The sun can hurt – we can help!

Us humans look great with a tan. A little color helps us look healthier, younger, and even slimmer! Unfortunately, that color can come at a cost. I don’t mean money, I mean your health!

Sunburn is the most common health problem associated with too much sun exposure. I know what you’re thinking: “Sunburn isn’t fun, but we’ve all had it to varying degrees and we’re fine”… but it’s not just annoying and uncomfortable, sun burn is actually the result of deep cellular damage to your skin cells.  Over time, this damage becomes noticeable in other ways. It can give the skin that “leathery” look. It’s more wrinkly, flakey, and discolored that healthy skin. It is also weakened and will bruise more easily, even if it appears to be thicker.

Still not concerned about health effects from the sun? You might be surprised to learn that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer found today, and many doctors believe that limiting over-exposure to the sun can help prevent it. Too much exposure to direct sunlight can increase your chances of developing skin cancer, and certain skin cancers, such as melanoma, can also spread to other areas of the body if not treated in time, so it’s nothing to scoff at.

Staying out of direct sunlight is the best way to protect yourself, but there’s no way to completely avoid the sun! When you go outdoors, these tips will help minimize the damage:

Wear sunscreen! Be sure to look at the SPF number on your sunscreen. The larger the SPF number, the greater the amount of protection. Everyone should use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. If you have had skin cancer or pre-cancer, you should use a sunscreen with an even higher SPF. Many of the new sunscreens have SPFs of 30, 45, or even higher.

Wear sunglasses that filter UV light. Many brands make stylish shades that also offer this protection. UV Rays can damage your eyes as well as your skin.

Wear protective clothing to help shield your skin. Invest in a good hat! The top of your head is usually a tough spot to lather on the sunscreen, but your hair doesn’t cover your scalp the way a hat does.

Avoid the mid-day sun. The UV rays that damage your skin are most powerful between 10am to 3pm.

But what about getting a tan?

Many people lay out in direct sunlight for hours to get that perfect tan, but even with sunscreen on, UV rays can penetrate your skin and cause damage. Tanning beds, even though they aren’t real sunlight, carry the same risks because they use the same dangerous rays.

There’s good news, though – there are SAFE tanning products that you can use to bronze your skin without actually using the sun or tanning beds!

Airbrush tanning uses an all natural compound called DHA. DHA isn’t a dye, paint, or stain. It’s actually a non-toxic, organic compound that creates a chemical reaction with the amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin.  This reaction does not involve the underlying skin pigmentation, nor does it require exposure to ultraviolet light to initiate the change in color. DHA is approved by the FDA, and does not carry the serious risks that tanning outdoors or using a tanning bed does. It is a vegan, organic, and safe alternative. These tans last 7-10 days and are the safest option for those who desire tan skin but don’t want to risk the permanent damage that UV radiation can cause.

The Safety of Spray Tans

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the research showing how dangerous sun exposure can be. We’ve learned that the UV rays in the sun that damage our skin are also found in tanning beds. This might lead you to wondering about the safety of airbrush tanning as well.

Let’s start with the basics – What is an airbrush tan? How does it work?

When you get an airbrush tan, a technician uses as specialized tool to evenly spray a solution on your skin. This solution soaks into your skin and leaves you with a natural tan for approximately 7-10 days.  The solution we’re referring to contains Dihydroxyacetone or “DHA” – I know it sounds kind of scary, but DHA isn’t some sort of toxic chemical! In fact, it’s a completely NON-toxic, organic compound and it creates a reaction with the amino acids in the stratum corneum, which is the very outermost layer of your skin. This reaction is completely natural, it’s similar to the one that makes an apple turn brown when you cut into it. When you tan outdoors or in a tanning bed, the color change happens in the deepest layer of your skin, called the basal layer. UV Rays from the sun or the bed penetrate deeply into your body to initiate the color change, but it can also cause serious skin damage and even cancer. Your sun tan might be temporary, but the sun has broken down the DNA in your skin cells permanently. With DHA, nothing penetrates that deeply. The DHA stays on the surface of the skin and the reaction doesn’t affect anything below that first outer layer of skin. We are always shedding and re-growing skin. When that top skin flakes off, the color from your airbrush tan leaves with it. Nothing is permanent with an airbrush tan.

But is DHA safe?

The FDA has done extensive research and deemed DHA safe to use. You should not ingest the solution and you should not get it into your eyes, nose, or mouth. So, when you get an airbrush tan, keep your eyes and mouth closed, and don’t inhale the solution. Some people prefer to use nose clips as well, just to be safe. There are some people who have been known to have an allergic reaction to spray tans, but that’s usually due to other ingredients in the solutions used. If you’re sensitive and have many skin allergies, you might want to test a small area to see how it reacts before you do your whole body. Airbrush tanning does NOT carry the risk of skin cancer or photo-aging that the sun or tanning beds do.

