owner's manual. (Note: Sunbeds manufactured prior to 9/8/86 do
not always have replacement lamps listed on bed labels. Consult the Owner's
Manual if not listed on bed labels.)
Low pressure lamps' output generally exceeds the sun's natural intensity
of the UV spectrum by 2-5 times. The UVA to UVB ratios are determined
by the phosphor in the lamp. Other factors also will affect a lamp's output,
such as operating temperature, wattage, and lamp age in hours.
High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps are also known as High
pressure lamps that are significantly different than low pressure
lamps. Their size is small, averaging from 5 to 8 inches in length. They
are primarily used as facial tanning lamps, but are also used in equipment
designed for full-body tanning. HP lamps are mercury vapor lamps. The
wattage output ranges from 400 to 30,000 watts. The light output is 20
to 100 times that of the sun's natural intensity. They also emit a wide
spectrum of light beginning with short wave UVC through visible light.
HID lamps require a filter glass, commonly known as "blue glass" to contain
the output of the UVC spectrum. This filter glass must be present in order
to operate or severe burning will occur. Cracked filter glass must be
replaced before the unit can be energized. Cracked glass will allow dangerous
levels of UVC and UVB to reach the client. Tanning systems utilizing HP
lamps offer shorter overall exposure times, but extra care and maintenance
must be observed.
Some tanning units utilize both low pressure and high pressure lamps.
Again, extra care must be observed. As always, follow the manufacturer's
exposure schedule and the maintenance schedule properly, regardless of
the equipment and lamp type utilized.
The Tanning Process
- Immediate pigment darkening
- Delayed tanning
It is essential that you and your employees understand the biological
process by which the skin tans when exposed to ultraviolet radiation.
An understanding of the tanning process will aid you in educating your
clients in the proper way of achieving the best tan possible.
Human skin is composed almost entirely of water and organic molecules.
Molecules of organic compounds consist of nuclei which are in relatively
fixed positions and electrons which are found in defined volumes surrounding
the molecular structure. For each compound, certain electronic states
exist, each of which corresponds to the distribution of electrons around
the nuclei and a specific energy. At room temperature, all molecules are
in the electronic state with the lowest energy, called ground state.
UV radiation must first be absorbed by molecules to cause any chemical
change. Only that radiation absorbed by the skin can initiate a biologic
response. A molecule that absorbs light is called a chromophore. These
include molecules such as DNA, RNA, and proteins. After absorbing the
energy of the radiation, the molecule is in an excited state. The molecule
exists in this excited state for a fraction of a second before losing
the energy at which time a chemical change occurs. The observable effect
may be increased pigmentation of the skin or erythema.
The Tanning Process
To understand the tanning process one first needs to realize that the
skin is comprised of several different types of cells. Each type of cell
has a specific function. The cells involved primarily in the tanning process
are called melanocytes. Melanocytes are located at the base of
the epidermis between the epidermis and the dermis below. Melanocytes
use the amino acid tyrosine to produce melanin. This melanin
leaves the melanocytes and travels up through the epidermis where it reacts
with the UVA and UVB radiation through a chemical reaction darkening the
pigmentation of the skin. As we already know the skin consists of three
layers of tissue: The epidermis or outer layer, the dermis or inner layer
and the subcutaneous layer.
The tanning process or increased pigmentation occurs in two phases. The
first one is immediate pigment darkening (IPD). IPD is a rapid
darkening of the skin which begins during exposure to UV radiation and
its maximum effect is visible immediately. It is caused by a change in
melanin already present in the skin. IPD is most obvious in skin where
significant pigmentation already exists. It occurs after exposure to the
longer wavelength of UVA or visible light. IPD may fade within minutes
of small exposures or may last several days after longer exposures and
blend in with delayed tanning.
Delayed tanning, induced mostly by UVB exposure, is the result
of increased epidermal melanin and first becomes visible 72 hours after
exposure. Both UVA and UVB radiation start delayed tanning by creating
an excited condition in the melanocytes which in turn releases more melanin
into the skin. The degree of IPD is primarily a reflection of the person's
skin type. Delayed tanning demands larger doses of both UVA and UVB for
any given response.
Skincare - Moisturizing
- Natural moisturizing factors NMFs
- Sunless tanners
Tanning salon operators need to understand the role good skincare plays
in the overall tanning process. Moisture is essential to good skin health
because it helps maintain the integrity of an exceptional skin barrier
while enhancing the tanning process.
Your client’s skin is gasping for moisture like a flower in the
desert. All winter, the elements have taken their toll. For at least three
months the dry winter wind has sucked moisture from the delicate skin
surface, while the cold temperatures blocked the production of natural
oils and emollients. Your client’s skin is dry to the touch and
tight in appearance. You must come to the rescue with a good moisturizer.
Moisture is critical to good skin health because it helps maintain a
good skin barrier and creates a flexible, pliable skin that is soft to
touch. Moist skin will tan better and more evenly than dry skin. Your
skin knows that moisture is important and uses a variety of methods to
retain moisture in its surface.
Moisturize With Oils
Your skin retains water within its natural oils to help them maintain
an ordered structure around each skin cell. Each skin cell is surrounded
by a variety of different natural oils. Together, the skin cells and the
natural oils help form the acid mantle or barrier in the stratum corneum.
Water helps increase the flexibility of the oils so the oils can surround
the cells to maintain an adequate skin barrier.
During cold winter months, the skin’s ability to make natural oils
for the stratum corneum is greatly reduced. We have known for many years
that cold weather causes skin to become dry and brittle. Recently, scientists
discovered that one of the reasons is a decrease in the production of
natural oils when skin is exposed to cold temperatures. If the skin is
not producing enough natural oils, then we can help by adding oils.
A good moisturizer not only will add moisture to the skin, but also add
some oils to the skin. A client with severe dry skin requires a moisturizer
with more oils than a client with slightly dry skin. For your clients
with severe dry skin, recommend a moisturizer with a greasy feel. Clients
with slightly dry skin can expect improvement with a less greasy moisturizer.
However, be careful to remember that the best moisturizer is one that
your clients will use. The moisturizer has to be enjoyed by your client;
it has to be used regularly. If your client will not use a greasy moisturizer,
then the moisturizer will sit in the bottle and you may lose future sales.
Moisturize with NMFs
Your skin retains water within its natural proteins to keep them flexible.
Each stratum corneum cell is a flexible sack of proteins. Without water,
the proteins lose their flexibility and become rigid. The skin becomes
rough to the touch, even cracking in severe cases. Water helps increase
the flexibility of the proteins so the cells can relax to a smooth surface
that begs to be touched.
Normally, skin creates natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) to hold moisture
in the stratum corneum and increase the water content of the skin. In
dry winter conditions, the skin cannot make NMFs because the water content
of the skin is too low. Also, NMFs are stripped away by the use of hotter
bathing water and stronger detergents.
A good moisturizer will add moisturizing factors back to the skin where
they can lock moisture into the skin. Sodium PCA, or sodium pyrollidone
carboxylic acid, is one of the most efficient NMFs because it binds lots
Moisturizing lotions also may contain moisturizing factors that are not
natural, but moisturize much the same way. Some examples are sodium isethionate,
glycerin and panthenol.
Moisturize With Vitamins
The reduced barrier function of the skin caused by the dry cold winter
allows a variety of environmental pollutants to enter the skin. These
pollutants can deplete the antioxidant system of the skin, making the
skin more susceptible to oxidative damage. Vitamins can reduce or eliminate
A good moisturizer will help replace the vitamins skin needs. Vitamin
E, or tocopheryl acetate, is a potent antioxidant that should be found
in a good moisturizer. Vitamin C, frequently included as ascorbyl palmitate,
acts in concert with vitamin E in a healthy antioxidant system. Scientists
have found several situations where these vitamins are more powerful together
Dry, cold winter prevents skin from maintaining a moist healthy condition
due to the loss of natural oils, natural moisturizing factors, and vitamins.
A good moisturizer will contain these three items with a low level of
AHAs. Your clients need to use a good moisturizer regularly and to apply
it generously. Moisturizing skin helps replenish and retain the normal
moisture content of the stratum corneum, keeping the skin soft and supple.
Moist skin is healthy skin and healthy skin will tan better and more evenly
than dry skin.
It’s only the middle of March, the winds are still blowing cold,
artic air from the north and salons nationwide are filled to capacity
with clients seeking solace from Old Man Winter. Yet, before long, those
winds will be shifting to the south, and many of your loyal customers
will be turning to Mother Nature for a dose of relaxation and nourishment.
While many salon owners believe that the summer doldrums brings a dramatic
decrease in their tanning business, this is not true for marketing savvy
operators. By marketing your facility as a one-stop shop for clients’
skincare needs such as outdoor lotions and oils, you will keep your cash
ringing throughout the summer months.
