Smart Tan Network sticks to moderation to keep tanning safe

Kira Meixner

The Smart Tan Network is all about moderation.

“Our job is to help people tan safely,” said Joellee Nguyen, manager at Sol Tan Co. in Kent, which is part of the Smart Tan Network organization. “In here it’s different because it is a controlled environment. There is no time limit when you are outside.”

According to the program’s Web site, the Smart Tanning program is based on a belief that moderate tanning, for individuals who can develop a tan, is the smartest way to maximize potential benefits and minimize potential risks of sun exposure.

Nguyen said he helps determine the skin type of clients and then decides how long they should spend in the tanning beds. Gradually increasing their exposure time will help prevent burns.

“We try to teach the new generation to avoid sunburns at all costs,” he said.

When the winter season comes along, Nguyen said more clients start tanning.

“Here in Ohio, people get the winter blues,” he said. “Our peak season is in March and April. People want to get a base tan before their vacations so they don’t get sunburned.”

Tiffany Boyle, junior general studies major, said she goes to a tanning salon two to three times a week during the winter months.

“I get really pale in the winter,” she said. “I want to try and keep a steady complexion.”

Boyle said she is aware of the risks of indoor tanning but isn’t very concerned. She said she doesn’t go as much as some people.

Sol Tan Co. does not offer sunless tanning options. Nguyen said they are an alternative for people who easily burn or want instant color.

According to the Ohio State Board of Cosmetology, tanning salons in Ohio must follow specific regulations such as displaying the salon’s permit, sanitizing all equipment used by patrons and posting warnings of the potential effects of radiation.

Nguyen said some states don’t require salons to provide protective eyewear for their clients, but Ohio does.

The tanning salon industry is worth $5 billion a year in the United States, according the Skin Cancer Foundation. The industry estimates that 28 million Americans tan indoors annually.

Contact health and medical reporter Kira Meixner at [email protected].