There have been issues reported with other tanning products that are sometimes called tan enhancers, accelerators, promoters, or amplifiers. Many of these products interact with the sun to create an even deeper color, so they are actually accentuating the damage done to the skin by the sun itself. There are also oral pills, which are banned commercially in the U.S. and for good reason. They contain the carotenoid chemical (the same pigment found in carrots), and have been associated with a variety or disorders including hepatitis and hives.  Airbrush tanning contains NONE of these risks either. It won’t protect you from the dangers of the sun, though. So when you leave the house, you’re always encouraged to wear sunscreen with an appropriate SPF number to minimize your risk of damage from the sun.

So airbrush tanning is basically the safest way we’ve found to get a tan! It’s also the fastest. You can get a full body tan in about 15 minutes as opposed to laying in the sun for hours!  I bet you’ll be surprised to learn that it’s also quite affordable. Some salons, like Shine in Denver, even offer an option to do a mobile tanning session, where they bring the equipment to your house for you and tan you in the comfort of your own home! Give it a try and see for yourself. It’s fast, cheap, and SAFE! Why not?

Spring Tanning Options

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Spring is around the corner and you want to start preparing for all your warmer-weather activities and outfits. Looking pale as a ghost doesn’t go well with your spring wardrobe! So what are your options to get that healthy glowing tan that will look great with everything?

Sun Bathing

You can always go outside and soak in the sun. While it might cost less than other options, it’s definitely less safe and takes a longer time to get results. UV Radiation is what creates a tan and this radiation can be very dangerous. Sun burn is the risk we most often think of. Sun burn is not fun at all. It’s painful, ugly, and lasts longer than anyone would like. But there are other dangers, too…  UV Rays are known to cause skin cancer, cataracts, premature skin aging, and suppression of the immune system. UVA rays in particular have been shown to increase the chance of getting melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer! As great as getting a perfect tan can be, it’s certainly not worth dying for.

Tanning Beds

Tanning beds work by emitting ultraviolet radiation, or UV Rays, which work deep inside your skin to change pigment and create a tan. There are two types of UV rays – UVA and UVB. Most tanning beds primarily emit UVA rays, although some “high pressure” tanning beds emit a more concentrated mixture of the two. UV Radiation is that dangerous radiation we just talked about. There are plenty of side effects to watch out for.

The FDA has banned the use of tanning beds by minors and strongly discourages people from using tanning beds for cosmetic purposes. There are simply too many risks involved. Besides skin cancer, you risk getting a sunburn, and without using goggles, you put yourself at risk of getting a condition called arc eye, or snow blindness – which is basically like a sunburn on your eyes! Talk about painful! Many tanning booths limit your exposure to 20 minutes, but depending on your skin type, 20 minutes can be enough time to cause serious damage, especially when you go often.

Why spend time and money for something so dangerous? There’s a safer alternative…

Airbrush Tanning

Spray tanning has come a LONG way since the days where it was an obvious, streaky, orange mess.  We’ve mastered the formula and the application, creating the modern airbrush tan. It’s a work of art. The artists hardly get credit though, since their work looks so natural that you’d never even know!

Airbrush tanning doesn’t create color using a dye or stain, it uses a compound called Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, which is an all-natural, simple carbohydrate with formula C3H6O3. This skin browning effect is non-toxic and similar to the Maillard reaction. Different amino acids react to DHA in different ways, producing different tones of coloration from yellow to brown. The resulting pigments are similar in coloration to melanin, the natural substance which browns or “tans” from exposure to UV rays. But all of this takes place in the outermost layer of the skin, not deep in the lower layers like a sun tan. It’s a natural, organic reaction, not one caused by radiation. The result is a natural looking tan without the harmful side effects.

We no longer have to stand in a booth that sprays you and turn around hoping to get every inch of skin evenly either! Airbrush tans are applied using a special spray “gun” by trained professionals. You won’t miss a spot or have some areas darker than others. Airbrush tanning technicians can even apply the formula in such a way that you can add slimming contours and cover problem areas specifically.

When properly cared for, an airbrush tan can last up to 10 days. It’s a natural, organic, safe option for getting some color all year long. And best of all? It’s quick! Instead of lying around all day getting a tan, you can be in and out in 15 minutes with a full body tan, and technicians can even come to your home with a mobile station and do it for you there!

Give us a call for an appointment and see what all the fuss is about.

Look Great Year-Round!

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Pale might be a good look for polar bears, but it washes us humans out!  A little color keeps us looking healthy and radiant all year long. When you’re stuck indoors all winter, airbrush tanning can step in and save the day! Our expert technicians can work with you to pick the perfect shade that will look natural (never orange!) and seasonally appropriate. After all, you’ll want a lighter, more subtle shade in winter months otherwise you’ll stand out like a sore, sun-baked thumb.