The sun is responsible for our very existence here on earth. Its light
is the fuel for photosynthesis, which is the process by which plants create
their energy, and we, in turn, depend on the plants for food and oxygen.
The sun’s infrared rays keep us warm and its visible rays give us
light to see by. The sun’s ultraviolet radiation also is useful;
however, at the same time, it is dangerous to us.
As you know, ultraviolet radiation is divided into three different bands
- UVA, UVB and UVC. Virtually all of the UVC is filtered out by our atmosphere
so that none actually reaches the earth’s surface. However, both
UVB and UVA reach the earth in significant amounts.
The summer months of June, July and August bring heat and discomfort
as well as dry, thirsty skin in need of nourishment and care. By offering
a complete array of moisturizers and SPFs, your clients will turn to your
salon as their complete skincare source instead of spending money at the
drug or department store down the street.
With the public becoming more aware of the dangers of overexposure to
sunlight, SPFs are a natural fit into your retailing sector. Not only
can you promoted sunscreens for outdoor use to your faithful tanners,
but also word-of-mouth advertising from these clients may attract additional
customers who don’t tan indoors. Just because you are a tanning
facility, doesn’t mean that non-tanners can’t turn to you
for skincare education.
In addition, it is important to promote responsible tanning whether it
occurs indoors or outdoors. By taking a proactive approach and acting
as an ambassador to this industry, you as a salon owner and educator can
squelch bad publicity about tanning as well as secure additional sales
Anyone who has had the experience of being burned by the sun knows the
value of sunscreens and sunblocks. However, most people do not understand
how they work to protect the skin.
Sunburn is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays, mostly UVB. In
fact, sunburn almost is exclusively a UVB phenomenon; however, research
continues on the different effects of UVB and UVA rays. This is important
because the SPF system measures UVB protection and not UVA. During a sunburn
the skin turns red, swells and, in some severe cases, blisters. A sunburn
continues to develop for 12 to 24 hours after the exposure.
Sunscreens are chemicals that, when applied topically, keep ultraviolet
rays from penetrating the skin. They work either by absorbing or reflecting
solar energy. The absorbed energy excites the sunscreen temporarily; then,
as the chemical relaxes back into its original state, it transforms that
entry into something harmless (usually heat). This process is repeated
countless times per second.
In addition, every sunscreen has a characteristic absorption spectrum
that is capable of absorbing only certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light
energy. High SPF sunscreen formulas contain blends of more than one sunscreen
because no single-chemical is capable of absorbing all UVB radiation.
High SPF products contain Oxybenzone (or Benzophenone-3), a UVA absorber.
In 1986 (the last year data was published) Padimate (or Octyl Dimethyl
PABA) was found to be the most widely used UVA absorber in the United
States. Contrary to consumer belief, this is not the same as PABA, which
rarely is used anymore because a small percentage of people are known
to be sensitive to it.
One of the newest ingredients to hit the SPF market is Parsol® 1789,
a highly effective filter against the sun’s UVA rays. Many of the
leading SPF manufacturers have begun using Parson 1789 because currently
it is the only sunscreen that also contains skincare properties.
Another new property that has been incorporated in SPF formulas is zinc
oxide. Most people associate zinc oxide with the white thick paste lifeguards
used in the past. It was known to be the best sunblock available, but
it was cosmetically unacceptable and therefore not used by the mainstream
population. Fortunately, things have changed, and you now can get the
physical sunscreens that are transparent. For example, zinco oxide is
now manufactured so that the particles are so small that you cannot see
them. These space age physical sunscreens are referred to as microfine
powders and Z-CODE (microfine zinc oxide) is an example that has been
incorporated into one manufacturer’s higher block SPFs in the past
Additionally, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate) is
becoming an increasingly popular UVB absorber, especially in PABA-free
and sensitive skin sun products. Use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen product
that block UVA and UVB is much safer than UVB blocks alone.
Make sure to inform clients to apply sunscreen approximately 20 minutes
before being exposed to the sun. This allows the sunscreen time to “set
up” on the skin so that it can do its job correctly. Remember, an
SPF 2 blocks out approximately 50 percent of ultraviolet rays; an SPF
10 blocks out about 85 percent of ultraviolet rays; and, an SPF 15 blocks
out approximately 95 percent of ultraviolet rays and is the reason that
most health professionals suggest an SPF of 15 or above.
It is useful to have an assortment of products with varying SPF numbers.
The suntan lotion that is desired in the early days of summer may have
too great an SPF for the last days of August.
Another point to consider is that different parts of the body require
special care in the sun. Because of their prominence, noses, cheeks and
lips often require a product with a stronger SPF than needed for arms
and legs. Educate your customers that regular use of suntan products and
common sense about how long to spend in the sun is extremely important.
Imagine this dilemma: One of your customers is leaving on a cruise in
less than one week, and she has been so busy that she has not had time
to tan. What to do? Being the knowledgeable salon operator, have the perfect
solution-suggest a sunless tanner.
Afraid that offering a sunless tanner is counterproductive to selling
indoor tanning? Think again. What better way to secure customer confidence
than by showing them how to even out those unsightly pressure points and
uneven tan lines? You already offer a complete line of skincare products
to keep your customers’ skin moisturized and provide darker, more
beautiful tans. So round out that skincare promotion by offering sunless
tanners and you will find it will shed new light on your profits.
Self-tanners have gained popularity in the past few years for a number
of reasons. The medical community’s condemnation of UV light has
caused some sun worshippers to seek refuge indoors. And while indoor tanning
offers a controlled environment and all the comforts one could want, the
media’s incisive industry bashing has caused some fear to getting
in a tanning bed.
Another reason self-tanners are gaining favor is the ease of application
and upkeep. In the past, a lot of people thought self-tanners were messy
and difficult to apply. Today, self-tanner application has been refined
and products have gained a respectable place in the industry.
In addition, many salon owners are noticing a trend toward their clients
covering their faces with towels to avoid premature wrinkling. Sunless
tanners are the perfect remedies for those telltale towel lines on their
faces and necks. In addition, it is a great product for those people who
have problems tanning or for those difficult areas to tan such as the
feet and hands. Sunless tanners also can be used to fill in pressure points
and even out tan lines. And, for some fair skin people, sunless tanners
can be used to augment the tanning process.
In days past, sunless tanners didn’t live up to their promise of
deep, golden tans. Instead, they left the skin streaked and splotched
with a distinctive orange cast. Today’s sunless tanning products
are far more sophisticated than those introduced nearly 30 years ago.
In fact, in the last few years, these products have undergone a sort of
metamorphosis-streaks, splotches and orange; smooth, bronze and beautiful
The key ingredient to the products’ evolution is Dihydroxyacetone,
or DHA, which is an extract of sugar cane. DHA reacts with proteins in
the skin to produce a bronze coloration on the top layer of skin-in essence,
a cosmetic effect that does not saturate the skin.
Over the years, the formulation technology has been greatly improved
to provide better application and coloration. Many of the earlier products
were formulated using higher DHA concentrations; today, sunless tanners
use lower concentrations because of the improved technology.
The majority of self-tanners on the market are a medium grade of color.
How dark they tan really depends on the individual’s skin type and
the condition of the skin. It is important to remind your clients that
what works on one person may not necessarily look the same on another.
The first step to ensuring a great sunless tan is to exfoliate the skin.
The skin needs to be clean and free from dead skin cells in order to alleviate
uneven distribution. Clients also need to exfoliate well and then dry
off completely before applying a sunless tanner. For example, if a client
is young and has soft, supple skin, he or she probably doesn’t need
to exfoliate as much. If he or she has naturally dry skin or are in a
place with a lot of humidity, exfoliation is the key to getting an even,
The second, and probably the most important step, is application. Some
experts suggest spot testing the product to see what shade of bronze will
result. The key to obtaining an even tan is to apply a smooth, thin layer
of the self-tanner. Avoid using too much self-tanner in one application;
you can always go back and apply another layer if the color isn’t
When applying the self-tanner, special attention should be paid to the
knee, elbow, ankle and eye areas. The reason? Color is proportional to
the surface area of the skin, and these areas are likely to become darker
because there is a higher concentration of self-tanner in the fine lines.
Additionally, it is important to wait for the product to dry completely
before getting dressed, since DHA interacts with proteins and can cause
fabrics to stain. Also, avoiding the hairline is crucial since hair is
protein and self-tanners will cause it to discolor.
Once the color has fully developed, another coat of self-tanner may be
added to darken the tan. Mistakes and uneven patches can be fixed easily
by exfoliating the area or by adding more self-tanner. Make sure to tell
clients to allow self-tanners to dry before beginning any activity, as
sweat during application can cause an uneven or streaked tan.
