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Frequently Asked Questions

History of Sunless Tanning


If you're thinking about starting a PART TIME or FULL TIME mobile spray tanning business here's some background information explaining how this successful industry has emerged ... and continues to grow!

When famous fashion designer Coco Chanel accidentally acquired a dark tan during a vacation on the French Riviera in the 1920's, she ignited a fad among whites for tanned skin. By the 1960s bronzed skin among whites often signified social status, wealth and health.

The decline of Sunbeds (skin Cancer risks)
In 1985 the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) launched a public education program warning about the risks of overexposure to the sun. By 1990, 600,000 new cases of skin cancer had been diagnosed and 27,600 of these involved malignant melanoma. That year, there were 8,800 deaths from melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma and the incidence of these skin diseases continued to rise. Although these risks were widely publicised, in a 1997 Seventeen magazine survey, two thirds of teens responding said they "look better with a tan and feel healthier, more sophisticated," and half said they looked "more athletic."

Sunless Tanning ... the SAFE alternative!
Sunless tanning arose in response to links between sun exposure and skin cancer discovered in the 1960s. People have been able to pour on a tan since 1960, when Coppertone came out with the first sunless-tanning product -- QT or Quick Tanning Lotion. This lotion had an incredibly orange hue. Since then, there have been several advancements made on the sunless-tanning front now offering a range of solutions and natural colours for all skin types, and a streak-free finish. Sunless tanning, also known as self tanning, or UV-free tanning, refers to applying chemicals on the skin to produce an effect similar in appearance to a traditional suntan.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the most effective products available are sunless tanning or self tanning lotions that contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the active ingredient. The tan is not a dye, stain or paint, but a chemical reaction between the DHA and the amino acids in the dead layer on the skin surface. This is similar to a reaction which is well known to food chemists and is called the Maillard reaction. This refers to the browning process during food manufacturing and storage. It does not involve skin pigmentation nor does it need UV exposure to initiate the color change. The reaction is non-toxic and skin safe, without the damage associated with UV exposure. The tan is temporary and will fade gradually over 3 to 10 days.

These products can be applied at home as a spray tan. Best results are obtained when applied to clean, dry skin. Bathing and swimming should be avoided until product is fully absorbed, which varies from one to six hours. Airbrush spray tans are applied by professional technicians using specialised equipment designed for applying self tanning sprays, such as an airbrush, LVLP spraygun, and HVLP spraygun equipment types. The technician hand sprays the client from head to toe with a gentle solution misting.

DHA has been approved for cosmetic use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Canadian Health Ministry and most of the EU member nations. It is considered nontoxic and noncarcinogenic. Because DHA does not use the skin's melanocytes to make the skin a tan colour it is recommended as a cosmetic disguising cover for Vitiligo patients.

DHA based Sunless tanning has been recommended by the Skin Cancer Organization, American Academy of Dermatology, Canadian Dermatology Association, The American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association.

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