Has the sun finally set on UV tanning?
Within only a few months of the new Obama administration, it became clear that there would be a serious review of the tanning industry in the United States, with some States now already seeing higher taxes on, or tigher regulation of, the use of sun beds. This new legislation has paid particular attention to young people, in the wake of numerous horror stories of irresponsible salon owners allowing teenagers to expose their young skin to damaging amounts of UV rays.
One of the most controvercial steps is the recent action to ban under 18s from using sun beds outside their own home - even with parential permission.
While a large number of Americans (particularly tanning salon owners) will be contesting this new infringement upon their freedoms, and lamenting the removal of the right of child and parent to choose, their cries are unlikely to do much to slow the tanning revolution; the shift from UV to sunless tanning.
With spray tanning becoming ever-more sophisticated (both in terms of spray tan equipment producing ever-more quick, even and realistic applications, and of course in the spray tan solutions themselves), more and more people are becoming comfortable with the idea of using this as a safer alternative to UV exposure.
Spray tan solutions are now:
- Produce a more realistic colour (with the correct solution choice, there should never be any need to 'go orange')
- Cutting down on alcohol and artificial chemical components to become more gentle on the skin. Many solutions are now totally organic.
- Much cheaper (unless you go for the 'big name' brands - which are often not as good as the more inventive, cutting edge new blends anyway).
- Quicker. With the introduction of rapid-tan formulas, you can expect your tan to have fully developed in 6 hours or less (less than half the time of 'traditional' solutions).
It's not surprising, therefore, that salons are ripping out their UV bulbs and fitting their sun beds with infrared skin rejuvenation and Vitamin-D bulbs (as recently introduced by the Manchester United football team for use after every match) in an attempt to survive, as well as diversifying into sunless tanning and other areas of the health/fitness markets (such as the controvercial vibration plate exercise machines).
As demand for sun beds falls and sun beds no longer hold the same value in the market (barely-used commercial sun beds, purchased for £15,000 brand new, can now be purchased for £500 or less as traditional tanning salons close down due to both changing consumer tastes and, of course, the economic downturn), this also means that the remaining faithful 'hardcore' UV tanners are now able to afford the luxury of purchasing commercial-grade sun beds for installation in their own homes - taking yet more clients away from the tanning salons.
As the sun sets on the sun bed industry, however, it rises on a new era; the time of the mobile spray tan technician, the diversified health and beauty salon or even hairdresser with a spray tan tent in the corner of the salon, is definitely upon us.