On paper, tanning might seem simple; you lay in a tanning bed, spread out under the sun, or stand in a spray tan booth. Then, you walk away with beautiful, sun-kissed skin. In reality, the process involves a fascinating combination of chemical reactions and ultraviolet rays. Here’s everything you should know about the process.
How Does a Tanning Bed Work?
To understand tanning beds, you need to understand ultraviolet rays. The process involves ultraviolet A — UVA — and ultraviolet B — UVB — emissions, which are different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. Tanning beds use different combinations of these wavelengths to help you achieve bronzed skin.
Tanning beds use specially designed fluorescent lamps to create the radiation effect. When you lay down in a bed, UVA and UVB wavelengths penetrate various layers of your skin, stimulating cells called melanocytes. These cells multiply the melanin in your skin, which builds a natural tan.
Lower Level tanning beds produce a higher percentage of UVB Rays (Reddening Rays) melanin producing to help build your base tan. You are more likely to burn in a lower level bed as the UV rays are a lot like the sun. Therefore to achieve a smart safe natural tan it is advised to start slow and work your way up.
Higher Level Tanning beds produce a higher percentage of UVA Rays (Bronzing Rays) that give your base tan a more deeper darker tone. You are least likely to burn in a higher level bed versus a lower level bed. However it is good to have a good base tan to see optimal results.
What Is a Spray Tan?
Also known as sunless tanning, spray tans do not use UVA or UVB wavelengths to bronze your skin. Instead, they use dihydroxyacetone — DHA — is a sugar that naturally interacts with the amino acids (proteins) in your skin cells. When exposed to oxygen this reaction darkens the outermost layer of your skin. DHA is considered an alternative to tanning beds, and the spray is formulated based on your specific needs.
You may think a DHA in this way, cut an apple in half and leave the cut side exposed to the air. The sugar and amnio acids (proteins) in the apply start interacting with each other and with in a day the apple will turn brown. This is the same reaction a spray tan has with your skin.
For example, if you simply want a touch of color, you may want to choose a spray tan with a lower concentration of DHA. If you suffer from dry skin, you may want a product that contains moisturizers. A spray tan technician can help you select the perfect product based on your preferences.
It may be simple to lay out under the sun, but tanning beds and spray tans give you more control over the color of your skin in a fraction of the time. Plus, they allow you to enjoy bronzed skin all year long. Whether you’re preparing for a big date or tired of dealing with the midwinter blues, the team at Touch of Bronze in Stillwater, OK, can help you enjoy the tanned look of your dreams. This tanning salon offers three types of tanning beds, a range of high-quality spray tan options, and a Smart Tan® certified staff. To learn more about their packages, call (405) 533-1826, or visit them online to learn more about their equipment.