Since self-tanners work on the top layer of skin, the average tan only
will last for approximately three to four days, gradually fading as the
top layer dries and flakes off. Salon operators need to remind customers
that self-tanners don’t contain any sunscreen and even though their
skin is tan, they still can get sunburned.
In addition, because DHA often is associated with skin dryness, it is
important to suggest a moisturizer to complement self-tanners.
Understanding MED and MMD
- Minimal Erythemal Dose
- Minimal Melanogenic Dose
Two terms commonly used in the indoor tanning industry is Minimal
Erythemal Dose (MED) and Minimal Melanogenic Dose (MMD). Both terms seem
to be self-explanatory, however, the true definition of each term is necessary
for a clear understanding of the science of tanning.
Understanding MED and MMD
MED is the Minimal Erythemal Dose and is defined as the threshold dose
that may produce sunburn. MMD on the other hand is the Minimal Melanogenic
Dose and is equal to the lowest dose required to develop a visible suntan.
Even though the terms MED and MMD seem to be self-explanatory at first
glance, the translation of these values in the daily practice of indoor
tanning often leads to misunderstandings and wrong interpretations, especially
when it comes to determining exposure times based on MED and MMD values.
How Threshold Dosages are Determined
Assume that unprotected skin has been exposed to UV radiation for the
first time. In order to determine the MED, the reaction of the skin will
be recorded 24 hours after exposure. The minimal dose that induces any
visible reddening at that point is defined as one MED.
Redness that occurs immediately after exposure, however, and disappears
during the following three to five hours is mainly caused by heat and
is not comparable with real UV erythema. This is the reason why the reading
is not taken until 24 hours later.
For users of tanning units, the MED provides important information about
the sunburning effect of the equipment, since an even perceptible reddening
is the first sign of a sunburn reaction. In order to prevent possible
acute or long term risks due to indoor tanning, the MED should not be
exceeded during a session.
The MMD is determined in a very similar manner. In contrast to the MED
examination, however, the readings are taken seven days after exposure
instead of 24 hours. The minimal dose required to produce an even noticeable
tan, which can be observed seven days later, is defined as one MMD. The
interval between exposure and reading is necessary to permit the occurrence
of new melanin biosynthesis (melano-genesis), which only becomes evident
after several days of UV application.
Why Standard Values?
To better understand MED and MMD, it should be said that both are individual
values. The lowest effective dose developing a sunburn as well as the
value of producing a suntan depend distinctly on the skin sensitivity
of the person (i.e. skin types).
In order to eliminate these individually influencing factors, MED and
MMD have been standardized. With standardized MED and MMD values, sunlamp
products can be characterized and specified and become comparable with
respect to their biological capabilities.
Such information based on these standard values is of greater meaning
than statements about the physical data such as UVB/UVA ratios or UVB
Standard MED and MMD Compared
By comparing MED and MMD values of tanning units, it may be surprising
that the required exposure time for reaching one MMD is usually longer
than the corresponding time for one MED. This seems to indicate that it
is impossible to tan without first developing red skin. At the same time,
the question comes up: How can we achieve tanning slowly, progressively,
and safely without producing a sunburn?
To shed some light on this question, consider the following: As mentioned
above, MED and MMD are standardized values and valid for unprotected and
untanned Skin Type II. This means that such given values are basically
only valid before undergoing the first exposure.
The effect on the skin of a melanogentic dosage will become evident only
three to five days after exposure, at the earliest. Further, Melanogenesis
is a long lasting process, therefore single doses work cumulatively. In
other words, the skin does not forget the induced pigment effects and
accumulates these single pigment-producing dosages over time.
Besides Melanogenesis there exists the ‘IPD’, an immediate
pigment darkening effect which is a rather superficially effective tanning
mechanism. IPD is a transient reaction induced by the photochemical oxidation
of preformed melanin pigments by long-wave UV, darkening the skin during
By the use of a sunbed, for example, which is characterized by an exposure
time of 20 minutes for one MED and 45 minutes for one MMD. Melanogenesis
can be induced in two different and, at least theoretically, conceivable
Consider the given MMD exposure time of 45 minutes. Although the applied
melanogenetic dose is high enough to produce new pigments, an exposure
of this duration cannot be recommended because the MED would be exceeded
more than twice during such a session.
It is better to get a suntan by starting an exposure schedule consisting
of three applications of 15 minutes each during one week. The advantage
of such a procedure is twofold. The applied dose per session does not
reach the limit of one MED, however, at the same time the skin has received
a total melanogenetic dose of one MMD. This means that the process of
new pigment formation will be induced without the risk of sunburn. Furthermore,
at the beginning of each session series, this exposure schedule is in
agreement with FDA regulations. In additions to Melanogenesis, even during
the first exposure session the skin will be tanned immediately if the
horny layer contains some weakly colored, preformed pigments which then
can be darkened by IPD. Generally, human skin has some pigment pre-stages
available (except Skin Type I). In this context, it may be helpful to
know that with most of the commonly used sunlamps, the threshold dose
to initiate IPD will be reached quicker than 1 MED.
Depending on the amount of available pigment (and skin types), the effect
of IPD usually remains only for hours, at the most a few days. With an
increasing number of sessions, the amount of pre-stage pigment will be
Talking about indoor tanning as well as outdoor tanning, the mechanisms
of ‘immediate pigment darkening’ and of ‘pigment formation’
(Melanogenesis) interact so that a clear differentiation between them
is often impossible. As a rule, it can be established that IPD is more
important during the first sessions while Melanogenesis comes more and
more into play during the following exposures.
By using suntanning units, both mechanisms are utilized. At the beginning,
the tanning results are mainly caused by IPD. With increasing sessions,
the obtained suntan becomes darker and deeper due to further melanin synthesis.
Further, with well-tanned skin, the required exposure time to develop
erythema will be prolonged, and thus offers an effective sun protection.
Determining an Exposure Schedule
- Exposure time
- Skin typing
Accurate control of exposure times is necessary to decrease the risk
of overexposure to ultraviolet radiation. Another factor involved in
optimal tanning sessions is being able to accurately identify the various
skin types of those clients that frequent indoor tanning facilities.
Determining Exposure Time:
Where To Look
FDA standards require that the manufacturer provide an exposure schedule with the
product warning label. The exposure schedule allows a user to gradually build up a tan and
maintain it while controlling the risk of acute injury and delayed adverse effects. Because
the UV dose that causes a barely discernible pink coloration of the skin (MED or minimal
erythema dose) is not the same for everyone, the exposure schedule for the first time user
will depend on the skin type of the user. Sub-erythema doses of UV received at 24-hour
intervals initially lead to a reduction of the erythema thresholds. Therefore, the exposure
schedule and maximum recommended exposure time limits the potential for erythema and
monitors the dose of radiation necessary to achieve and maintain a tan.
The amount of UV required to achieve a tan is different for each person. The exposure
schedule is designed to allow a client to gradually build a tan, while minimizing the risk of
erythema. The schedule is based on the skin type of the individual client and the output of
lamps in the tanning unit. It takes into account a client’s recent exposure, then increases the
session time gradually.
Maximum timer intervals depend upon the intensity and spectral distribution of ultraviolet
emission from the equipment and must not exceed the maximum recommended exposure
time provided on the manufacturer’s label. Equipment manufacturers are required to develop
an exposure schedule and to establish the recommended exposure time. Therefore, the
maximum timer interval based on the characteristics of their particular products.
According to the FDA, the purpose of a sunlamp product timer is to provide for reliable
control of exposures and to limit acute (and delayed) damage from unintentionally long
It is the tanning salon operator’s responsibility to determine the amount of time a client can
tan. This time is determined by referring to the manufacturer’s printed label for suggested
tanning time. In order to properly utilize the label the operator must accurately determine
the client’s skin type and skin sensitivity (see below). Also, a thorough evaluation must
done to determine factors that could eliminate or reduce tanning time (checking for
photosensitizing substances and unit past the maximum conditions). Regardless of skin type,
a client should never be allowed to exceed the time allowed on the manufacturer’s label.
The most important factor involved in determining a client’s tanning time is his or her
skin type. In order to understand and implement exposure schedules, salon operators
consistently must be able to skin type clients with accuracy.
In some states, salon operators are required to use a state-approved skin typing form. The
most common skin typing charts used today are based on the Fitzpatrick system, which
evolved from Dr. Thomas B. Fitzpatrick’s earlier biological work. The system originally was
developed to determine appropriate exposure schedules for patients with psoriasis who
were being treated with PUVA therapy. It takes into account an individual’s reaction to
sunlight exposure lasting 45 to 60 minutes with unexposed (untanned) skin, as well as his
or her coloring: hair, eyes, skin (phenotype).
