High Pressure Tanning vs Low Pressure Tanning
High Pressure Tanning derives simply from the fact that the lamps used
in this type of equipment are manufactured to produce an
internal pressure that is somewhat higher than the
internal pressure of conventional “low pressure”
Even so, this internal pressure for the high pressure lamps is just a little
above nor-mal atmospheric pressure, while the
conventional low pressure tube like lamps are a little
below atmospheric pressure.
For years, when it came to high-pressure tanning, there were only two sides:
Either you were all for it and believed it provided a
deeper, darker tan that lasted longer; or you strictly
were against it believing that high-pressure tanning
was detrimental to the skin. There was no middle ground.
The line in the sand that salon owners had drawn has dulled
throughout the years.
Today, you might be interested in high-pressure tanning, but unwilling to jump
in head-first until some of your questions are
answered. Questions such as: "Will high-pressure
tanning increase my profitability? Will my clients pay the higher prices
associated with these types of units? What is the most
current information about high-pressure tanning?
Here is my understanding about the effectiveness of high pressure tanning,
derived from my research on the web, discussions with
experts and my observations in our own Salon which has
both types of equipment from several different manufacturers.
First, the higher the frequency of the rays (the lower the wavelength), the
easier it is for them to penetrate the skin.
This seems to make sense because as the frequency is increased up to X-rays for
instance, there is almost no opposition to the rays.
UVC rays have the highest frequency, with a wavelength of
less than 290 nm, and no tanning devices use these
dangerous rays. UVB is the next highest frequency range at 290 to 320 nm,
followed by the lowest frequency tanning rays, UVA at
320 to 400 nm.
Effective low pressure systems, because of the relatively low power of low
pressure lamps (typically up to 160 Watts each), use a
higher percentage of UVB rays (up to 9%) than high pressure systems. The higher
values of UVB do initially cause the body to produce
more melanin for a good tan, but the skin’s defense mechanism causes the skin to
thicken to provide protection from the UVB. Also, the damaged
skin exfoliates so the tanned look quickly disappears.
For these two reasons, to maintain a tan on a low pressure system requires that
you tan often, perhaps as much as 3 times a week or
more. High pressure tanning uses lamps of much higher
power (up to 2,500 Watts each) and a very low
percentage of UVB (less than 1%). The theory is that
with little or no damage to the skin caused by high
UVB exposure, it is easier for the gentler UVA rays to
provide a healthy looking tan in as little as three 15 minute
sessions. And with no protective thickening of the skin and
no exfoliation, this tan can last for two weeks or
more. Some manufacturers go even further with this
theory in that their systems filter out not only most
of the UVB rays, but also the higher frequency rays in
the UVA spectrum.
So from your Client’s point of view, although the high pressure
tanning sessions are more expensive, they are provided with a
cool, comfortable tan, with less probability of skin
damage and at a lower overall cost to maintain a year
round tan. And from the Salon’s profitability perspective,
high pressure tanning systems make good sense. Highly
satisfied clients with fast and long lasting results
and upwards of $35 per half hour session. And it is not unusual for your low
pressure clients to switch to high pressure sessions
if they happen to see someone coming out of your High Pressure room with a
really nice tan after just one session.