Find out more about tanning in the frequent asked questions and answers below.
UV Tanning FAQs
Everyone’s skin is different, and the tanning process occurs at different speeds depending on a person skin type. Those with darker complexions usually tan faster than those with fair skin. The range is about 10-20 consecutive sessions (ever other day, and no more than 4 times per week) will give you a base tan. How long it takes to get a tan also depends on whether or not you use a professional indoor tanning lotion to maximize the tanning results from UV exposure.
Since a tan occurs in the epidermis, the skin’s outermost layer, it is eventually lost during the natural exfoliation process. Skin replaces its cells about every 30 days; when the cells in the top layer are exfoliated, allowing new ones to reach the surface, they take with them the darkened melanin created by the exposure to UV light. At this point you have tanned melanin both in your skin and on the surface of your skin. Tanned melanin on the surface of the skin is going to remain there only until you shave or exfoliate it off. Of course regular tanning visits rebuild what has been lost.
You should always be wearing federally approved protective eyewear that blocks 99.9% of UVB light and 99.9% of UVA light, since your eyelids are too thin to block UV light, and can lead to both temporary and long term damage to your eyes, which is why it’s important you use protective eyewear every minute of every session. Eye protection is available at all Planet Sun locations.
The lips are the only exposed area on your body that cannot produce melanin and therefore cannot protect themselves from UV light, and can lead to dry and burnt lips, which is why you should always wear a lip balm with a minimum of an SPF 15 when tanning indoors or out.
There are a few reasons why a tanner may develop white spots:
Pressure Points – Since the skin requires both UV light and oxygen to tan, when a person lies flat on their back, he/she will develop white spots on the shoulder blades, tail bone area, and back of the calves, since these sports are under pressure, the skin is deprived of oxygen.
Vitiligo – Areas on the body, usually smaller, but can be any size, that when you tan, in contrast, they remain white. This is a hormonally produced condition where the tanning cells in those white patches of skin have gone comatose.
Tinea Versicolor – a common condition, this is a fungus that starts out in the hair, when it falls down onto the upper body like dandruff (however, this is not dandruff), these areas prevent the skin from tanning, and as a result create little white spots. The remedy for it is Extra Strength Selsun Blue or Extra Strength Head and Shoulders, which can be found at most drug stores. Both of these products contain an active ingredient called Selenium Sulfide that kills fungus. Apply it to your hair, since it’s the source of the problem, as well as to those white dots on your skin. It may take 2-4 weeks of numerous applications to take care of it. You can also go to a doctor and get prescription medication to resolve the condition.
You should wait at least 3 hours to shower after tanning. After your tan, you want to maintain the moisture in it for as long as you can, as this helps to prolong the life of your tan. Keep in mind, you just came out of a tanning session which took some moisture out of your skin. By using a premium indoor tanning lotion you’re minimizing the moisture being taken out of your skin during your session, and by applying an after tan moisturizer you’re locking in your tan by adding the moisture back into your skin afterwards. If you shower right after your tan, you may dry out your skin even quicker, especially if using harsh exfoliants.
With a fresh tattoo you had chemicals injected into the skin that can make that area very sensitive to UV exposure while the tattoo is still healing. So definitely don’t allow that area to tan. Either cover it up completely, or don’t tan at all until the skin has healed. After the skin has healed (at least a month), the chemicals have lost any ability to photosensitize. The tattoo will start fading a little with exposure to UV light whether it comes from tanning beds or the sun. You can preserve those tattoos by using a Tattoo Fade Shield, an SPF lip balm, or a good quality sunscreen.
During your tanning process, melanin releases its own distinctive scent. The scent released is as natural as the tanning process itself, and can be removed with a body spray, using an indoor tanning lotion containing ingredients designed to remove the after tan scent, or simply take a shower a few hours after your tan.