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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is indoor tanning the same as tanning outside in the sun?

A: When you tan at an indoor tanning facility, your skin produces a tan the same way it does when you lay out in the sun: through ultraviolet (UV) rays. There is one important difference, however. When you are out in the sun, you cannot control the amount of UV rays you are exposed to, because it is affected by changes in the atmosphere. Indoor tanning is one way to regulate the amount of UV light you are exposed to, because it is a controlled environment. You can gradually increase your exposure time to make sure you don't get sunburned, which is harmful to the skin. Indoor tanning, if you can develop a tan, is an intelligent way to minimize the risk of sunburn while maximizing the enjoyment and benefit of having a tan. We call this SMART TANNING because tanners are taught by trained tanning facility personnel how their skin type reacts to sunlight and how to avoid sunburn outdoors, as well as in a salon.

Q: How do the beds and booths work?

A: Tanning beds and booths basically imitate the sun. The sun emits three kinds of UV rays (the ones that make you tan). UV-C has the shortest wavelength of the three, and is also the most harmful. The sun emits UV-C rays, but then it's absorbed by the ozone layer and pollution. Tanning lamps filter out this type of UV rays. UV-B, the middle wavelength, starts the tanning process, but overexposure can cause sunburn. UV-A has the longest wavelength, and it completes the tanning process. Tanning lamps use the best ration of UVB and UVA rays to provide optimal tanning results, with a lowered risk of overexposure.

Q: What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?

A: UVB rays stimulate increased melanin production, which starts your tan. UVA rays will cause the melanin pigments to darken. The best tan comes from a combination of receiving both rays at the same time.

Q: If I never get a tan outside because I burn, can I get a tan indoors?

A: If it takes you a while to get a tan outside, it may be easier for you to get the color you want (brown not red) by tanning indoors. You would need to start with a short exposure time and increase very gradually. However, if you never tan from the sun, you will not tan from tanning lamps, since they emit the very same tanning rays as the sun does.

Q: How often should I tan?

A: In order to build a tan, it is important to tan regularly. Don't let too much time go by between visits, or your tan will begin to fade. You can tan up to once every 24 hours, but it is generally recommended that you wait at least 48 hours in between each session to allow you tan to fully develop in between visits. You can build up your tan by going to an indoor facility three to four times a week. Once you have a tan, you can maintain it by tanning two or three times a week.

Q: How long does it take to get a tan?

A: Usually, you will begin to notice results after a few tanning sessions, but it may take a few weeks of regular tanning (at least three times a week) to get the color you are looking for. If you are developing a base tan before going on a trip, you would want to start tanning about three to four weeks before you go.

Q: What is the difference between Regular beds and Super Beds?

  • Regular Lay-down
  • 32 100W bulbs in bed
  • 1 400W facial tanner
  • 3 to 5 sessions per week to maintain tan
  • 5% UVB
  • Sessions are 15 minute max.
  • Super Lay-down
  • 42 160W reflector bulbs in bed
  • 3 400W facial tanners
  • Only 2-3 sessions per week to maintain tan
  • Great, golden brown color
  • Less than 3% UVB
  • Larger than regular lay-down
  • Strong fans
  • Sessions are 15 minute max.
  • Super Stand-up
  • 2 400W facial tanners
  • 24 100W bulbs, 24 160W reflector bulbs (48 total bulbs)
  • Only 2-3 sessions per week to maintain tan
  • Great, golden brown color with no pressure points
  • Less than 3% UVB
  • Strong fans
  • Sessions are 15 minute max.

Q: Why should I use a tanning lotion in a tanning bed?

A: Exposure to UV-rays, whether indoors in a tanning bed or outside in the sun, is a stress factor for the skin and can have a drying effect. To maintain health-looking skin and develop a beautiful tan, it is important to use a lotion that provides essential moisturized, plus nutrients and antioxidants that help counteract the environmental stress caused by UV-rays. Lotions also help to smooth the surface layers or the skin to allow greater UV penetration for improved tanning results. Specially formulated indoor tanning lotions, like those made by California Tan, also provide advanced tanning technologies to aid the skin in developing a faster, darker tan.

Q: Why is moisturized skin essential to great tanning results?

A: Simply stated: skin that is moisturized better absorbs UV rays and therefore will tan faster. Moisturization is also key in aiding the skin to perform at its optimal efficiency and thus will allow the development of faster, darker color. Skin that is dry and dehydrated will look dull and ashy and will not be able to perform its best.

Q: What are bronzers?

A: Bronzer products use self tanning ingredients to supplement tanning results with an additional boost of color while your natural tan develops. The key ingredient is DHA (Dihydroxyacetone), which causes the skin surface to turn brown after 2-4 hours, mimicking a natural tan. Our Bronzing products are available in Double, Triple, and Quatro bronzing levels, which refers to the level of DHA in the lotion. A Quatro Bronzer will last four time longer that a standard bronzer.

Q: Why use a product with bronzer?

A: A natural tan takes about 24-48 hours to develop. Therefore, a product that contains a bronzer is an excellent way to get a boost of color while a natural tan develops. Clients with a fair complexion or who want to see results immediately will enjoy the instant gratification of seeing bronzed results 2-4 hours after application. Bronzing products are also beneficial for evening out both skin tone and tanning results and can help maintain a healthy-looking, bronzed glow in between tanning sessions. Just remember these simple rules when using a bronzer; wash your hands after putting it on, and wait at least 2-4 hours (so it can soak in to your skin completely) before excessive sweating, bathing, or hopping it to any body of water.