Chapter 4: SPFs
KEEPING CUSTOMERS YEAR-ROUND
It's only the middle of March, the winds are still blowing cold, arctic
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.
Damaging Summer Heat
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 promote sunscreens for outdoor use to your faithful tanners, but
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
A Working Solution
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 Parsol 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, zinc oxide is now
manufactured so that the particles are so small that you can not 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 year.
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 blocks 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.