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All about UV
The Basics

Avoid sunburn!

Avoid sunburns! Take care of your skin, sunburns can cause serious and permanent damage to your skin.

Tan smart.

Tanning should be done in moderation, do not over expose your skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Wear good quality sunscreen on your exposed skin when you are going to be outdoors for long periods of time. You can burn even when it is cloudy and/or overcast. The closer you are to the Earth's equator the more quickly you may burn.
If you choose to tan indoors, you should gradually increase your tanning session time. Do not go into a tanning bed for the maximum time "just to get your money's worth". Tan in moderation, over-tanning can cause permanent damage to your skin.

Protect your skin.

Exposure to the Sun, wind, tanning equipment, etc., will dry out the surface layers of your skin. Use only high quality lotions to keep your skin moist. It is preferable to purchase moisturizers from a professional tanning salon. These are higher quality moisurizers geared toward replenishing & rebuilding damaged skin. Check the ingredients of the lotions you use, many commercial lotions contain ingredients (such as alcohol) that may dry your skin rather than moisturizing it. You do get what you pay for!

Indoor tanning lotions do work.

Indoor tanning lotions are designed to keep your skin moisturized and to improve the look of your tan. There are different formulas for different types of skin from dry to oily. Also they contain ingredients to boost your tan. They cause you to tan faster (50%-100% faster) and make your tan last longer. Some contain ingredients to improve the condition and elasticity of your skin. The lotion companies and the cosmetic industry invest a lot of money in research and development on ingredients to improve the quality of your skin.
   The information contained in these documents and web pages is intended for informational purposes only and is not to be considered as medical advise.
   The owners of Ship Shape Tanning are certified by the ITA, Indoor Tanning Institute. We encourage our employees to go through certification designed for Tanning Consultants.
   In addition we, the owners, have attended seminars from manufacturers of tanning beds, tanning lamps, lotions, airbrush/spray tanning and their distributors; all to increase our knowledge of the tanning business and science of tanning. We constantly research new products and equipment as well as the health and beauty aspects of the ingredients of the products we sell.
   All persons are responsible to research any information contained on this site as to it's validity or accuracy. Any person should consult a qualified medical professional if they belive they may have medical conditions that may be affected by tanning or exposure to ultraviolet light (UV radiation) or sunlight. Ship Shape Tanning, its' owners, employees, and any other representatives make no guarantee on the accuracy or reliability of any information presented on this site.

   This page may contain more information than the average tanner wants or needs to know. This is an on going project. If you are curious, here it is.
A Brief Overview of the Skin

Tanning is the body's natural protection against sunburn. Human skin is a complicated structure with many functions. Your skin is composed several layers, the three main layers are: epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue .
The epidermis contains 5 to 6 different layers of skin. At the bottom layer, the stratum basale, cells divide and push already formed cells into higher layers. As the cells move into the higher layers, they flatten and eventually die. The top layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, is made of dead, flat skin cells that shed about every 3 to 4 weeks,this is called exfoliation .
There are three types of specialized cells in the epidermis: the melanocyte, the Langerhans' cell, and keratinocytes . The melanocyte are the cells that produces pigment (melanin), These are the the cells that give us a tan.
Melanin and Melanoctyes are affected by both uVA and uVB. Sunlight and tanning lamps produce both uVA and uVB along with visible light and heat. The uVA rays are sometimes referred to as the "Tanning" rays, they oxidize (tan) the melanin produced in the epidermis. The uVB rays are referred to as "Burning" rays, and they help to produce melanin in the melanocyte cells. The uVB rays cause the reddening and much of the burn from sunburns.

