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Frequent Asked Questions

At Sun Catchers Tanning Salon we have the answers to all the most frequently asked tanning questions. If you have any questions not found here, please feel free to contact Sun Catchers and our friendly staff will assist you in answering any other questions you may have. Call us at 254-899-UTAN(8826)

Is Indoor Tanning the same as tanning outside in the sun?

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 (UV) light. There is one important difference. When you are out in the sun, you cannot control the amount of UV light 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 a sunburn, which is harmful to the skin.

How do the beds and booths work?

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 light, but then it's absorbed by the ozone layer and pollution. Tanning lamps filter out this type of UV light. 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 ratio of UV-B and UV-A light to provide optimal tanning results, with a lowered risk of overexposure.

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

If it takes you a while to get a tan outside, it may be easier for you to get the color you want indoors (brown instead of red) by tanning indoors. You would need to start with a short exposure time, and increase it 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.

How often should I tan?

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 your tan to fully develop in between visits. You can build up your tan by going to an indoor tanning facility three to four times a week. Once you have a tan, you can maintain it by tanning one or two times a week.

How long does it take to get a tan?

Usually, you will begin to notice results after a few tanning sessions. It also depends on what kind of indoor tanning lotion you use, but it may take a few weeks of regular tanning (at least three times a week) to get to 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 or four weeks before you go.

Do I need to wear lotion when tanning indoors?

You don't need to wear an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) lotion when you tan indoors because these lotions, by nature, are designed to allow you to spend a longer time in the sun. For example, an SPF 8 would allow you to stay in the sun 8 times longer than you normally could. Since you are controlling your exposure time when tanning indoors, you don't need to use an SPF. You should also avoid using outdoor oils when you tan indoors. These oils will make the acrylic dirty and prevent you from tanning. However, there are products specifically designed for indoor tanning, that help moisturize the skin while helping you tan faster. These can be purchased at most tanning facilities.

What should I wear?

It's totally up to you. Some people choose to tan in their bathing suits or underwear, and others prefer a more "natural" approach. Since you are in a private room while tanning, you can wear whatever you like. The only thing required is that you do wear eye protection every time you tan, because eyes are unable to protect themselves from UV light, even when they are closed, the light can cause temporary and permanent damage to them. If you are tanning a previously unexposed part of your body, be sure to cover it up for part of your tanning time, so it can catch up safely with the rest of your tan.

What should I ask when shopping for a place to tan?

There is one very important question to ask of a tanning facility to be sure it will meet your needs. What you need to know, obviously, is if you will get the best tan for your money. This isn't just based on the prices, though. Be sure you don't settle for a cheap tanning session that doesn't give you results.

Find out when the tanning bulbs were changed. Manufacturers estimate the life of their tanning lamps at 800 or 1000 hours, but it is important to realize that the strength of the bulbs depends on how new they are. A bulb stays at its peak point strength for the first 150-200 hours. You might want to shorten your tanning time to prevent overexposure when the bulbs are new. After 700 hours, the bulbs will start to lose intensity until it has no tanning power at all. Just remember, the newer the bulbs, the better the tan.

When shouldn't I tan?

It is not recommended to tan, either outdoors or indoors, if you are taking photosensitizing medication. If you are not sure, ask your doctor, or ask a tanning consultant at your tanning facility to see a list of these medications, which can greatly increase the risk of overexposure. You should also avoid tanning if you are pregnant, unless your doctor approves it.

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