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January 20, 2011 | 12:00 a.m. CST
As the weather gets colder, the pools close, and skin gets pale. But there’s still a chance for everyone to get their GTL (gym, tan and laundry) on without a sunburn or tanning-bed visits. Lauren Schwarz works to get those who are always DTT (down to tan) safely bronzed.
How did you get into personal tanning?
When I was young, I used to tan in the tanning bed, and I started developing moles. Then I started to spray tan, but I didn’t like the outcome of the tan. Soon after, I learned about airbrushing and started to do it to myself and then to other people all while promoting safety.
How does getting an airbrush tan work?
We use an all-natural proprietary solution with the active ingredient being DHA (dihydroxyacetone). Our solution is custom airbrushed to each client’s body where the DHA works with the amino acids on the top layers of the skin to cause a browning effect.
This is quite different than a booth spray tan because each tan is customized to the person’s body contours, curves and muscles. The tan looks very natural around those areas, which normally scream “fake tan” with a booth tan.
Name: Lauren Schwarz
At Job Since: 2009
Job location: Mobile service
Is it possible to get a tan from the sun while having a spray tan?
Absolutely. However, tanning beds and the sun are just as harmful. We still recommend sunscreen to our clients.
Why do you think people should sunless tan?
People, and primarily females, who use tanning beds before the age of 30 have a 75 percent chance of developing melanoma, which can lead to skin cancer. UV rays aren’t accessing your skin, so you’re decreasing your chances of skin cancer, and you’re receiving a tan in a safe and healthy way.
How long does a tan typically last?
The $20-35 spray tan lasts a good six to seven days, but many hold their tan as long as 10 days with good skin moisturizing. Shea butter moisturizers are great, and using a moisturizing lotion with a small percent of DHA assists with the longevity of the tan.
What should clients wear while receiving a tan?
What clients wear is up to them. Females may wear only undergarments or bottoms. Men are required to wear swim attire or bottoms.
Do you airbrush abs and muscles?
We don’t literally airbrush abs. It’s called contouring. We can contour and help exaggerate a muscle. The most common muscles contoured are the stomach muscles. We turn the gun down and perform shading to accentuate the existing muscles.
How do you tan people of different shades?
We have solutions that are used on very fair-skinned people as well as naturally dark skin tones to help even out skin tones. Many times based upon what the client tells me during their quick consultation prior to their tan, we put a darker color on their body and a nonbronzer solution on their face.
Have you ever gotten a request to only tan a portion of the body?
I get the requests to only do legs, arms, neck and face quite a bit. Many aren’t concerned with the midsection if they are not going to expose it.
How does the spray tan affect tattoos?
The tan does not discolor tattoos. A tattoo will act the same way it would if it had been exposed to UVA or UVB rays.
Why did you choose a mobile business?
People are more comfortable in the privacy of their own home as opposed to coming to a tanning booth. I’ve even airbrushed someone in her office. But most times we are able to find a private setting to allow clients to be comfortable.
What is the goal for your business?
The goal is to offer it in areas where the most education is needed — anywhere we can get in front of people between the ages of 16-25, colleges, Greek members and high school students.
Ultimately I’ll be duplicating this footprint nationwide and educating clients on the safe alternative to a natural-looking tan — the spray tan.