Everything in Moderation
We believe that sunlight is part of a healthy balanced lifestyle. Every living organism needs food, water and sunlight to sustain life. Too much or too little of any of these thing is not good for you. Suntanning indoors in a controlled environment allows consumers to tan responsibly and to their skin type to help prevent burning and overexposure. Planet Sun is a JCTA member salon and our staff are certified and trained operators that can help protect sunbathers and achieve the proper balance between a suntan, sunburn avoidance and natural vitamin D production.
Know Your Skin!
Tanning is not a one-size-fits all. Getting a beautiful UV tan means something different for everyone. That’s because the amount of UV exposure needed to acquire a tan is different for a fair-skinned red-head than it would be for a central European with an olive complexion.
JCTA professional sunbed salons understand that. That’s why tanning professionals are trained to get you the appropriate amount of UV exposure while minimizing your risk of sunburn. Your smart tanning regimen begins with determining your particular skin type.
The fairest skin type – known as Skin Type I – cannot suntan and should not use UV tanning equipment. (See spray-on tanning) But darker skin types can develop suntans. For those who can develop suntans, our system gradually acclimates you to UV exposure based on your skin type.
Skin Type 1
You have light features and are very sensitive to light. You always burn and cannot tan. Professional tanning salons will not allow you to tan.
Skin Type 2
You have light features, are sensitive to light and usually burn. However, you can tan lightly. Developing a tan at a professional tanning salon will be a very gradual process.
Skin Type 3
You have a normal sensitivity to light. You do burn on occasion, but you can tan moderately. Developing a tan at a professional salon will be a gradual process.
Skin Type 4
Your skin is tolerant of sunlight, so you seldom burn and can tan moderately. You will be able to develop a tan relatively quickly at a professional tanning salon.
Skin Type 5
You have naturally dark skin and features. You can develop a dark tan, and you rarely burn. You will be able to develop a tan quickly at a professional tanning salon.
Skin Type 6
Your skin is black. You rarely sunburn and have an extreme tolerance to sunlight. Tanning will have little to no effect on the color of your skin.
Indoor tanning equipment, like outdoor sunlight, emits UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) light. Of the UV light emitted by the sun at noon in the summer in Canada: 95 percent is UVA and 5 percent is UVB.
More than 90 percent of professional indoor tanning units emit about 95 percent UVA and 5 percent UVB in regulated dosages similar to summer sun. Recommended exposure schedules developed by the manufacturer under the guidance of Health Canada allow trained indoor tanning operators to set incremental exposure times, based on the “skin type” of a patron, that deliver consistent non-burning dosages of UV light to allow a tanner to gradually build a tan.
The total output of a tanning unit is measured the following way:
Total UV Output = UV Intensity x Duration of Exposure
While tanning units may be 2-3 times as intense as summer sun, the duration of exposure is controlled, and thus the total UV output is controlled, to minimize the risk of sunburn. A typical indoor tanning exposure schedule allows a professional indoor tanning operator to gradually increase the exposure times of a tanner over the course of the tanner’s regimen based on the individual’s skin type.
UV Tanning is not for everyone
Less than 5 percent of North Americans are what is called “Skin Type I” – which includes people of Northern European heritages (some Irish or English people, for example) whose skin is so fair that it cannot tan. Canadian indoor tanning protocol is not to allow these people to use UV tanning equipment in salons, and our skin type questionnaire identifies them. However there is great news for those with type I skin. Our new VersaPro™ Heated Sunless Spa Series™ is so advanced, that can acquire a natural looking tan with new spray tanning technology.
Sun Tanning | Base Tan
Our primary goal is to teach sunburn prevention to every client. Building a gradual suntan actually creates two different forms of natural protection against sunburn:
- Melanin pigment is produced in outer skin cells after being exposed to sunlight. Melanin literally enshrouds and shields skin cells in the epidermis, protecting each cell from getting too much UV exposure.
- After sun exposure, Extra keratin migrates to the surface of the skin, thickening it, which makes the skin naturally more resistant to sunburn.
These two steps combine to create a powerful natural sunscreen that doesn’t wash off quickly. One benefit of indoor tanning is that trained operators can give a tanner controlled UV exposure to gradually develop this sunscreen – often called a “base tan” – while minimizing the risk of sunburn.
The value of a base tan, as millions of sunbed users know, is that it adds another layer to your sunburn protection arsenal – making chemical sunscreen worn outdoors for outings on sunny days even more effective at preventing sunburn. Here’s how that works:
- The effectiveness of chemical sunscreen products are measured in what is called “Sun Protection Factor” (or SPF). An SPF 15 product means a user can spend 15 times longer in the sun while wearing sunscreen before they would sunburn if applied correctly.
- Say, for example, a sunbed user begins tanning under the direction of a trained salon operator following the exposure schedule of that piece of equipment (average start time 2 to 3 minutes). After about a month that tanner may gradually develop a tan and works her/his way up to the maximum session time. At this point, she/he becomes naturally up to SIX TIMES more resilient to sunburn than when she first started tanning. So that tan has an SPF 6 value (BC Health Ministry Report 2012).
When someone with a base tan uses sunscreen outdoors, they essentially multiply the sunburn-prevention effectiveness of the sunscreen. In other words, an SPF 15 product applied to the skin correctly of a person whose base tan has already made her six times more resilient to sunburn creates a net SPF of 60. (SPF 15 x 6 = SPF 90).
That’s the reason so many indoor tanning clients come to salons in the winter and spring prior to sunny vacations. In sunny environments many fair-skinned people can sunburn during normal outdoor activities even while wearing chemical sunscreen. But with a base tan their chemical sunscreen becomes more effective and they are much less likely to sunburn.
For more information, visit Tan Awareness.
It’s ‘The Sunshine. Vitamin’For more than 750 million years living organisms on Earth have manufactured vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. No other vitamin is produced that way. That’s why Vitamin D is known as “The Sunshine Vitamin” and most sunbeds, just like sunlight, emit enough UVB light to trigger natural vitamin D production in your skin.
While indoor tanning is a cosmetic service, an undeniable side effect of this service is that indoor tanning clients manufacture sufficient levels of vitamin D. In fact, one single UV tanning session can create as much vitamin D as 100 glasses of milk.
Dr. Reinhold Vieth from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto said this about sunlight and tanning beds in a court affidavit; “sunbeds and summer sunshine are effective means by which to increase our serum 25(OH)D levels. The advantage of a tanning bed is that exposure to UV light can be controlled more precisely than casual sun exposure and thus can be safer than advising the public to guess at their own sun exposure from sunlight.”
While you may not need to become tan to make vitamin D from sunlight, and while vitamin D supplements are another option, you should know that most people who tan in equipment that emits UVB will make vitamin D.