Indoor tans give teens glow without the beach

Duncan MacKenzie | Staff Writer

Students are getting ready for warmer weather by heading indoors.

Whether it be in preparation for prom or hitting the beach, tanning is an important part of many students’ spring schedules. The perfect tan can be achieved using a variety of indoor methods: ultraviolet (UV) exposure, lotions, and sprays.

UV exposure in tanning beds combines two different UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVA makes up about 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the earth’s surface, and is the dominant form in tanning beds. It has a longer wavelength than UVB, allowing it to penetrate deeper into the skin.

According to skincancer.org, UV lamps in tanning salons emit 12 times more UVA than the sun. Due to the light’s intensity, tanning sessions only last about 12 to 18 minutes at a time. TANtalize Tanning Studio manager Gina Stellatano said that these sessions are sometimes spread out over weeks, while the lotion and sprays are immediate remedies for pale skin.

“UV tanning is more of a building process just like going out in the sun,” Stellatano said. “It takes time, it takes a couple days, it takes some visits in a tanning bed to build color. Sunless is more of an instant. You get sprayed, you’re tan in a matter of a few hours.”

U.S. News and World Report estimates that roughly one million Americans tan indoors every day, and according to TANtalize Tanning Studio manager Gina Stellatano, there is a significant increase in young-adult tanners as spring begins.

“For teenagers, we see them in the springtime mostly,” Stellatano said. “As soon as we’re about a month from spring break and into prom when seniors are graduating, we see the most teenagers.”

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