Bronze Better Than the Sun

The Diva Tanning Salon team, from left to right are Courtney, Carol, Brittany and Breanna.

Before leaving the house, a beach towel in one hand and a magazine in the other, most people breeze by the protective sunscreen on their way out the door, only to come back hours later with tomato-red cheeks and flaming skin.

For a healthy tan, baking underneath the sun’s harsh rays with no protection is not an advisable choice. Everyone can shield themselves from the harmful effects of the sun by minimizing midday sun exposure, wearing protective clothing including hats and sunglasses, applying sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) greater than 15 before going outdoors, and reapplying sunscreen every two hours. Of course, there is an easier solution for a St. Tropez look, and it’s available at any of Everett’s ubiquitous tanning salons. One hotspot is Diva Tanning Salon at 1885 Revere Beach Parkway in Everett.

The family-owned salon offers customers a relaxing and comfortable environment to obtain their desired golden look in a healthy way. They offer several types of tanning with four 12-minute beds with facials, three seven-minute capsules and a UV-free spray booth.

“Our family has been involved with indoor tanning for over 25 years. We have two other salons, Twin City Tan in Somerville and PlanetSun in Revere. Our goal is to provide our clients with a clean and friendly atmosphere. We work with our clients to establish a personal tanning regimen based on their skin type. We want our clients to tan not burn. With this regimen our clients look and feel great,” boasted employee and longtime Everett resident Brittany Squires.

The difference between tanning indoors versus outdoors is that the UV light hitting your skin is regulated in a booth, whereas outside, there is no measurement of regulation. And while some people believe any sun exposure at all is harmful, the Diva Tanning Salon family praised its benefits.

For instance, all exposure to UVB rays increases your body’s production of Vitamin D, which has been shown to decrease the risk of many types of cancers and Osteoporosis. Exposure to UVB light accounts for 90% of your Vitamin D level. Exposure to UVB has also been shown to increase the levels of endorphins produced in your body, creating a more balanced and happy mood, as well as increasing immune system strength. Furthermore, tanning is your body’s only natural defense against the sun. When you have a base tan, you are far less likely to be sunburned when spending time outdoors, claimed some of the tanning literature the salon provides.

And while some health officials tout that spray tans are a better alternative to tanning beds, the Boston Public Health Commission believes otherwise. The uncertain safety of one common active ingredient in sunless tanning products, including spray tans, is dihydroxyacetone or DHA, which has caused DNA mutations in cultured skin cells. And because DHA in spray tans can easily be inhaled, the FDA has not approved it for use as a spray. The Boston Public Health Commission, as part of a public education campaign, will begin checking salons offering DHA-based spray tans in and around Boston for the recommended equipment to better protect salon employees and clients.

In support of the Boston Public Health Commission’s campaign, a bill banning indoor tanning for children under sixteen years old has recently been introduced in Massachusetts, and a tax increase has been placed in tanning salons to deter regulars from going as much. But, like the old adage goes, bad habits are hard to break. “People are still tanning,” Squires said. “We have a lot of regulars.”

While one’s natural skin tone should be something to be proud of, a radiant glow has become a sign of wellness, leaving many on the quest for the deepest and darkest bake. And in this downward economy, people would rather fake it for $11 (the cost for a single session at Diva Tanning Salon) than spend hundreds for the real thing in an abrasively hot destination. No matter what route you take, whether it’s indoor tanning with the specialists at the successful Everett locale, or the heat source itself, you should always practice safe sun.

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