People who try to apply self-tanning solutions themselves often miss spots or accidentally leave dark streaks of color in places they can’t easily see. Airbrush tanning makes sure this doesn’t happen! We apply the color for you over your whole body (expect of course the places that we don’t tan, like the palms of your hands!) for a natural, even tone. We can also help to hide scars, veins, and age spots. This gives you a smoother complexion and younger looking skin from head to toe.

There’s also no need to worry about skin damage. Unlike the sun or tanning beds, there are no harmful UV Rays involved in airbrush tanning. The DHA solution is applied to the surface of your skin and works in the outer-most layer to produce a tan. DHA is an organic compound. We use a 100% vegan and cruelty-free formula which has been approved by the FDA.

You’ll be happy to know that airbrush tanning is more affordable than you probably think!  And it takes less than 20 minutes. You’re in and out and on your way looking healthier, younger, thinner, and more refreshed than you did when you stepped in. It’s great all year long, but you’ll DEFINITELY want to try it this winter!

Tips to extend the life of your airbrush tan.

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Nothing lasts forever. Unfortunately that’s true about spray tans. But there are some tricks for keeping that tan as long as you can!

Some of the most important things to help with you tan are done at home before you step foot in the tanning salon. That begins with exfoliating!  Spray tans only work on the top, outermost layer of your skin. This makes them much safer than tanning beds or laying out in the sun, but it also means that the tan won’t last quite as long. We are always losing skin. The top layer of skin dies and falls off or gets rubbed away by clothes, showers, etc. To make sure you’re not applying your tanning solution to a layer of dead skin that is just about the fall off, you should exfoliate the day before your tanning session so that the fresh skin underneath is the skin that gets tanned. There are tons of exfoliating scrubs, sponges, and gloves on the market that can help you with this task. You can even make your own natural sugar scrub if you’re handy like that! There are tons of great recipes out there. Whatever you choose to use, make sure you do it the day before your appointment.

Also be sure you shave (or wax) the day before your appointment. When you remove hair, you often remove a bit of skin as well. If you wait until after your airbrush tan, you’ll be removing a layer of the newly tanned skin with your hair, and that will reduce the time you get to spend with that glow. Plus, if you have hair on your body, the tanning solution will get on the hair and it can block the solution from getting to your skin and working it’s magic.

On the day of your appointment, don’t put on any creams, sprays, perfumes, or lotions. A layer of lotion on your skin can block the tanning solution from absorbing into your skin. Choose your outfit carefully before you leave the house, too.  Skinny jeans are great, but don’t wear them to your airbrush tanning appointment. The tanning solution dries pretty quickly, but it’s still a good idea to avoid tight-fitting clothes that will rub against your skin and potentially rub your solution off before it has a chance to fully penetrate and give you the best possible tan.

After you’ve gotten your treatment, avoid water for a few hours if you can. It takes about 6-8 hours for the solution to completely settle in and do it’s job. Until then, avoid showers, baths, saunas, and heavy work-outs since sweating opens pores and washes away the solution just as much as a shower can.

Once your tan has settled in (after that initial 6-8 hours) then be sure you keep your skin moist to lock that skin in. You know how your skin gets flakey when it’s dry? Those flakes are dead skin shedding off. Your hydrated skin will stay healthier longer. Once your skin is nice and tan, we want to keep it! Keeping your skin moisturized will ensure that you keep that tan as long as possible. We recommend moisturizing at least twice a day. If you can find a moisturizer that has SPF sun protection built-in, even better! It will help protect your skin from those damaging UV Rays we mentioned earlier!

When your skin is nice and tan, it’s best to limit your time in chlorinated pools. Chlorine dries your skin out and sometimes can even have a bleaching effect. So it’s best to avoid chlorine altogether if possible, but if not – be sure to shower it off as soon as you can when you get out of the pool and keep that moisturizer flowing!

Following these tips can ensure that your tan lasts as long as possible.

Science of Tanning

1221There are several ways you can get a natural tan. The most obvious is from the sun. Light from the sun reaches the earth in three different forms: visible light, infrared light, and ultraviolet light. The last type, ultraviolet light, is classified into three separate categories:
* UVA or black light, which causes tanning.
* UVB, which typically causes damage in the form of sunburn.
* UVC, which doesn’t affect us because it’s filtered out by the atmosphere before it can get to our skin.
The problems we associate with sun exposure, such as premature aging, skin cancer, sun spots, etc. are primarily caused by harmful UVB rays. Research suggests UVA might have a hand in these things as well. Most of the sun’s UV radiation at sea level is UVA rays.
UVA can be reflected, as well. Snow actually reflects roughly 90% of UV light, which is why you can get severe sun burns while skiing or snow boarding. Sand reflects up to 20% of UVB too, so at the beach, you’re getting more UV exposure than you would be getting if you were sitting in your backyard. Water also reflects UV light, although it doesn’t prevent it from penetrating the surface of the water. You can still get burned while swimming. Some surfaces can absorb these rays rather than reflect them. Certain types of glass do this, and our own melanin in our skin absorbs UV light to some degree.