Wikipedia« search: epidermis, melanocyte, melanin

Tanning Equipment and Lamps

   There are 2 main types of tanning "beds", stand-up and lay-down. Also there are 2 types of lay-down beds, one which has lamps that surround you, also called 360s (as in 360║ degrees) and beds that have lamps on the top or bottom only (180s).
   Tanning equipment uses 2 types of lamps, Low Pressure and High Pressure. Low pressure lamps are fluorescent lamps with a special coating of phosphors to produce specific amounts of UVA and UVB and visible light. The gasses contained in these lamps are at a low pressure or nearly a vacuum. There are many types of fluorescent lamps, reflector and non-reflector are used in tanning beds. Reflector lamps have a coating that reflect light toward the upper half of the lamp. This reduces the need for reflectors in the beds and aims more light toward your body.
   Another type of fluorescent lamp is the VHO (very high output) lamp. These lamps are generally higher in wattage 140 watts and higher. Sometimes (although incorrectly) called medium pressure lamps.
   High pressure lamps are quartz envelope mercury-vapor or metal-halide gas which produce much higher amounts of UV light. High pressure beds use a special cobalt filter glass to regulate the UVA and UVB ratio (high pressure beds are sometimes called filtered beds).
   Both high pressure and low pressure beds produce the same effect in the long run. The main difference is the time it takes to get your desired tan and how long it will last. High pressure lamps are much stronger and produce more UVA. This will build your tan faster in less time and fewer sessions. Your tan from a high pressure bed will last much longer.

More information about lamps can be found here:
Wikipedia« search: UltraViolet, fluorescent lamps, mercury-vapor lamp
Tanning Time

   Tanning beds in the U.S.A. are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are classified as Class 2 medical equipment. Each manufacturer and model of tanning bed must comply with FDA regulations for maximum UV exposure for the specified tanning time of that model.
   Maximum tanning times are based on 2 main factors, the strength of the lamps and the number of lamps. The more lamps a bed has, the less time it takes to receive the maximum MED (mean erythemal dose). A bed with 24 100 watt lamps will have a longer maximum tanning time than a 40 160 watt lamp bed.
   Tanning times vary from each model of bed and all beds must be labeled with the maximum exposure time for that piece of equipment.
    Another important factor in tanning time is your skin and skin type. Even though the maximum time may be 15 minutes your skin may burn or redden at 10 minutes in a given bed. Be aware of your skin type and condition and never over expose yourself just to get your money's worth out of a session. We offer sessions by the minute or month when you are starting out.
    There is no formula to compare tanning in a tanning bed  to exposure to the Sun. The amount of UV you get while in the Sun depends on a number of variables including: time of day, time of year, your latitude (from the equator), your elevation, the weather, humidity, the solar activity, ... The Sun does not produce the same amount of UV at all times, it goes through cycles. Also if you are on the water or snow you will get more reflected light than normal.

A note about the owners of Ship Shape Tanning

We were born & raised in Arizona. Because of this, we understand the importance of sunshine for our health & mental well being. This has also helped us to realize the importance of avoiding over-exposure to sunshine (burning).
Living in the Northwest for most of our adult lives has taught us to get UV in moderation year-round to obtain the benefits of UV exposure, while avoiding the risks involved with over-exposure (burning). We teach our clients & employees the importance of responsible UV exposure. We care about our customers health and do everything we can to properly educate them.

Putting Health risks into perspective

    According to the World Health Organization, over 70 diseases (many of which are cause by lack of UV) are more deadly than skin cancer. Skin cancer may be caused by environment, x-rays, chemicals (including SPF lotions & baby oil), & many other substances other than over-exposure to UV.
    The World Health Organization's website shows that you have a 2290.9% higher chance to die of Tuberculosis than of skin cancer. You have a 83,281.82% higher chance of dying of cardiovascular disease (which is linked to Vitamin D deficiency).
We are not diminishing the importance of fighting skin cancer, but putting it in perspective, due to the greatly exaggerated claims by the big money makers of the anti-tanning industry.
    We are at the forefront of teaching people to avoid skin cancer by tanning responsibly! We have studied the effects (positive & negative) of Sunshine (UV) exposure. We have learned that responsible tanning (never burning) is the best way to obtain vitamin D & help protect yourself from the many diseases that are caused by a lack of UV exposure, while minimizing the risks of obtaining skin cancer.
    We have challenged all local media & several national news channels to debate us or at least furnish us with any proof or studies that show that anyone who tans responsibly & has never burned has ever contracted skin cancer. So far none have been able to accept that challenge or furnish us with any such proof.

If you have any comments or questions, you can ask us and we will research them and answer them.
Send your comments or questions about tanning to:
Tan 101

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