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Salon Operator Wendy from Walla Walla, Washington (no offense to those who may fit that moniker but please enjoy the alliteration) writes: “One of my best customers came into the salon recently and wanted to get her tan back as quickly as possible. She had clearly tanned indoors or outdoors for quite awhile, but wanted to start where she left off – a full session in a premium sunbed. I don’t want to lose her business! What should I do?”
Wendy, great question. (Why do all replies seem to start with “great question?”) If a person can tan in natural sunlight, they will more than likely be able to tan indoors, as well. But our sunbeds have a leg up on el sol. Modern UV tanning systems deliver sessions according to an exposure schedule that was created to consider individual skin types and they are controlled by a timer. Salon professionals assess a customer’s skin and establish an appropriate session time. They’re also able to assess whether or not someone may have experienced reddening from a previous session – or perhaps a day or two at the beach. They can determine whether a customer is actually a Skin Type II and NOT “Skin Type IV” as the customer insists they are.
Salon operators who complete the Sun is Life® Training & Certification program know about skin type assessment, photosensitivity and so much more!
Salon operators who have completed the Sun is Life® Training & Certification program know about skin type assessment, as well as a potential issue that may arise from a UV session that is too much exposure for a person who took some time away from indoor tanning. A photosensitizing response on the skin called a PLE (or polymorphic light eruption) may occur. The UV exposure causes a rash in people who have developed sensitivity to sunlight or haven’t been exposed to UV for quite some time. The rash usually appears as tiny, inflamed bumps or slightly raised patches of skin. (Good to know, right?)
So, Walla Walla Wendy, my suggested response to your customer is as follows: “I’ve found that explaining skin health while using our UV services is always one of my most primary concerns. You may opt to try tanning at ‘Two-Buck Tom’s’ down the street; he really doesn’t care how long or how often you use his equipment, just as long as you pay for it. But here at our salon, our goal – and our responsibility – is to provide tanners with a controlled environment for obtaining a cosmetic tan. We’re in the ‘look good/feel good’ business!”
A 26-year industry veteran, Joe has taught certified salon operator training for the last 15 years, as well as advocating indoor tanning in many capacities. Joe is a sought-after speaker and presenter at both national & regional trade events, also interacting with the FDA, state & local regulatory agencies. During his most recent tenure with the ITA, he served as director of membership.
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