Charts based on the Fitzpatrick system categorize humans into six different skin types,
arranged from lightest to darkest coloring. Below is a typical skin typing chart. Skin type is
determined by a person’s initial response to sun exposure after a long period of no exposure
(winter). It remains the same, regardless of tan developing due to further exposures.
Skin Type 1 tans little or not at all; burns easily and severely; then peels. Skin reaction
samples include most often fair skin, blue eyes, freckles, and white, unexposed skin. The
skin of Type 1 individuals does not have the ability to create natural protection from
ultraviolet exposure, and it is particularly susceptible to burning and damage from UV rays.
These people should avoid UV exposure, and must not be allowed to go into a tanning bed.
Skin typing should eliminate the possibility of a Skin Type 1 individual tanning in a bed.
Sunless tanning options would be a good solution for these clients.
Skin Type 2 usually burns easily and severely (painful burn); tans minimally and lightly.
Skin reaction samples include: fair skin, blue or hazel eyes, blonde or red hair, and white,
Skin Type 3 burns moderately; gains average tan. Skin reaction samples include: average
Caucasian, with white unexposed skin.
Skin Type 4 burns minimally; tans easily and above average with each exposure; exhibits
IPD. Skin reaction samples include: people with light or brown skin, dark-brown hair,
and dark eyes, and whose unexposed skin is white or light brown (Asians, Hispanics and
SKIN TYPE SKIN REACTION EXAMPLES
Tans little or not at all, always burns easily and
severely, then peels
People most often with fair skin, blue eyes,
freckles; white unexposed skin
Usually burns easily and severely (painful burn);
tans minimally and lightly; also peels
People with fair skin; blue or hazel eyes blonde
or red hair; white unexposed skin
Burns moderately gains average tan
Average Caucasian; white unexposed skin
Burns minimally, tans easily and above average with
each exposure; exhibits IPD (immediate pigment darkening) reaction
People with light or brown skin; dark brown hair,
dark eyes; unexposed skin is white or light brown (Orientals, Hispanics
Rarely burns, tans easily and substantially; always
exhibits IPD reaction
Brown skinned persons; unexposed skin is brown (East
Indians, Hispanics etc.)
Tans profusely and never burns; exhibits IPD reaction
Persons with black skin (e.g. African & American
Blacks, Australian & South Indian Aborigines)
Skin Type 5 rarely burns; tans easily and substantially; always exhibits IPD. Skin reaction
samples include: brown-skinned persons whose unexposed skin is brown (East Indians,
The last category, Skin Type 6, tans profusely, never burns; exhibits IPD. Skin reaction
samples include: persons with black skin (Africans and African Americans, Austrlians and
South Indian Aborigines).
Because people with higher skin types have more pigmentation, thus more natural
protection, their exposure schedules can progress more rapidly than those with lower skin
types. It is extremely important to note that regardless of skin type, the maximum exposure
time in a tanning unit should never be exceeded.
Although it is much harder for a person of Skin Type 4, 5 or 6 to burn, it is possible. It is a
common belief that indoor-tanning equipment is designed to produce a quick tan without
burning, and that tanning for longer periods will bring quicker results. This is not correct.
Following the maximum recommended exposure time of the tanning unit will produce the
When determining the appropriate exposure schedule for a client, it is important to note
that a salon operator can’t base skin type simply by what he or she sees. Because of the
prevalence of hair dyes, colored contacts and sunless tanners, it is nearly impossible to
accurately determine a client’s natural coloring and a salon operator easily could incorrectly
skin type the client. Also, a client can walk in with what appears to be an all-over tan but
is only tanned on the arms, legs and face. If operators use the exposure schedule based
on what they see, a client easily could incur a burn on previously unexposed skin. It is
important for the operator to have an open dialogue with the client.
In addition to skin typing and looking at recent tanning history, other factors should be
used to properly utilize the exposure schedule. A salon operator needs to ask a clients
about possible photosensitizing medications and medical conditions that could affect
recommended tanning times. A questionnaire inquiring about sun sensitivity, natural
coloring, recent tanning history, medications and medical history should be used, and is
required by certain states. (A questionnaire of this type is listed on the next page. Each
response is given a numerical value, after the tanning operator reviews the questions with
the client the answers are tallied up and an individual’s sun sensitivity is determined. This
level of sun sensitivity can then be used when utilizing the manufacturer’s printed label for
suggested tanning time.)
Tanning Takes Time
Clients need to be educated on the tanning process and made aware that it takes some
time. It takes six to 10 sessions following the exposure schedule for a previously unexposed
individual to develop a base tan. Because we live in a society that is used to immediate
gratification, it would be a smart idea for salons to carry self tanners and bronzers for clients
who want immediate color while beginning their tanning regime.
The tanning process occurs in two phases. The color seen immediately after getting out of
a tanning unit is due to immediate pigment darkening (IPD). IPD results from the rapid
darkening of already existing melanin and is induced mainly by UVA. It is most obvious in
skin where high levels of pigmentation already exist. IPD can fade within minutes or last up
to several days after longer exposures and blend into the delayed tanning phase.
The delayed tanning phase first becomes visible 72 hours after exposure. It is induced
mainly by UVB and is the result of increased melanin. By creating an excited condition in
the melanocytes which then release more melanin, both UVA and UVB contribute to the
delayed tanning phase.
Because the length of IPD is primarily determined by skin type, certain individuals will
experience IPD for only a few minutes. It is important to educate these clients on the
tanning process, otherwise they may incorrectly perceive that they did not receive adequate
color from their tanning session and try to tan again within a 24-hour period. This could
lead to unintentional overexposure. Supplementing sunless tanning options along with UV
tanning will allow these clients to have immediate color while they develop their base tans.
Clients rely on salon operators to maximize their tanning processes while reducing their
risks for overexposure. By appropriately determining exposure schedules based on skin
type, salon operators can ensure continued business success. Clients who achieve beautiful,
golden tans without incurring sunburn will be satisfied, repeat clientele.
- Health conditions
Photosensitivity is typically defined as a chemically induced alteration
in the skin that makes a person more sensitive to light. Photosensitive
reactions can fluctuate from mild to chronic depending on the sensitivity
of the individual.
Many medications and topical solutions can cause the skin to burn or break
out in a rash when exposed to ultraviolet light. Photosensitivity is an
adverse skin reaction (dermatitis) to certain substances in the presence
of ultraviolet light. The substances may be encountered orally, topically,
or subcutaneously, but it must be present when the skin is exposed to
ultraviolet light. Photosensitizers may cause erythema, rashes, itching,
scaling or inflammation and act to decrease tolerance to ultraviolet light
(TUVR) and, therefore, increase sensitivity to UVR (SUVR).
There is a list of drugs and other substances known to cause photosensitivity
at the end of this chapter. The items with the highest probability of
causing a reaction are highlighted. A list of this type should be clearly
posted in your salon and be thoroughly reviewed by the client before they
sign the informed consent form. The brand names of products should be
considered only as examples; they do not represent all names under which
the generic product may be sold. A document titled “Medications
That Increase Sensitivity to Light: A 1990 Listing” is included
in the appendix and contains almost every substance that is known to cause
photosensitivity. Remind your clients to notify your tanning salon and
check with their physician when they begin taking any medication while
they are tanning. Clients taking psoralen drugs may become extremely photosensitive
and should only tan under physician supervision. At the beginning of each
new tanning season, it is a good idea to remind your clients again about
the risks and symptoms of a photosensitivity reaction.
There are numerous factors that determine how a photosensitizer will
react. An item which causes a severe reaction in one person may not cause
but a minimal reaction in another person. Also an individual who experiences
a photosensitive reaction on one occasion may not necessarily experience
it again. Everyday items such as perfumes, soaps, artificial sweeteners,
tattoos and certain foods may cause photosensitivity. They often cause
photodermatitis, which is characterized by inflammation of the skin when
exposed to ultraviolet light. Some of the new “tingle” products
can cause photodermatitis and you should advise your clients to test them
on a small area before using them. If a client complains of rashes and/or
itching, find out whether or not they have recently used a photosensitizing
substance. If so, they should be referred to a physician or pharmacist
You should exert every effort to make sure your clients thoroughly review
the “Substances That May Cause Photosensitivity” list and
recommend that they consult their physician prior to tanning if they are
taking any of the “high probability” items. It is also wise
to significantly reduce their session time temporarily if they are taking
any items on the list until it can be determined whether or not it will
cause the client to experience a photosensitivity reaction.
The following health conditions can make tanning hazardous. Do not allow
clients with these conditions to tan without written consent from their
physician. (It is not likely that a doctor will permit the client to tan
under these circumstances.)
