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Ahh, April. Thank you for joining us! Longer days of sunshine welcome spring. It’s also the time of year when the anti-tanning media cranks up their keyboards to slam our industry. Here are a couple of clips (shared by the American Academy of Dermatology) and anecdotes you could use to clarify the facts for your tanners and potential customers.
“Using tanning beds can cause a serious injury. In emergency rooms across the United States, people are treated for burns, loss of consciousness, and eye injuries caused by indoor tanning.”
I enjoy sharing numbers and have done so regarding this one in the past, so here it comes again.
The modern indoor tanning industry has existed for over 40 years. Think about just one salon, your salon, and how many sessions you deliver each day, week, month and year. Now consider the same numbers for all the salons in your state. Next, do the same for the entire country. Finally, multiply that number by 40 years. That’s a lot of tanning sessions. A LOT. If there truly were that many ER visits as a direct result of tanning indoors, don’t think for a minute that these same folks wouldn’t be pushing headlines to the media every day about tanners succumbing to a “loss of consciousness” and other “serious” injuries caused by sunbed sessions.
“Getting a base tan cannot prevent sunburn. Many people believe that using a tanning bed to get a base tan will prevent sunburn. Absolute myth. If you have a base tan, you can still burn.”
While true, they’ve taken some liberties with this one. Professional salons have suggested for years that people develop a pre-vacation tan in the effort to reduce the chance of getting a sunburn. Here’s one scenario:
Two people of skin type II decide to vacation in Jamaica in June. One has read about the horrors and potential damage from using a tanning bed and simply packs some light clothes, a couple of swimsuits and some SPF lotion. The other visits a tanning salon weeks before the trip, obtains a base tan in moderation and packs for the trip in a similar fashion. Weeks later, they both arrive in Kingston and head to their hotel in Montego Bay.
The first morning, after several rum cocktails, the pool volleyball game heats up. They both get another cocktail (Appleton Estate rum, as I recall) slather on some SPF and join in the fun. Next up, the beach. More cocktails (hey, they’re on vacation), some more SPF (don’t forget your back) and time to glide back and forth, in and out of the ocean.
After a short snooze, it’s time to get ready for nighttime fun. As they jump into their respective showers, one vacationer discovers that they are, um, torched. White rings around the eyes (thankfully, shades were worn) and a tomato-red face. Those fried ankles will be another cool look to go with flip-flops. Yikes!
Look, I embellished; but the point is that the vacationer who develops a base tan and also uses and reapplies proper amounts of SPF will have the better opportunity to avoid overexposure and sunburn. And yeah, that pre-tanned person in the example was Yours Truly. On Day Two in Jamaica, people were asking me how long I had been there and some even asked me for directions (haha). And yeah, it was quite a few years ago!
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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