Day spas that offer professional spray-on tanning have a boast that Mother Nature does not.
The prestigious Mayo Clinic says the service is safe.
“Topical sunless tanning products are generally considered safe alternatives to sunbathing, as long as they’re used as directed,” according to an article on the Mayo Clinic website.
Sunless tanners give skin an attractive tanned look without exposing it to ultraviolet (UV) rays. The active ingredient in spray tans is called dihydroxyacetone (DHA).
DHA is non-toxic and the FDA added it to its list of approved cosmetic ingredients in the 1970s. Today it is considered the most effective and healthy sun-free tanning additive.
DHA reacts with dead cells in the outermost layer of skin to temporarily darken the skin’s appearance. The coloring doesn’t wash away but fades as the dead skin cells slough off a week or two later.
Planet Beach Contempo Spa, an international franchisor with more than 300 day spas, is succeeding with Mystic Tan, a specialized version of a spray tan. The space-age tanning booth looks a bit like a time capsule but won’t add years to the skin like the sun does. These sunless tanning booths are ultra-quick; customers get their tan in seconds.
They also are ultra-popular.
“More and more people are definitely realizing that sunless tanning is safe,” says Jim Jarrell, marketing and sales coordinator at MT Industries, the Ohio-based developer of Mystic Tan. “In the last four years we’ve grown 425 percent. Day spa owners are seeing a great return on investment. The technology has gotten extremely exact, and it’s also become quite affordable.”
For Contempo Spa franchisees, who charge monthly membership fees allowing customers to get as many tans as they like in a month, that means helping customers get a golden summer glow without baking to a crisp.
The franchise owners are glowing, too.
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