AIDS / HIV (*)
Polymorphous Light Eruption
(*)Human Immunodeficiency Virus
The risk of photosensitivity and the possibility that a client may have
one of the diseases listed above are but two of the many reasons why you
need to routinely use a comprehensive Client Release and Informed Consent
form. Never forget that you are accountable for the safety of the clients
who patronize your tanning salon.
SUBSTANCES THAT MAY CAUSE PHOTOSENSITIVTY
TRICYCLIC AGENTS, eg.,Elavil, Asendin, Norpramin, Sinequan, Tofranil,
Aventyl, Vivactil, Surmontil, venlafixine (Effexor)
hydroxyzine (Atarax, Vistaril)
griseofulvin (Fulvicin, Grisactin)
*nalidixic acid (NegGram)
QUINOLONES, eg., Cipro, Penetrex,, Levaquin, Floxin, *Maxaquin, Noroxin,
* Zagam sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
* SULFONAMIDES, eg., Gantrisin, Bactrim, Septra
TETRACYCLINES, eg., *Declomycin, Vibramycin, Minocin, Terramycin
pyrvinium parnoate (Povan, Vanquin)
chlorprothixene (Taractan, Tarasan)
* PHENOTHIAZINES, eg., Compazine, Mellaril, Stelazine, Phenergan,
procarbazine (Matulane, Natulan)
vinblastine (Velban, Belbe)
CARDIOVASCULARS (see also Diuretics)
ACE INHIBITORS, eg., Capoten, Vasotec, Monapril, Accupril, Altace,
DIURETICS (see also Cardiovasculars)
metolazone (Diulo, Zaroxolyn)
*THIAZIDES, eg., HydroDiuril, Naturetin,
glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase)
All nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, eg., ibuprofen (Motrin, Naproxen
(Anaprox, Naproxyn), Orudis, Feldene, Voltaren, etc. The new NSAID agents
include: etodolac (Lodine), nabumetone, (Relafen), oxaprozin (Daypro)
*benzophenones (Arimis, Clinique)
cinnamates (Arimis, Estee Lauder)
dioxbenzone (Solbar Plus)
oxybenzone (Eclipse, Presun, Shade)
(Block Out, Sea & Ski, Eclipse)
benzoyl peroxide (Oxy 10)
coal tar, eg., Tegrin, Zetar)
CONTRACEPTIVES, oral estazolam (ProSom)
gold salts (Myochrysine, Ridaura, Solganal)
hypericum (St. John’s Wort)
interferon beta-1b (Betaseron)
*PERFUME OILS, eg.,
bergamot, citron, lavender, sandalwood, cedar, musk
selegiline (deprenyl, Eldepryl)
*tretinoin (Retin-A, Vitamin A Acid)
Note: Items with an asterisk (*) are shown in bold because they
are more likely to cause photosensitivity reactions. Overall, the drugs
listed above cause reactions in less than 1% of patients. Tell clients
that get an unusual “sunburn” or allergic or eczematous reaction
in skin areas exposed to light to let their physician or pharmacist know
about the problem and to discontinue exposure to UV radiation. Photosensitivity
data from Pharmacist’s Letter.
Risks Of Overexposure
- Actinic elastosis
- Actinic karatosis
- Polymorphous light eruption (PLE)
Salon owner/operator and client education is the number one factor that
can and will diminish the chances of risk during the tanning process. As
with any process involving UVR exposure, it is vital to stress moderate,
sensible and responsible tanning and consistent use of approved eye
Risks Of Overexposure
Overexposure, which is defined as a UVR dose sufficient to cause erythema, should be
avoided. Repeated overexposure is believed to cause eye and skin injury and allergic
reactions and increase the risks of developing photoaging of the skin, dryness, wrinkling,
and (sometimes fatal) skin cancer.
Skin cancers can be divided into two main categories (melanoma and non-melanoma)
and three main types (Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Cutaneous
Malignant Melanoma). Non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common skin cancers.
Basal Cell /carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma are the two most common forms of
non-melanoma skin cancers. Melanomas are cancers that develop from melanocytes.
1. Non-melanoma Skin Cancer
More than 1 million cases of Basal Cell or Squamous Cell cancer will be diagnosed annually.
Men are twice as likely to develop non-melanoma cancers than women. Death is uncommon
in these cancers. It is estimated that 1,000 to 2,000 people die each year from nonmelanoma
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) occurs in the deepest layer of the epidermis and it is named for
the skin cell in which it arises. Affecting 800,000 Americans each year, Basal Cell Carcinoma
is the most common form of skin cancer. About 70 to 80 percent of all skin cancers in
men and 80 percent to 90 percent in women are Basal Cell Carcinomas. They occur most
frequently on exposed parts of the body—the face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders and back.
Basal Cell Carcinoma is slow growing. It is rare for Basal Cell Carcinoma to spread to the
lymph nodes or to distant parts of the body. If the cancer is not treated, however, it can
grow into and invade the bone and tissue nearby.
After treatment, Basal Cell Carcinoma can recur. Thirty-five percent to 50 percent of people
diagnosed with one Basal Cell cancer develop a new skin cancer within five years of the
Signs—Basal Cell Carcinoma usually appears as a smooth, waxy or pearly bump that grows
slowly and rarely spreads.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) occurs in the upper layers of the epidermis. Afflicting more
than 200,000 Americans each year, Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common
form of skin cancer. Squamous Cell Carcinomas account for about 10 percent to 30 percent
of all skin cancers. Squamous Cell Carcinomas most commonly appear on exposed areas
of the body (the face, ear, neck, lip, and back of the hands) but can occur on mucous
membranes and all other areas of the body.
Squamous cell cancers tend to be more aggressive than basal
cell cancers. Although it is uncommon, they are more likely to
invade surrounding tissues, and slightly more likely to spread
to lymph nodes or distant parts of the body
Signs—Squamous Cell Carcinoma causes a firm, nodular or flat
growth with a crusted, ulcerated or scaly surface on the face,
ears, neck hands or arms.
Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma (CMM) is more rare but is
aggressive and can be fatal. It is estimated that in 2005 there
will be 59,580 cases diagnosed and 7,770 deaths reported.
Since 1981, the incidence of melanoma has increased a little
less than 3 percent per year. The percentage of people who
develop melanoma has more than doubled in the past 30 years.
Malignant melanoma causes more than 75 percent of all deaths
from skin cancer. Melanoma is the most common cancer
among people 25 to 29 years old.
This disease can spread to other organs, most commonly the
lungs and liver.
Malignant melanoma diagnosed at an early stage usually can be
cured, but melanoma diagnosed at a late stage is more likely to
spread and cause death.
Signs—Melanoma often appears asymmetrical, irregularly
bordered and with a diameter larger than the head of a pencil
(about ¼ of an inch).
The following factors increase an individual’s susceptibility
to skin cancer: a family history of skin cancer, Skin Type 1,
multiple sunburns, photosensitivity, and certain types and large
numbers of moles. Skin Type 1 individuals should never be
allowed in a tanning unit, they are biologically incapable of
acquiring a tan. Individuals who have a past history of skin
cancer should also not tan.
It is the operators responsibility to follow moderate, sensible,
and responsible tanning practices (properly skin typing,
following manufacturers recommended exposure schedules,
checking medical information for photosensitizing medications
and conditions, not allowing a client to tan more than once in
a 24-hour period) to ensure that overexposure does not occur.
Medical Help Regarding Skin Cancer
If you notice a new growth, change in skin or sore that doesn’t
heal in 2 weeks, see your physician. Don’t wait for pain; skin
cancers are usually not painful. The cure rate for skin cancer
is high if you receive treatment early. If a client questions you
regarding a growth, change in their skin or a sore, refer them
to their physician or dermatologist for evaluation.
There are several other skin conditions that have been
associated with overexposure to sunlight (ultraviolet radiation).
Actinic (solar) keratosis (AK). A horny growth or callosity
associated with middle-aged or elderly individuals with fair
complexion. AK is a premalignant condition that may give
rise to squamous cell carcinoma and is linked to repeated
overexposure to sunlight.
Polymorphous light eruption (PLE). A common disorder that
is characterized by a delayed abnormal response to sunlight,
usually a rash or eruption, that is found on UVR-exposed areas
of the skin. Women are four times more likely to experience
PLE symptoms than are men. Additionally, about 5% of the
public is prone to an outbreak of PLE. The typical onset is 1
to 24 hours after exposure and the condition usually resolves
itself within seven to ten days.
This condition is an acute reaction in the skin following
overexposure to UV radiation. UVB accounts for most sunburn
reactions. Symptoms of sunburn usually appear within a few
hours after exposure, bringing pain, redness, swelling and
occasional blistering. Because a large area of the body is often
effected after overexposure, a sunburn can cause headache,
fever and fatigue.
