How To Tan Responsibly

It is important for consumers to understand some basic rules of tanning responsibly in order to prevent sunburn, which may lead to serious side effects. When done responsibly, indoor tanning has many benefits and according to recent research, may actually help prevent some forms of cancer.

Just as with exercise, care must be taken to increase our tan gradually and not to overdo it. This advice applies to summer tanning as well as using indoor tanning equipment during the fall and winter to maintain a healthy looking tan.

The best way to tan with indoor tanning equipment is to choose a professional facility, to understand the industry's guidelines and to avoid overexposure or any degree of sunburn. It is important to look for facilities that meet the following guidelines and allow you to enjoy a responsible tanning experience.

To maintain a tan, people with a good base tan from outdoor sun exposure during the summer months, are recommended to have one to two weekly sessions at 48 hour minimum intervals. This is due to the tanned skin's outer layer enhancing the body's ability to protect itself from overexposure.

Skin Type Determines Tanning Schedule

The type of skin a person has determines the ability of the skin to produce melanin. Skin types are hereditary and are not altered through tanning. Each skin type has an amount of time designated for tanning based on the least amount of ultraviolet light that stimulates tanning without reddening the skin.

Skin types range from a Skin Type I (albino) to Skin Type VI (African American). Skin types are classified according to a person's tendencies to sunburn and/or tan. Most people using indoor tanning systems are a skin type II, III or IV. These people tend to sunburn upon overexposure to varying dosages of UV light, but also have the ability to develop a tan.

An individualized tanning program is based on skin type and the amount of base tan. This information should always be displayed on the tanning bed.

How to Select a Tanning Provider

Customers should be comfortable and confident that the management and employees of a tanning salon, health club or video store are informed, accountable and follow industry guidelines - including hygienic cleansing of the tanning beds after each use.

The salon attendant should:
  • Discuss skin types and exposure time charts carefully with you.
  • Recommend a tanning schedule that will produce a moderate tan in successive stages, avoiding sunburn.
  • Discuss medications that may have a potentially photosensitizing effect when combined with UV exposure. The salon should display or make you aware of a chart of photosensitizing agents that can cause your skin to be unusually sensitive to the ultraviolet rays. You will want to review this extensive list carefully to make sure that you are not taking any of the substances or using them topically on your body. Also, remove all jewelry, make-up, perfume, cologne, sunscreen or any other substance on the skin prior to each tanning session, unless it is a lotion designed for use in a tanning bed or booth. A moisturizer can be used following a session. Check with your physician and/or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Provide you with FDA-approved eyewear with instructions on use.
  • Explain the cleaning procedures of the tanning beds between sessions. A tanning bed should be cleaned after each session.

About Wolff System Technology

Wolff System was founded by Friedrich Wolff, "the father" of the indoor tanning industry. The company manufactures lighting systems for tanning beds and with patents in 16 countries, is the exclusive licensor of Wolff System certified tanning beds in the United States and Canada. As the leading manufacturer of lamps for indoor tanning beds, Wolff has more than 500,000 systems in use worldwide. With licensed Wolff System tanning equipment, the amount and type of exposure to ultraviolet light is predictable and consistent, unlike outdoor tanning where variables include the time of day, season, cloud cover, and proximity to the equator. For more information, contact 1-800-959-6533, email or visit