Ultraviolet light in the sun stimulates the production of melanin. This pigment protects cells from damage by absorbing as much UV radiation as it can. Imagine you put a sponge on top of a piece of paper and slowly dropped beads of water onto it. The sponge would soak the water up before it can ruin the paper. That’s sort of what your melanin does to UV rays. It can become saturated, though. Eventually if you keep dropping water on it, the paper will be ruined.

It’s this protective melanin in your skin which gets darker and creates what we call a tan. Caucasians typically have the least amount of melanin in their skin on a day-to-day basis, but in many other races, there is a continuous melanin production, which causes the skin to remain pigmented and also offers more protection against UV rays.

It’s important to note that all UV rays are potentially dangerous. They can cause deep damage to your cells, which results in painful sunburn at best and fatal skin cancer at worst. It’s important to protect yourself from skin damage by wearing sunscreen when you’re outside. Avoiding direct sunlight is the best way to protect yourself. This really ruins your chance at a tan, though.

There is one more way that you can get naturally darker skin, however. That’s through DHA.  DHA is an organic compound naturally found in your own body that creates a chemical reaction within the amino acids in the outermost layer of your skin when applied directly to the exterior of your body. This reaction does not involve the underlying skin pigmentation, nor does it require exposure to ultraviolet light to initiate the change in color.  It is similar to the maillard reaction which occurs in food. It’s a natural, temporary color that looks just like a tan that occurs from melanin. The active ingredient in airbrush tanning is DHA. The color produced in an airbrush tan typically lasts 7-10 days, but it is much safer than roasting yourself in the sun or using a tanning bed.

The Evolution of Tanning

Centuries ago, having pale skin was a status symbol. Lower class workers had darker skin because they were outdoors all day, so being tan was something looked down upon. Women went to great lengths to avoid the sun! Upper class women wore hats and rarely left the house without a parasol. They also caked their faces in heavy white powder to appear more pale.

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In the 1930’s, movies began using color film, which propelled the tanning movement that had slowly began in the 20’s. Starlets were seen basking in the sun at Hollywood swimming pools, and “sun therapy” was being prescribed to cure common illnesses. Swim suits became skimpier and skimpier, and by the 1950’s, bikinis became the hottest fashion trend.

It was a complete status turn-around. Having a tan was now a symbol of wealth and leisure! People were using silver UV reflectors to get darker tans. In the 1960’s, people all over the country were using cocoa butter and baby oil as tanning lotions. The surfing lifestyle was all the rage and tans were the coolest accessories you could have!

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By the 70’s, people wanted to have tans year-round.  In 1975, the tanning booth was created to give you that “just got back from the beach” look all year long. Mattel introduced Malibu Barbie the same year. George Hamilton became the first tan Dracula in “Love At First Bite” shortly after! Sunscreen with SPF 15 came out and more people than ever could enjoy themselves in the sun without burning to a crisp. Movies like “10” and shows like “Baywatch” kept the tan craze alive and well for decades to come. Higher SPF sunscreens were invented, as well as water-proof varieties and spray-on’s. Tan enhancers such as Maxgel and Sizzle became popular with both indoor and outdoor tanners. Tanning became big business – more and more tanning salons opened, offering customers access to tanning booths.

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Eventually, we began studying and learning more about the effects of the sun. It was discovered that too much sun exposure causes serious cellular damage, and is a leading cause of skin cancer. People are now urged to use higher SPF sunscreen and avoid too much time in mid-day sun. Sunless tanning became a safer alternative to roasting at the beach all day or hopping into tanning beds which saturate you with potentially harmful UV rays. There are bronzers you can apply yourself at home and spray tan booths that will spray color at you! Sunless tanning has come a long way from the orange dye that they used to use. The most effective and natural looking sunless tan available today is airbrush tanning. A technician will apply a solution to your skin evenly and make sure you look naturally tan. It’s hard to tell the difference between an airbrush tan and a tan you get from being outdoors. Airbrush tanning solutions contain a compound called DHA which naturally stimulates your skin to produce color, but does not permeate your deep skin tissues the way UV rays do. An airbrush tan will last approximately 7-10 days. It’s FDA approved and currently the safest alternative to baking your body in the sun. It won’t cause wrinkles and leathery skin the way too much sun can, too!

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Being tan is still considered beautiful and most of the models you see in magazines and actors you catch on TV are perfectly bronzed. Tan skin hides imperfections and makes you look younger and healthier. Tanning isn’t going anywhere, but our ability to tan safely with an airbrush tan is certainly a highlight of modern life!