Sunburn may not slow you down too much, but a lifetime
of overexposure to UV radiation can damage your skin and
increase your risk for skin cancer. If you have severe sunburn
or immediate complications (rash, itching or fever), contact
The term photoaging is a relatively new one. Utilized
to describe skin changes that result from chronic UVR
overexposure that mimic the physiologic aging process,
photoaged skin is typically thickened and has increased
numbers and activity of skin cells. There is a degeneration of
collagen fibers and an increase in elastin of the skin.
Photaged skin appears rough and thickened, with wrinkling
and furrowing. It is dry to the touch and may have a yellowish
color associated with brown hyperpigmentation.
Photoaging has been linked mainly to UVA radiation. Although
UVA carries less energy than UVB rays, it penetrates more
deeply into the skin and tissues beneath. Prolonged, intense
exposure to UV can damage tissues in the dermis and
cause premature aging. It is believed that 90 percent of the
visual characteristics associated with aging (less elasticity,
hyperpigmented spots, fine lines, wrinkles) are increased by
exposure to UV.
State and Federal Regulations
In addition to various state and local tanning regulations, the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) share the responsibility of regulating sunlamps
and tanning devices. The FDA typically enforces regulations that
deal with the labeling and manufacturing of tanning devices;
the FTC investigates false, misleading and deceptive advertising
claims about the devices. When these agencies determine that a
label on a tanning unit does not comply with the regulations or
that advertisements are not truthful, they have the authority to
take corrective action. Ultimately, the FDA can remove products
from the marketplace.
THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION
Performance Standards For Sunlamps
If the proper procedures are not followed, indoor tanning can have negative
consequences. Because of this, the FDA developed stringent rules and regulations that
govern the manufacturing and use of devices for indoor tanning.
The initial performance standard for sunlamp products (including tanning units)
published in the Federal Register became effective for all tanning devices on May 7,
1980. The regulation was designed primarily to promote the safety of home sunlamps.
It was developed after a long period of both public and industry commentary.
When the indoor tanning industry began to boom, the FDA revisited its regulations
by completing a further investigation on the use of indoor tanning devices. The FDA
became concerned with the potential for injury, since use of the products had resulted
in several injuries, ranging from “severe sunburn” from overexposure to the ultraviolet
radiation to cuts from broken lamps.
It became apparent that additional safety precautions were needed beyond those
required by the standard. Therefore, the standard was amended in 1985; the new version
became applicable for all tanning devices manufactured on or after Sept. 8, 1986. All sunlamp products must have a warning label, an accurate timer, an emergency stop control, and include an exposure schedule and protective goggles. To review the Performance Standard for Sunlamp and Sunlamp Product, 21 CFR 1040.20 - click here
Salon owners need to remember that if any products pose a risk to the health of users,
the FDA is prepared and authorized to take regulatory action. Safety may be enforced
through mandatory or voluntary recalls, injunctions, and imposition of fines or seizure
of the products.
Although these regulations were written specifically for manufacturers, salon owners
and operators should be familiar with the rules to help them run a secure and more
comfortable salon. Knowledge of the regulations also will prove beneficial when
educating salon employees and customers.
To view the FDA Laws, Regulations and Standards pertaining to tanning click here
THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
Tanning salon owners and operators are governed by laws that are based at the local,
state and federal levels. When discussing federal guidelines, most people realize
the FDA is a governing body. Its guidelines typically deal with the recommended
manufacturing, labeling and usage of tanning equipment. However, when considering
federal rules, all tanning facility owners and operators also fall under additional
restrictions enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC enforces a variety of federal antitrust and consumer protection laws. Although
some may argue this point, the FTC’s goal is to ensure that the nation’s markets
function competitively and are vigorous, efficient and free of undue restrictions.
How the Commission most affects tanning facilities is through its objective to
eliminate acts or practices that are unfair or deceptive. According to the Commission,
“Efforts are directed toward stopping actions that threaten consumers’ opportunities to
make informed choices.”
What truth-in-advertising rules apply to advertisers? Under the Federal Trade Commission Act:
1. Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive;
2. Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims; and
3. Advertisers cannot be unfair.
Additional laws even apply to ads for specialized products such as consumer leases,
credit, 900 telephone numbers and products sold through mail order or telephone
sales. In addition to FTC guidelines, all states have consumer protection laws that
govern ads running in that state.
According to the FTC, here are some claims that should not be made regarding
“You can achieve a deep year-round tan with safe ultraviolet light.”
“No harsh glare, so no goggles or eye protection is necessary.”
“Tan without the harmful side effects associated with natural sunlight.”
“No danger in exposure to ultraviolet light.”
“Our tanning beds help relieve the pain and discomfort of psoriasis.”
What Makes An Ad Deceptive?
According to the FTC’s Deceptive Policy Statement, an ad is deceptive if it contains a
statement—or omits information—that:
1. Is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances; and
2. Is “material”—that is, important to consumer’s decision to buy or use the
product being offered for sale?
The FTC looks at both expressed and implied claims. An expressed claim is literally
made in the ad. For example, “Our tanning beds prevent osteoporosis” is an expressed
claim that your beds prevent osteoporosis. An implied claim is one that is made
indirectly. “Our tanning beds create vitamin D that prevents osteoporosis” contains
an implied claim that your beds will prevent osteoporosis. Although your ad may not
say that your beds prevent osteoporosis, it would be reasonable for a consumer to
conclude from this statement that your beds do prevent osteoporosis.
What You Can Say
Avoiding any and all claims that relate directly or indirectly to any healthful benefit of
indoor tanning—or regarding the safety of tanning—is the most prudent thing a salon
owner can do. Sometimes finding the correct way to promote the positive aspects of
indoor tanning can at first be challenging. However, professional tanning salons across
the country have many positive factors that can be promoted without crossing the line
of health and safety. Comfort, control, convenience, service and cleanliness are just a
few features that are always acceptable in promoting any tanning facility. Below are a
few examples that are acceptable in tanning advertising:
“Indoor tanning offers a predictable tanning environment controlled by timers
that ensure the accuracy of your tanning session.”
“You can achieve a beautiful year-round tan in the comfortable setting of our
“Our staff will evaluate your tanning potential using a skin typing chart that
determines the most productive tanning session available.”
“Achieve that beautiful golden tan at our salon rain or shine.”
These are just a few suitable statements that are often made in salons’ advertisements
across the country. Other factors to consider are price, location, hours of operation,
exciting new equipment, selections of tanning products and the level of knowledge
your staff has about tanning.
If you have questions about claims you can make in your advertising, contact the
Federal Trade Commission at (877) FTC-HELP or online at www.ftc.gov.
Please contact your local government regarding your specific state regulations.
Understanding Eye Protection
- CFR 21 1040.20 (C) (4)
- Structure and function of the eye
The importance of wearing approved eyewear while tanning can never be
stressed enough. What value can you put on something that is so vital
it is responsible for 80% of all information we receive on a daily bases.
Understanding Eye Protection
The importance of wearing protective eyewear can never be stressed enough.
Federal regulations (CFR 21 1040.20 (c) (4)) require that tanners wear
protective eyewear that block 99.9% of the UVB light and 99% of the UVA
light. In Canada, the government enforces identical requirements. It is
the operator's responsibility that the clients use compliant eyewear.
Acceptable eyewear must state the product's compliance with Federal regulations
on the package. Some states require salons provide eyewear free of charge
while others only require that clients wear approved eye protection.
The eyelid is too thin to be able to protect the eye from ultraviolet
light penetration. Too much UVB damages the cornea, while too much UVA
damages the retina. UVB has such a short wavelength that is completely
absorbed by the lens (cornea of the eye. When these rays are absorbed
by the cornea, they can cause corneal burns.
People who have had UVB overexposure to the eyes will experience swelling
of the eye tissues, redness, soreness, and a feeling as though a handful
of sand has been thrown in their eyes. Because UVA has a longer wavelength,
it penetrates the cornea and focuses on the retina, where it does considerable
damage at high dosage levels.
Color perception is the first thing to fail with overexposure to UVA.
Retinal burns caused by UVA can produce scarring in the rods and cones
of the eye which will reduce both visual acuity and sensitivity to color.
Unprotected overexposure of the eyes to UVR can also lead to brunescent
cataracts which cannot be removed by surgery.
Always ask your clients if they have their eye protection with them.
Remind them that towels, sunglasses, cotton balls, and their eyelids do
not adequately protect their eyes from damage. Eyewear must fit properly
to be effective. UV light must not be able to seep in around the corners
of the eyewear. The elastic strap that comes with goggles is provided
to insure a tight fit.
Do not let your clients risk damaging their eyes to eliminate tan lines.
