Tanning Advice

Your Frequently asked Questions answered. Click on a question to read the answer.

How Do I Tan?

Tanning occurs gradually through the stimulation and oxidation of melanin in the skin during exposure to ultraviolet rays. UVB (shorter Ultraviolet rays) trigger melanin production deep in the skin. When these activated melanin granules travel to the surface, UVA (Longer ultraviolet rays) cause the melanin to oxidize and turn brown. Too much UVB causes sunburn (erythema)

Natural sunlight contains more UVB (burning rays) than tanning beds. Indoor tanning controls both the UVA/UVB ratio and your exposure time, giving you the perfect balance for developing a deep, dark, healthy-looking tan.

You will generally start with a relatively short exposure time and gradually work up to increase times. On average it will take 3-7 sessions at the recommended 24-48 hour intervals to achieve a good base tan. During this time you may experience some minor skin reddening and itching. This normal and should subside within a few days. After a base tan is established you can maintain it with regular visits. The frequency of the visits depends on your individual skin characteristics and the type of bed you use but can range from several visits a week to as few as 4 sessions a month on our highest performance beds.

For a guide to how many minutes to opt for please refer to the guide table below.

Skin Type
Experience with sunburn
Experience with suntan
Indicative Features
No of minutes recommended
1
Burns very quickly
Never goes brown
very light skin, often with freckles, reddish or light blond hair, blue eyes
3 - 6
2
Burns reasonanly fast
Tans Slowly
Light skin, fair hair, light eyes
6 - 9
3
Burns seldom
Tans rapidly
Light brown skin, dark-blond to brown hair, dark eyes
6 - 9
4
Burns almost never
Tans perfectly
Brown skin, dark hair and eyes
9 - 12

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Why Does a tan disappear?

The "tan" or pigmentation process occurs in the epidermis the top skin layer. The epidermis replaces all its skin cells every 28-30 days. Skin cells contain melanin, and as a result of UV exposure, rise to the surface and flake off. Therefore, a tan can be maintained only by repeated exposure to UV light.

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Can indoor tanning cause cancer?

EXCESS exposure to ultraviolet light can be harmful; however there is no conclusive evidence that tanning without burning is harmful or causes cancer. We recommend that fair skinned people that burn easily should tan and individuals with a family history of skin cancer should avoid all tanning, indoor or out. However using a tanning salon allows you to tan in a controlled environment and will give you a good base tan to stop burning from natural sunlight when travelling abroad or sunbathing. Tanning can also be an excellent source of Vitamin D and is recommended by many leading researchers and doctors as a good substitute for the sun in the winter months.

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What should be worn when tanning?

That’s for you to decide. The tanning rooms are completely private. Some tanners prefer a no tan line look and tan bare, and others prefer to wear bathing suits or underwear. If you’re tanning a part of your body that hasn’t been previously exposed and is much lighter than other parts we recommend that you cover these areas during part of the session or wear a sun block on those areas to allow them to catch up with the rest of your skin without burning. Please remove all jewellery when tanning to prevent scratching and damaging the clear acrylic surface of the tanning bed.

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Must Eye Goggles be worn?

Yes! The law requires it. They are necessary to protect your eyes from UV light that penetrates even through closed eye lids. We provide eye goggles at no extra charge for your use, and we offer them for sale if you prefer to have your own. Failure to wear goggles over a long period could result in permanent damage to your eyes.

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Are lotions necessary when tanning indoors?

No, but they can certainly enhance the results. Different lotions are formulated with a variety of ingredients and each product is unique, however they generally include skin nutrients and components to encourage the skins production of melanin (pigment) and also often function as moisturisers to maintain the skin’s healthy appearance and feel. Moisturisers are recognised as the single most important factor in maintaining your skin’s tanning potential and to prevent the drying that often occurs with exposure to Ultraviolet light. The Sun Centre can offer its customers a vast range of products specifically designed for indoor tanning and sun bed use. Call in and talk to a member of staff who can recommend products that will work best for you. You should never wear oils while using a tanning bed as it can result in undesirable tanning results and the clear acrylic surface of the tanning bed can be damaged.

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Why does skin tan when exposed to ultraviolet light?

The outer most layer of skin, called the epidermis, contains cells called melanocytes. When melanocytes are exposed to Ultraviolet B light (UVB) they produce melanin. The melanin is essentially a pigment that darkens when it is exposed to Ultraviolet A light (UVA). The darkened melanin results in the tan appearance. This tanning process is the body’s natural way of protecting itself from excess Ultraviolet light.

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Are there times a person should not tan?

Yes, three in particular.
• Pregnant women should not tan as the body chemistry is undergoing changes and tanning results are unpredictable
• If you have already tanned outside or indoors on a given day
• If you are on certain types of medications. Certain medications are photosensitive and can cause you to burn or have unpredictable skin discolorations. Medication lists are available at Sun Centre’s reception where a member of staff will be happy to discuss any issues with you.

If you are uncertain you should always ask you GP or pharmacist.

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