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Frequently Asked Questions

Introduction

  • When the sun starts getting warmer in spring after a long cold winter - nature wakes up from it's hibernation, birds start to sing and buds open to show off their colours - the first tangible signs of summer approaching. However, as human nature dictates that we want to benefit from solar radiation all year long, the sunbed was invented.
  • Tanning equipment now enables us to bask in comfortable warmth and get a tan, regardless of the season! The sun and it's rays have been at the centre of attention for a long time. Scientists concentrate their energies on the effects of sunbathing while studying the results of the thinning ozone layer. The media too, have taken up these subjects, as a result of which all kinds of stories, both true and false are going around. Sometimes undiscerning or even conflicting reports have created confusion. The public wonder what the risks of sunbathing are exactly & if there is such a thing as sensible tanning. To confront and deal with this confusion, Solarscape has published this information. We provide an answer to those questions asked most frequently regarding sunbathing with tanning equipment & tanning outside in the sun. An attempt has been made to provide the latest knowledge on tanning as accurately as possible so that sunbathers can separate fact from fiction.

1. Can I go on a sunbed and sunbathe in the natural sun on the same day?

You should avoid this if possible, so that the daily exposure of ultraviolet rays is not exceeded, as this might cause sunburn.

2. Can I tan with my contact lenses?

  • You may want to remove contact lenses before tanning indoors. Although UV goggles will protect your eyes and lenses from UV damage, the heat emitted from the tanning equipment may dry out the lenses and irritate your eyes.

3. What does the sun/sunbed do for me apart from tanning?

We all need sunlight to produce vitamin D3 which is important for healthy bones. Sunbeds therefore have a beneficial effect with regards the treatment of osteoporosis. Evidence also exists that sunbathing has beneficial effects on metabolism, blood pressure, certain cancers, various auto immune disorders (including multiple sclerosis), type 1 diabetes, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. But the greatest effect solar radiation has, seems to be our mood: it makes us happier and more energetic and is an excellent cure for stress and fatigue.

4. Do I need to protect my eyes?

Yes ! Our eyes don't have the capacity to produce melanin for protection like our skin does. The ultra-thin eyelids don't block ultraviolet rays, so by simply closing them or wearing outdoor sunglasses while you tan is not adequate protection. UV light can be irreparably damaging to your eyes. Always wear compliant protective eyewear (UV goggles) whilst tanning – available at reception.

5. How do I prevent raccoon eyes (white marks round eyes)?

You can adjust your protective eyewear during your tanning session. Don't lift the eyewear off your eyes – just slide it gently, making sure your entire eye is covered. Another obvious trick is minimising the effects with make-up or by using a self-tanner.

6. How long is a tanning session?

10 minutes

7. How long does the tan last?

As with the sun - about two to four weeks after tanning. Due to the natural renewal of the skin, the upper skin cells are shed little by little. After approximately 28 days the skin will have renewed itself.

8. Can I tan during pregnancy?

The main objection to tanning whilst pregnant is the increased potential of becoming overheated.
Understand that UV light does not reach the unborn baby, as it does not travel beyond the top layers of the skin. Other common concerns include hormones that may cause you to tan unevenly, and constricted blood vessels from lying on your back. If you are pregnant please consult your physician before tanning.

9. Can I tan in the nude?

If you plan to tan in the nude, cover previously unexposed areas for the majority of your tanning session for the first few visits, gradually increase exposure to these areas, giving the skin time to produce melanin.

10. How can my holiday tan be conserved?

You can use a sunbed about 2 - 3 times a week to conserve your holiday tan.

