Traffic increases during prom season but, locally, many adults tan, too

    Indoor tanning is quite popular this time of year. Prom is coming up and teens want that bronzed glow to go along with their expensive dresses and suits. Many kids, ages 16-18, try indoor tanning for the first time with or without their parent's consent.    

    Because there aren't a lot of regulations with the state of Minnesota yet, Ray Pierce of Tanning Ray's wants to make sure everyone who tans at his establishment get an education about the safety precautions that go along with indoor tanning.   

    "If you're a first time tanner, we like to go through the basics before you begin," said Pierce. "When someone is younger than 16, we ask that a parent comes along to give permission and we'll walk them through the start-up process."    

    When you first come into Tanning Ray's, Pierce and his staff gather basic information and then ask a few questions about why you are there.    

    "We want to know why you are going to start tanning," said Pierce. "Have you ever tanned before? Is there a special occasion you're tanning for? Are you doing it to improve your skin quality? After we get that information, we start you off small with minimal exposure and will evaluate each visit to keep you safe while getting the results you want."    

    Pierce and his employees recommend that everyone use the provided tanning safety goggles and keep their skin moisturized. He sells many different types of tanning lotions and enhancers at a discount price. Tanning Rays also keeps a close eye on the tanning bed bulbs, changing them when they get to only 25 percent usage.  

    "There is a half life in a tanning bed bulb and they should be closely metered," said Pierce. "A lot of places don't change them out as often as I do, but I want to make sure my customers get a proper even tan."    

    All the employees at Tanning Ray's are certified by the International Smart Tan Network and Pierce, himself, is a Smart Tan ambassador. He has posters, brochures, magazines and fliers that contain information on safe tanning and the benefits of being a responsible tanner.    

    "While most people know that tanning helps tone the skin, most people don't know it can generate Vitamin D," explains Pierce. "When a person is exposed to the sun or a sun bed, it lightens their spirits and lowers their risk of getting S.A.D. or seasonal affective disorder."    

    Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. Mayo Clinic says, if you're like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, draining your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, S.A.D. affects people in the spring or summer.
Red light beds   

    An alternative to tanning with an Ultraviolet tanning bed, is the collagen rejuvenation process or the Red Light beds. According to Tanning Rays website, red light is a safe, all natural process that encourages your body to naturally increase blood circulation to the skin, regenerating and stimulating cells which create collagen and elastin, resulting in a more youthful appearance.    

    Initial results within the first month include reduction of fine lines, smoother skin, pigmentation evens out and blemishes or acne start to fade. Over time, detoxification of the skin is achieved and small blood vessels strengthen. It will help restore and firm up tired-looking skin. Red light therapy will also help decrease wrinkles, stretch marks, age spots and minimize the size of facial pores.  

Sisterly tanning   

    Crookston High School students Amber and Leah Trostad are tanners who frequent Tanning Rays salon. Amber, a senior, has been tanning for prom and her sister Leah, a sophomore, wants to improve her color.    

    "We have only been to Tanning Rays because that's where our mom, Tina, goes and we like it there," said Amber. "He's really good to us and always asks how we are doing with our tans."   

    When the Trostad girls were asked about possible legislation banning tanning beds to kids under the age of 18, they didn't hesitate with an answer.    

    "There are kids that abuse tanning beds and go too much or don't watch what they're doing," answers Amber. "I think if you're under 16, it shouldn't be allowed. When you're over that age, you are more responsible for yourself and can find your limit."
Tanning for a vacation   

    Public Works Director Pat Kelly just recently returned from a two week vacation in Mexico and he went tanning before he left.    

    "I go to Mexico almost every year and I tan a month before I go to prepare my skin for the full sun," said Kelly.    

    When asked what he thought about a possible bill banning tanning for kids under age 18, he said he would be "inclined to have something passed for kids under 16, but there has to be some sort of personal responsibility."   

    "Parents have to be involved too and have a say in what their kids do," added Kelly. "I think it's good if you have the tanning salon operator set you up on a program and monitor how you are doing as time passes. There are no guarantees on anything as far as safety and the American Society of Dermatology is not a fan of it, but you have to know how to approach it. Make yourself aware of the risk."