There are types of protective eyewear which fit on each eye in order to
eliminate lines from the glasses bridge or elastic strap, however these
should not be used in vertical booths. Never allow the use of cracked,
pitted or discolored eyewear.
Your eyes are too valuable to risk damaging and you only get two of them
to last a lifetime. You are, by law, responsible for your clients eye
safety and you can never take that responsibility too seriously.
Structure and Function
The eye is like a camera. The cornea protects the lens and acts as a colorless
filter to refract light. The lens of the eye is flexible, changing thickness
in response to the contraction and relaxation of the ciliary muscles.
The iris corresponds to the aperture in a camera, controlling the amount
of light that enters the eye.The retina is like the film in a camera:
The images are projected onto it and thin changed into electric signals.
The visual cells of the retina include rods and cones. Rods are sensitive
to changes in light but not color, whereas cones perceive color. The optic
nerve relays signals to the visual center of the cerebrum, giving rise
Disinfecting your equipment is of utmost importance because of the rise
in communicable diseases. The most widely publicized of these today is
the HIV virus (AIDS). There are other forms of bacteria and other viruses
to think about. Doctors claim that toilet seats, Jacuzzis and shower rooms
do not play host to the HIV virus. They are not so certain about more
intimate items such as toothbrushes, razors, and in a tanning facility
perhaps the protective eyewear
Considering that indoor tanning is a fairly intimate industry, a salon
owner/operators need to know how to respond to inquiries about AIDS and
tanning units. They also need to know more about equipment maintenance
and sanitation to ensure that hygiene problems of any kind are kept at
bay. Most microorganisms' die immediately upon exposure to ultraviolet
light, but when left on handles and the sunbed frame, they can live for
an unspecified time period.
Some infectious diseases to be aware of include: hepatitis A and B,
influenza viruses and conjunctivitis (pinkeye). One thing
salons often neglect to disinfect is the tanning pillow. If the vinyl
on a pillow is split, bacteria and viruses can live inside the warm foam.
Any split or cracked pillow should be replaced immediately, and all pillows
should be disinfected after every use.
Tanning salon employees must be responsible for disinfecting the entire
tanning room rather than leaving it up to your customers. Your customers
don’t know all the cleaning/disinfecting methods and don’t
really want to be bothered with it anyway. In some states regulations
prohibit customers from cleaning/disinfecting the tanning room.
Another critical area of sanitation is protective eyewear. Because of
the risk of infectious diseases (i.e. impetigo, viral and bacterial infections,
conjunctivitis etc.) goggles must be cleaned, then disinfected between
Remind clients that the risk of infection does not only come from other
people, but it is possible to continually re-infect yourself if you have
some type of virus or infection. The cleaning solution used should be
designed for protective eyewear specifically. Make sure it has been mixed
properly to prevent eye irritation.
The solution needs to be non-toxic and not leave a film or residue behind
after drying. It must clearly state on the product label that it will
effectively kill all leading germs and bacteria. The solution must not
destroy the plastic in the goggles and make the plastic fall below FDA
State, local and FDA regulations that apply to sanitation vary from area
to area and must be complied with in all cases. Check with the regulating
body(s) in your area to be sure you are in compliance.
Equipment Operating Procedures
- Standard operating procedures
- Equipment and salon maintenance problems
- Maintenance programs
Consistency is the key to any effective operating or maintenance
plan. Having a written schedule or list of procedures helps take the
guesswork out of what is expected of staff.
Equipment Operating Procedures
Tanning salon owners and operators have a responsibility to educate themselves and
operate under the framework of a well structured, informed and ethical procedure. The
biological effects of overexposure to ultraviolet radiation are well established. The following
sample list is considered to be a general and responsible list of operating procedures.
- Utilize a detailed medical history information questionnaire. Include questions on past and
present medical history, medications, past tanning history. The client should be reminded
to update the tanning facility any time their information changes. A warning statement
should be reviewed by the operator with the client. The statement should be signed and
dated by the customer on their first visit and renewed annually.
- Before a minor is allowed to tan (check with your state’s regulations concerning minors) a parent
or legal guardian should give written authorization in the presence of the tanning operator.
- Establish your clients’ proper skin type. This is very important in order to follow the
proper exposure schedule. Utilize a questionnaire to determine sensitivity.
- Follow the recommended exposure schedule. The duration and spacing of UV exposures
is very important. It is important for you to inform the client of the reasons to follow the
guidelines of the exposure schedule and the inherent dangers associated with UV exposure.
Inform the client that they are never to tan more than once in a 24-hour period.
- The override timing device, which should be located outside of the tanning room, is to be
set by the tanning operator.
- Post in a conspicuous location warning and proper usage signs. Many states have specific
guidelines regarding size, placement and wording of signage.
- The operator should give a new client complete instructions on how to use the tanning
equipment. (locating the emergency shut off switch, indicating user positioning, use of
the cooling system, adjusting of the canopy). It should not be assumed that the client will
know how to use the equipment.
- Establish an accurate record-keeping system, detailing each client’s visit. Include dates,
exposure time, room used and attendant, (many states now require this).
- Be sure the equipment in place at your facility has been manufactured in accordance with
FDA regulations 21 CFR Part 1040.20.
- Be sure that your equipment meets FDA’s 21 CRF Part 1040.20 regarding timer accuracy.
(FDA’s policy allows for no more than a ±10% error.) Check the timer regularly for accuracy.
- Make sure your equipment has all of the required labeling required as part of FDA’s 21
- Be sure the lamps utilized in your equipment are compliant with the manufacturer’s
requirements and labeling or replacement lamps are certified to FDA standards to be
equivalent to the original equipment lamp listed on the equipment labels (or listed in the
Owner’s Manual). Have the lamp compatibility sheet in the records.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommended replacement schedule for acrylic panels or
sooner if damaged, cracked or the transmission level has deteriorated.
NOTE: The use of a UV irradiance metering device can be very helpful for determining
acrylic and lamp degradation. Take your initial readings when lamps are new and
follow up every 100 hours. Record the date, hours and readings each time.
When transmission levels drop below 70 percent, the acrylic panels should be replaced.
Therefore a reading of 10 milliwatts with the acrylic off and a reading of less than 7
with it on, is at the replacement stage. Also tanning units equipped with higher UVB
output lamps, do in fact reduce acrylic life.
- Ensure your equipment has a visible and labeled emergency cut-off switch located on
the tanning unit within the reach of the client without having to get out of the tanning
unit. This is very important in order for the client to terminate a session. Check to
ensure that emergency shut off switch works.
- Provide compliance protective eyewear for each client. Protective eyewear must be
compliant with CFR 21 1040.20 (c) (4). The eyewear must fit properly, thus not allowing
light to filter in through the sides of the eyewear. The purpose for the elastic strap is to
provide a proper fit. Ensure that the eyewear is disinfected after each use.
- Be sure that your equipment meets the required electrical code requirements for your
area. The following are examples of recognized electrical circuitry testing institutions,
(UL) Underwriter’s Laboratory, (ETL) Electrical Testing Laboratory, (CSA) Canadian
Standard Association. NOTE: Many states and local areas have specific guidelines
regarding acceptable testing.
- Be sure that your staff never misinforms a client about the health risks associated with
UV exposure. Never use the verbiage SAFE or APPROVED in any way to describe the
usage of tanning equipment.
When in doubt, have the client seek medical attention immediately. If it is an
emergency or the client is unable to seek attention on their own, contact 911. (A list
of appropriate contact numbers should be kept by the phone.) All injuries should be
documented and brought to the attention of management. Certain state’s regulations
require that a particular state agency must be notified within a given time frame.
Check with your state’s regulations.
If an eye injury occurs, depending the severity, the client should be referred to an
ophthalmologist or an emergency room.
If a sunburn has occurred a cool bath or shower will be helpful in pulling out
the heat. Not type of ointment should be put on to the skin until the heat is out.
Products containing benzocaine should be avoided because they can cause an allergic
reaction in some people.
It is important to note that if a sunburn begins to blister or the client feels ill, they
should seek the advice of their physician immediately.
Most Common Equipment & Salon Maintenance Problems
The following is a brief daily, weekly and monthly maintenance program.
- Sunbed is overheating
- Inspect the fan filters and grills for cleanliness
- Check the fans to see if operating
- Provide adequate air conditioning and ventilation
- Tanning unit not providing favorable tanning results
- Check your lamps
- Check the lamp’s hours of operation (most tanning devices have an hour meter
to record total unit hours. Check owner’s manual for location.)
