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Basic Tanning Certification
Indoor Salon Certification
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Indoor Salon Certification

Sunless Tanning offers a new way to build your business and increase profits. It provides a new service for your existing clients looking to enhance their traditional tanning sessions with sunless tanning; as well as attracts new customers that either cannot or chose not to get a traditional UV tan. Learning some basics about Sunless Tanning can help you address customer needs and promote an increasingly popular service in the tanning Industry.

This course provides you with the Sunless Tanning basics, an understanding of how they work, clears up any misconceptions of this new pratice and provides you with tips on using this service to increase your profits.

Introduction to Sunless Tanning

Shedding New Light on Sunless Profits
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 professional, have the perfect solution--suggest sunless tanners.

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.

Sunless Tanning, Coming Around Again
Self-tanners have gained popularity in the past few years for a number of reasons. Certain members of the medical community’s condemnation of UV light have 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 seasonal industry bashing has caused some consumers to consider alternatives to tanning beds.

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 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.

How Sunless WorksThe Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology defines dihydroxyacetone like so: "CH2HOCOCH2OH, a colorless, hygroscopic, crystalline powder; soluble in water and alcohol; melts at 80ºC; used as an intermediate and in fungicides and cosmetics."

The tanning industry recognizes dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, as the colorless sugar that makes the magic happen in the self-tanning process. DHA reacts with skin proteins, including amino acids, in the outermost layer of skin. The reaction develops brown skin coloring that looks very similar to a natural tan.

Skin coloration takes anywhere from two to four hours and lasts three to five days--depending on skin type and the DHA concentration in the lotion. The "tan" fades as the dead layers of skin slough off, just as in normal tanning.

DHA was discovered as a skin-coloring agent in the 1920s and appeared commercially in the 1960s, explains Clara Pettitt on her Web site, Sunless.com. Coppertone was the first to sell an over-the-counter product, Quick Tan, and unfortunately QT's streaks, splotches and orange skin tints quickly encapsulated everything viewed as negative about sunless tanning.

That was then.

In the 1970s, the Food and Drug Administration added DHA to its list of approved cosmetic ingredients. Afterward, cosmetic companies began to refine the process to ditch the orange skin coloration for a more healthy-looking brown.

This is now.

As the refining process evolves, companies continue to produce a higher quality, more predictable DHA, Pettitt concludes. The result is a more natural-looking brown tan that mimics the real thing.

“UV-Free” Product Uses

The mimic part--the golden, tanned look without the UV exposure--will be what sells certain customers on sunless. Those who choose not to use UV tanning devices can still get the desired healthy-looking glow of a golden tan.

Even the American Academy of Dermatology touts the popularity of self-tanners. "Significant improvements have been made in the formulas of self-tanners in recent years, making them easier to use with better results," said Stanley B. Levy, M.D., speaking at the AAD's 2000 annual meeting.

Salon employees who recognize this can boost their profits with a tailor-made pitch. Attentive tanning professionals find their customers use sunless products for a number of special purposes:

  • As a quick fix for tanners pressed for time.
  • As a tanning booster in between sessions. To augment a tan for delicate or hard-to-tan areas such as faces, hands and feet.
  • To even out any pressure points, tan lines or uneven spots on the body left from indoor tanning.

As sunless-tanning technology improves and education about it spreads through the industry, salon owners are beginning to understand the symbiotic relationship between salons and sunless. By offering these products, including self-tanners and bronzers, salons can satisfy yet another group of potential customers. They can build upon the trust of their existing tanners and become an authority for all their skincare needs. When marketed correctly, sunless products can be an excellent ancillary profit center. Besides, it's becoming a sad fact in this industry that if a salon doesn't carry sunless, that salon might lose business to local drug stores or department stores that do. Worse still, those customers might not come back.

The history of sunless is rather splotchy, unfortunately, which is why many people view the product negatively--even though technology has improved to the point that those problems no longer are an issue. There's a good chance that an uninformed customer only has heard of early generations of sunless: the streaks, the splotches, the uneven application, the orange tint left on the skin. It's not exactly the description of an ideal situation, or an ideal tan, and it's no wonder why a customer might be wary of trying it.

Educating customers about sunless products is the first step in getting them to buy. In fact, informed salon owners may find sunless products to be exactly what they're looking for to diversify business.

Bronzers
Bronzers are similar to self-tanners in that they provide a quick, temporary tan, and many tanners use them for the same purpose--evening out spots or supplementing a golden glow. Unlike self- tanners, which last three to five days, however, bronzers wash off in soap and water.

Since bronzers are a quick fix for tanners pressed for time, they definitely have increased in popularity over the past few years. Many indoor tanning lotion manufacturers have incorporated a lotion with bronzer into their skincare lineup to satisfy tanners' cravings for instant color gratification coupled with superior tanning and moisturizing quality. Until recently, bronzers were strictly cosmetic. The lotion-based bronzer tints the skin a bronze color when it is applied. With the improvement of DHA technology, manufacturers began including the self- tanning ingredient in bronzers. DHA bronzers provide a mixture of tint and DHA skin reaction. The amount of DHA included in bronzers varies by manufacturer.

While cosmetic bronzers are still widely used, now tanners can get the long lasting, desirable skin darkening in some that offer both DHA and bronzers.

Marketing Moves
Like any product, self-tanners and bronzers are best packaged with other skincare products.

One byproduct of self-tanners is skin dryness. (DHA alone can dry the skin). In many cases, manufacturers of skincare products include moisturizing ingredients in their lotions. Still, salons should have moisturizers on sale to complement self-tanners.

Also, since sunless tanners do not involve the normal process of melanogenesis, the skin does not build up its defenses to UV radiation and is still susceptible to burning. At most, the DHA in self-tanners provide protection of an SPF 2 or 3 from UVB.

The brown color produced by DHA also may provide "significant protection" from UVA, according to results presented at the American Academy of Dermatology's 2000 annual meeting, but it is still a good idea for sunless tanners to wear sunscreen in the sun to prevent skin from burning. These products should be available for purchase from salons. As is the case with other skincare products, the skin is more receptive to the reactive properties of lotion when it has been properly exfoliated. Consider offering an exfoliator.

Self-Tanning Tips
More often than not, tanners' dissatisfaction with a sunless product is a result of improper application. The following step-by-step, self-tanning tips help eliminate the guesswork and bring out the glamour of a golden tan.

Conduct a patch test. Each person's skin may react differently to the formula. Conducting a patch test guarantees you will like the color. Exfoliate the surface area. Use a loofah to exfoliate your skin and remove dead skin cells. For women, the legs should also be shaved first. Exfoliation and shaving help ensure the surface of your skin is smooth, which helps the formula apply evenly for best results. Users report longer-lasting results when dead skin cells are exfoliated prior to application.

Moisturize the skin. Before applying the self-tanner, moisturize the skin to prime it. Skin that's hydrated and moisturized will better accept the formula. Apply evenly. Even application is the key to great results. First, liquefy the lotion by rubbing a small amount together in your hands. Then apply the formula to the face, neck and body using a thin, even coat. Use a small, circular motion when applying. Wash hands with soap immediately after application. A great-looking tan will develop within four hours.

More Sunless Tanning Helpful Hints

  • Avoid getting formula on clothing. Dress after the formula completely dries (approximately 20 minutes) or after blotting dry with a towel.
  • Apply formula to legs and arms when straight so the joints do not look darker than the rest of the body.
  • Use self-tanners to even out tans and cover tan lines.
  • To create a darker tan, reapply the formula two or three times, allowing three to four hours between applications. To maintain your sunless tan, reapply every few days.

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