We Are Sunshine

5 in 6 salons have clients who tan for therapeutic reasons

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

More than 5 out of 6 tanning salon owners say they have clients whose main reasons for tanning are therapeutic according to a survey conducted in January, proving once again that the tanning experience is about much more than turning your skin brown.

2009-02-03-beyond-the-tan-tanningnews-copy.jpgDespite the fact that indoor tanning is marketed as a cosmetic activity in North America, 85 percent of salons said they have clients who come in primarily for the therapeutic aspects of UV light. Only 15 percent said they didn’t know of clients who were tanning for that reason.

“This is not a surprise,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “Indoor tanning was invented in Europe to harness the physiological and psychological benefits of UV exposure. That was the point, and the cosmetic tan was merely a side effect.”

Indoor tanning came to North America in the late 1970s and early 1980s and caught on as cosmetic activity. “But people still perceive the therapeutic advantages of regular UV exposure, whether we can promote that or not,” Levy said.

Smart Tan surveys through the years have shown that medical professionals believe in the value of moderate UV exposure. A 2008 survey showed that 66 percent of salons have medical doctors who tan in their facilities, and previous surveys have shown that about 70 percent of salons have clients they know to be referred to them by doctors.

UV exposure is the body’s most natural and abundant source of vitamin D3, which is supplemented into foods but only occurs naturally in fatty fish like salmon or in cod liver oil. It does not occur naturally in milk. UV also triggers the production of endorphins in the skin, which give a psychological feeling of well-being.

“There is no doubt that human anatomy is designed to be attracted to UV exposure,” Levy said. “Indoor tanning facilities, when we do our jobs professionally, enable people to enjoy a cosmetic tan with the side-effect that they will make vitamin D and will realize the other reasons that tanners have always been attracted to the sun.”