- Use a UV meter to review and compare outputs
- Check for lamp compatibility and compliance
- Inspect the acrylic panels
- Check the usage hours (Refer to manufacturer’s life expectancy guide)
- Visually inspect for yellowing
- Use a UV meter to compare output
- Clean and polish acrylic panels
- Clean and polish reflector systems
- Check incoming line voltage
- Applies to choke start and electronic ballast only
- Use a digital display voltmeter for testing
- Lamps flickering and hard to start
- Classic low voltage problem
- Check voltage with a digital voltmeter
- Install a buck boost transformer
- Could be the result of a bad starter
- Burning odor in sunroom
- The most common source is a bad lamp socket
- Electrical short at a terminal
- Bad ballast, very common with electronic ballasts
- A binding fan motor
- An electrical short at the power plug
- Salon is excessively warm
- All salons require additional air conditioning
- A 24-26 lamp bed requires 3/4 ton a/c per bed
- A 30-40 lamp bed will require 1 + ton a/c per bed
- Booths should be vented to the outside
- 3.90 times total wattage equals BTU output
- 1 Ton A/C = 12,000 BTU
- Leaving the front or back door open doesn’t work
- Allows warm damp air in
- Bugs are drawn to light
- Incredible liability problems
- Timer not accurate and/or inoperable
- Test with an accurate watch and record timer test results in minutes and seconds in your maintenance log
- Replace immediately any timer that is inaccurate by more than 10%
- Should always have a remote timer
- Top of sunbed will not stay up
- Adjust brake system if applicable
- Adjust gas shock mounting position if applicable
- Adjust spring mounting points on spring lift beds
- Insure the correct weight value on gas shock
- Replace gas shocks or springs where applicable
- Incorrect acrylic panel on top
NOTE: Do not leave sunbeds in the exposure (down) position between clients uses. This wears out the shocks at least
twice as fast.
- The top acrylic is usually thinner, thus lighter
- Rotating the acrylics is not recommended
- Not getting the advertised lamp life as expected
- Start a lamp rotation system
- Rotate at 50 percent to 60 percent of the manufacturer’s suggest life
- If a lamp is advertised at 1000 hours
- Replace the top with new lamps at 500-600 hours
- Move the top lamps to the bottom
- Document the lamp change
- The net result is a true 1,000-1,200 hours of life
- Also invoke more frequent cleaning of sunbed
- Check and replace acrylics if degraded
- Acrylic panels crack prematurely
- Always ask for acrylic that has been “annealed”
- Go to the next thickness of acrylic if on bottom
- Install extra acrylic supports
Turn the tanning bed on and make sure the lamps are lit.
Run the unit for three minutes.
Check for unusual noises and smell the bed for any electrical problems or burning.
Check the vents for any clogs caused by dust or hair.
Dust the outside of the unit.
After each use of the tanning unit, clean and disinfect the acrylic shield, top and bottom, and any other areas of the unit that
may have come in contact with the client with an approved acrylic cleaner and disinfectant.
*Wear eye protection when turning on the beds. This applies to all maintenance issues where the bed needs to be turned on
to check proper functioning.
Remove the acrylic shields, top and bottom, clean and dust both sides of each.
Wipe the reflectors and lamps with a clean, damp cloth.
Wipe the entire machine with an approved disinfectant.
Vacuum the fan inlets and screen as well as the ends of the beds where the air flow begins.
Vacuum around the starters if your unit has them also vacuum around the sockets where the lamps are mounted and along
the sides of the lamps.
Remove the inspection plates and vacuum the area.
Vacuum around the ballasts.
Vacuum the reflector channels, air-flow inlets and fan mounts.
Remove and wipe the lamps with a clean, damp cloth.
Clean the reflectors while the lamps are out.
Clean both sides of the acrylic with an approved cleanser and disinfectant.
Tanning Salon Professionalism
- Customer rapport
- Customer complaints
- Customer service
Professionalism is defined as the standing, practice, or methods of
a professional, as distinguished from an amateur. A professional
is defined as a person who is expert at his or her work. Finally, a
profession is defined as an occupation requiring advanced education
As the indoor tanning industry moves toward becoming more professional, in order to
be considered a true profession, it is necessary that all of us privileged to work in the
indoor tanning industry seek to advance our knowledge of the “science of tanning”
and in the professional operation of a fully compliant tanning salon.
To a customer, walking in and seeing a familiar smiling face behind the counter is
one of the things that helps them to feel comfortable when making a buying decision.
Building rapport (a harmonious relationship) with the customer will help them
understand that you are sincere and are leading them in the right direction.
It is important to take the time to make a client feel comfortable about the decision
they have made to tan at your facility. Make sure to initiate a conversation when
they come in to tan, even though they may not need to purchase anything. Start off
by remembering their name, shaking their hand, and of course greeting them with a
smile. As you get to know your clients you will remember things you can ask them
about their family, job, pet or anything else they may have told you.
When a client is tanning for a special occasion, like a vacation or wedding, always
ask detailed questions about the status of the event and wish the customer good luck
and invite them back to continue tanning after the event. Tell them to make sure that
they bring photographs of the event to share with you. If the client is vacationing in a
tropical area, be sure to warn them about the intensity of sunlight in the tropics and
suggest that they consider purchasing appropriate sunscreen products to take with them.
The old adage “the customer is always right” is particularly true in the indoor tanning
industry when it comes to handling complaints because tanning is a business built
primarily on referrals from customers. It is much easier to keep a customer that
currently patronizes you than it is to try to regain one that has left. The majority of
customer complaints, even those that may start off with the client being very irate, can
usually be handled in a calm, mature manner. A good strategy is to “kill them with
kindness” when handling customer complaints.
It is important than employee never argue with a customer and it is recommended
that they listen carefully to the customer in order to determine the reasons that they
are unhappy. When the employee does not have the authority to resolve the problem,
the customer should be politely informed that the owner or manager must be
informed of the situation.
Consider working up a list of past complaints and develop methods for handling them
should they happen again. New employees can practice “role playing” exercises so that
they will feel better prepared regarding how to handle certain complaints that may arise.
There are situations in the tanning salon where the customer is not always right and
they involve issues relating to their safety. For instance, if a client states that they do
not intend to wear protective eyewear while tanning, they must not be allowed to
tan. Also, a client must never be allowed to tan longer than the MTI (maximum timer
interval) posted on the tanning unit for any reason.
Anything that would adversely impact the safety of the client is the responsibility of
the tanning salon, not the client and, therefore, in these situations the client is not
Your philosophy of customer service should be to provide necessary information to
your clients in the most friendly and professional manner that is possible. They should
be educated about your equipment, tanning packages, lotions and their phototype/
subtype. In addition, each new client should sign a Client Release and Informed
Consent form in order to make sure that you have properly covered the risks of
In addition, you want to give your clients as much information about the “science
of tanning” as possible without overloading them with more information than they
are able to comprehend. Each client has a different educational background and,
therefore, a different threshold of understanding. It is important for you to stay up-todate
with the latest information so that you can deal with all levels of clients. It is
important to understand that if a question arises and you are not sure of the answer
that you tell the client that you will find out the answer for them. This is a much
more professional approach than “guessing” and possibly providing the client with the
It is the responsibility of all employees to work within the company guidelines of
professionalism at all times. Should there be a situation where an employee of a
tanning salon feels that they have been instructed to operate in a manner that is
against federal and state regulations and not in the best interests of the client, it is
incumbent upon the employee to bring the matter to the attention of the manager or
owner for resolution.
Finally, the client deserves an appropriate and professional level of attention from
the time they enter your facility until the time that they have completed their tanning
session and leave. Saying “goodbye” when they leave is just as important as saying
“hello” when they arrive!
The highest standards of cleanliness should be maintained at all times. Your clients
should feel comfortable that they are tanning in a clean and properly sanitized
environment. This pertains not only to the tanning equipment they will be using
but also to the entire salon. It is important to make the cleanliness of the facility a
major factor in the training of new employees. The owner or manager must set the
guidelines for the cleanliness of the salon and routinely check to make sure that they
are being adhered to.
It should be noted that overall sanitation should be looked at. Check the tanning bed rooms
for such things as goggles, lotion bottles and packets, towels, socks, underwear, large dust
bunnies, cobwebs, etc. All of this makes for an unsightly salon and ruins the experience for
A good “pop quiz about cleaning” is to ask yourself if the salon is ready for an FDA
or state inspection at all times. If every aspect of your tanning salon is ready for the inspector, then you are most certainly ready for your valued clients. Your customers
deserve the very best you can offer and they should never be given anything less.
It may be helpful to create “checklists” to help remind employees of tasks that are to
be completed by the end of a shift. Put on the list the mandatory things that must be
done daily as well as less critical tasks that can be scheduled during the slower parts
of the day if time allows.
Any employee who wants to be considered as a true indoor tanning industry
professional must act responsibly and proactively when it comes to maintaining a
clean and inviting tanning salon environment.