11. Is sunshine radiation the same as sunbed radiation?

Sunlight reaching the earth after a trip through the stratosphere and atmosphere can change in composition due to various factors such as the season, degree of latitude, the height in relation to sea level, time of day, air pollution etc. The dose of UV - radiation that reaches
us varies from day to day. The thinning ozone layer also allows an increasing amount of harmful UV - radiation through holes in this natural filter. When you view the sun in this light, it is a rather unreliable tanning source, and which furthermore does not have a timer. Sunbeds by law are required to switch off automatically after a set time. Exposure to UV radiation on a sunbed can be accurately dosed. More importantly there are no distorting factors that play a role here. The lamps of the sunbed emit UV radiation that is in no way inferior to radiation from the natural sun, with the exception of the percentage of UVA and UVB that has been predetermined in tanning equipment. With tanning equipment as long as you adhere to the tanning times associated with your skin type, overexposure is unlikely, but in the sun you can never be sure.

12. What do I have to remember when using a tanning product?

Before tanning, all cosmetics should be removed as they may contain substances that increase skin sensitivity. It is appropriate to use sunbed cosmetics (indoor tanning enhancers/accelerators) as they have been specifically formulated to achieve professional indoor tanning results. Using a tanning accelerator provides many benefits including: a better tan in fewer visits, a longer lasting tan as well as vital moisturizers and nutrients. Moist skin tans best, but moisture and essential oils can be depleted during the tanning process. Products designed specifically for indoor tanning maximise your skin's tanning potential and help increase the quality of the tan. Remember don't use any suntan products on a sunbed, except those produced specifically for sunbeds. Always use a moisturizer after tanning.

13. Why doesn't the skin tan equally on all sides?

The insides of the arms and legs do not tan so well because they have less pigment - forming cells than the rest of the skin. The face does not tan as easily because it has a thicker horny layer by nature, especially as protection against UV-B rays. Parts of the skin that we lie on may have a poorer circulation (eg: The bony shoulder blades and hip bones) a lack of oxygen may lead to a reduced colouration of the melanin pigments, which could lead to 'lighter pressure spots' in those specific areas (applying a tanning accelerator may help alleviate this problem).

14. Can you use a sunbed if you are on medication?

Some medicines greatly increase the skin's sensitivity to UV radiation. They contain substances with a so called phototoxic effect (e.g. Tetracyclines used to treat acne). Always read the instructions as they should contain this information, and consult with your doctor whether your tanning programme should be adapted to the medicines used. When you start a tanning programme, it is wise to observe a 48 hour rest period to make sure that no unintentional reactions develop. Stop the sessions in case of hypersensitivity and consult your doctor if the problems do not disappear by themselves.

15. Is it best to shower before or after sunbathing?

As soap affects the skins natural oils, we advise against showering or bathing with soap just before a tanning session. There is absolutely no problem with showering after tanning. We can reassure people who believe that their tan will wash off - that beautiful tan will stay exactly where it is.

16. What can I do if sunburn develops none the less?

Should you after a few hours notice any signs of sunburn, avoid any further exposure indoors or out for at least 48 hours or until these signs have disappeared. Bath in a tub of cool but not cold water. Provide the skin with moisturizing skin care products such as Aloe Vera, and drink lots of water. In the case of a severe sunburn seek the advice of a doctor or pharmacist. When sunburn has passed, restart your tanning programme by shortening your sessions by a few minutes (See skin type questionaire and recommended exposure times).

17. What if I don't want to tan my face?

If the sunbed is equipped with a facial tanner then this can be switched off, or in the case of a vertical bed (tan can) one can apply a sunblock cream to the face or the face can be covered with a towel.

18. Can I read on the sunbed?

As UV radiation is harmful to the naked eye, Do Not read on the sunbed. It is advisable to wear special UV goggles during the sunbed sessions and to avoid looking into the lamps without wearing protection. Remember to ask for the protective eyewear at reception.

19. How will my acne react to the sun or sunbed?

People who occasionally suffer from a mild form of acne will usually benefit from tanning sessions. The skin dries out a little and the UV rays seem to have a disinfecting and healing ability. In some cases of severe acne however, UV rays have the opposite effect : the acne reacts to the light and gets worse. If you are on any acne medication or are in doubt, first always consult your doctor or pharmacist: Do Not experiment yourself.

