Tanning business heats up

By Alyce Malchiodi

Students going to a warm location on spring break might want to consider getting an early start at a tanning salon.

Jeff Bridge of Super Tan of DeKalb, 122 E. Hillcrest, said a base tan will help prevent burning when tanning outdoors.

Chuck Ehrlik of Tropical Tan, 2600 Sycamore Road, said artificial tans “help keeping you from being burned, but you should still use a good sunscreen” when in the sun.

Tanning salons become “extremely” busy before spring break, said Robin Koks of The Body Shoppe, 1311 E. Dresser Road.

Business is three times higher before break, Bridge said.

Ehrlik said some salons use the Wolfe Tanning System. This system is equivalent to four to six hours in the sun when a client uses a tanning bed for 30 minutes, he said.

Some people have a higher tolerance to the sun then others because of melanin, a chemical in their skin, said Steven Lux, NIU health educator at the University Health Service. The sun tolerance “depends on the person.”

People should take precautionary measures, like wearing eye protection, in tanning salons. “There is danger here, but there is also danger in the sun,” Koks said.

Lux said each person has a different melanin level. People who have pale complexions have less melanin than those with darker complexions, he said. Lux said this is why fair skin has a more difficult time tanning than dark skin.

Koks said a fair-skinned person should plan on starting a base tan about three weeks before break and a dark-skinned person should begin about two weeks before.

Vacationers need to keep in mind the amount of time they will spend in the sun at their destination, Bridge said.

A good starting time in a tanning booth is about 20 minutes, Bridge said. There are also protective lotions and a pamphlet on tanning tips clients can buy at some tanning salons, he said.