20. Can elderly people use a sunbed?

Grandad of 70 can sunbathe as much as he likes, provided he follows a sensible programme based on his personal skin type. Older people benefit greatly from sunbathing and muscular pains and rheumatic complaints are often reduced. Moreover, solar radiation (UV-B in particular) promotes the production of vitamin D3 that helps prevent brittle bones (osteoporosis).

21. I know there is a difference between UVA and UVB but what do they do exactly?

Ultraviolet radiation is made up from different components, including UVA and UVB. UVB, a more powerful tanner than UVA, in excess is known to cause sunburn. A small dose of UVB is essential to induce the pigment-forming cells to start producing melanin. UVB also ensures a thickening of the skin, providing optimum protection against the rays from the sun.

22. From what age can you use a sunbed?

The delicate skin of babies and small children is very sensitive to ultra violet rays. We therefore advise you to use a higher factor sunburn protective cream or a sunblock on toddlers and children in the sun, make sure they wear hats and caps and don't let them play outside in the midday sun. We do not allow under 18's to use the tanning beds.

23. Will my tattoo fade on the sunbed?

All tattoos will gradually wear and fade a little, but this is not always the direct result of ultraviolet radiation. However some colours of ink, especially green and red, can cause an allergic reaction when combined with sunlight. Particulary when new, it is best to protect tattoos in the sun or on a sunbed with a sunblock.

24. Does my tan protect me sufficiently from the sun?

A tan is the body's natural protection against sunburn. Your skin is designed to tan as a natural bodily function. The skin safeguards itself by thickening. The skin is best protected when it is both tanned and thickened. A tan can triple or quadruple your resistance to sunburn, which can help protect you from sunburn whilst outdoors or on holiday. For proper protection against the rays from the sun, a tan in itself will not give complete protection.

Conclusion

Tanned skin symbolises health, wealth, youth and social status (for both men and women). Tanning is more than a fashion statement. It's one of the many natural processes that has actually helped the human race survive and thrive on earth for thousands of years. Tanned skin has helped protect the human body from the damaging effects of excessive sun exposure since the beginning of our existence. This is likened to adrenaline (which has given us energy to escape from dangerous situations), and body fat (insulated us from cold weather). Public debate about tanning seems to have lost the perspective that there are many known physiological and psychological benefits associated with sunlight. Numerous other benefits are currently being researched with results indicating that the risks are manageable for anyone who has the ability to develop a tan, and that for many people, the benefits of moderate sun exposure far outweigh the risks associated with overexposure. The term "moderate tanning" has a different meaning for every individual. A fair-skinned, red-haired, green-eyed person (like the girl from "Who framed Roger Rabbit") may not be able to acquire a tan without sunburn. This person should avoid tanning. On the other hand most people have the ability to develop a healthy tan, and the majority of us tan very easily. Moderation, in our view, means avoiding sunburn at all costs. Since there are a variety of skin-types, we have included a specific questionnaire with recommended exposure times – in order to help you avoid overexposure. An estimated 30 million North Americans visit indoor tanning facilities at some point in the year. Many indoor tanners successfully develop "base tans" before embarking on sunny vacations – these tans (combined with the proper use of sunscreen) help them prevent sunburn. We promote responsible indoor tanning and sunburn prevention as "sensible or smart tanning" – we do not use the word "safe" as the word "safe" implies that one can recklessly abuse something without any fear of causing harm. This reckless approach is certainly not what the professional indoor tanning industry is advocating. The professional indoor tanning industry has taught sunburn prevention more effectively than those who promote complete sun avoidance. In fact, studies have shown that indoor tanners are 81% less likely to sunburn outdoors than they were before they started indoor tanning. We believe that sensible tanning is the smartest way to maximise the potential benefits of sun exposure, whilst minimising the potential risks associated with either too much or too little sunlight. Enjoy the benefits of sensible tanning!