Ep 101 - Shining the Light on Sunless Tanning

esthetician spay tanning client

Sunless tanning is a billion-dollar industry and growing, and the treatment is a great opportunity for solo estheticians and spas to boost their bottom line. Many people realize that tanning beds can be dangerous and lead to cancer. So, is spray tanning a better option? In this episode Ella and Maggie discuss sunless tanning and its rise in the wellness industry.

ASCP Esty Talk with Maggie Staszcuk and Ella Cressman

Produced by Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) for licensed estheticians, ASCP Esty Talk is a weekly podcast hosted by Maggie Staszcuk and Ella Cressman. We see your passion, innovation, and hard work and are here to support you by providing a platform for networking, advocacy, camaraderie, and education. We aim to inspire you to ask the right questions, find your motivation, and give you the courage to have the professional skin care career you desire.


About Ella Cressman:

Ella Cressman is a licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, business owner, and absolute ingredient junkie! As an educator, she enjoys empowering other estheticians and industry professionals to understand skin care from an ingredient standpoint rather than a product-specific view.

She has spent many hours researching ingredients, understanding how and where they are sourced, as well as phytochemistry, histological access, and complementary compounds for intentional skin benefits. In addition to running a skin care practice, Cressman founded a comprehensive consulting group, the HHP Collective, and has consulted for several skin care lines, including several successful CBD brands.

Connect with Ella Cressman:

Website: www.ellacress.com

Website: www.hhpcollective.com


About Maggie Staszcuk:

Maggie has been a licensed esthetician since 2006 and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Stephens College. She has worked in the spa and med-spa industry, and served as an esthetics instructor and a director of education for one of the largest schools in Colorado before coming to ASCP as the Advanced Modality Specialist. 

Connect with Maggie Staszcuk:

P 800.789.0411 EXT 1636

MStaszcuk@ascpskincare.com or AMI@ascpskincare.com


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Founded by botanical visionary Danné Montague-King, DMK is the World Leader in Paramedical Skin Revision™. Our revolutionary concept of REMOVE. REBUILD. PROTECT. MAINTAIN.® aims to match an individual’s biochemistry with the appropriate skin therapy. DMK believes that the origin of most skin conditions is a result of disharmony within the skin. Using the principles of biochemistry, DMK has formulated a range of Enzymatic Treatments and Home Prescriptives that encourage the skin to return to its most balanced and healthy state. For skin care professionals whose business depends on generating long-lasting clinically-proven results, DMK’s education-first approach has become essential. Hundreds of salons, spas, and even industry experts have recognized the effectiveness of the DMK concept, witnessed by thousands of people worldwide whose lives have been changed forever.

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About Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP):

Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) is the nation’s largest association for skin care professionals and your ONLY all-inclusive source for professional liability insurance, education, community, and career support. For estheticians at every stage of the journey, ASCP is your essential partner. Get in touch with us today if you have any questions or would like to join and become an ASCP member.

Connect with ASCP:

Website: www.ascpskincare.com

Email: getconnected@ascpskincare.com

Phone: 800-789-0411

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0:00:00.5 Speaker 1: DMK is the world leader in paramedical skin revision education with certification programs designed to give licensed professionals a thorough understanding of the skin and an in-depth study of the DMK concept of remove, rebuild, protect, maintain, created by the botanical visionary Danne Montague-King, DMK offers skin revision training and education for all ages, skin conditions and ethnicities in more than 35 countries, harnessing the body's innate healing mechanisms to change the health of the skin. Learn more at dannemking.com, that's D-A-N-N-E-M-K-I-N-G.com. 


0:00:49.4 S1: You are listening to ASCP Esty Talk, where we share insider tips, industry resources and education for estheticians at every stage of the journey. Let's talk because ASCP knows. It's all about you. 


0:01:04.4 Maggie Staszcuk: Hello and welcome to ASCP Esty Talk. I'm your co-host, Maggie Staszcuk and ASCP's cosmetology education manager. 


0:01:14.3 Ella Cressman: And I am Ella Cressman licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, ingredient junky and content contributor for Associated Skin Care Professionals. 


0:01:21.4 MS: In today's episode of ASCP Esty Talk, we are discussing sunless tanning and its rise in the wellness industry... Now, the first sunless tanning product was called glory of the sun. You've heard of that Ella?  


0:01:33.9 EC: I haven't, but it sounds fantastic. [laughter] 


0:01:38.2 MS: It does. It does sound fantastic. It made its debut to the market in 1929, and it wasn't until the 1950s that the active ingredient, Dihydroxy-acetone or DHA, which I think we're all familiar with, if we've tanned before, was brought to the market and it's safely, and I say safely in quotations. Browns the outer layers of the epidermis and the browning of the skin is response to DHA, it's the same reaction that causes an apple to turn brown after being sliced, it was in 1998 when spray tans came to the market. This ushered in a new era, we saw all these brown celebrities walking the red carpet and media declared that tanning is in style. 


0:02:23.1 EC: Like the episode of friends with Ross. 


0:02:26.0 MS: Yeah totally. 


0:02:28.6 EC: Remember the booth where he is... Kept turning around and just kept getting the front side, but then his teeth were so white that's a... 


0:02:35.9 MS: The one with Ross in the spray tanning booth. I don't even know if that's the way that it goes, but I think that it really started to come into style because, of course, we've known for decades that skin cancer is associated with exposure to the sun, so "duh what?" In case you didn't know that. Here you go, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 90% of all skin cancers are a result of UV rays, ultraviolet rays, and 90% of all aging indicators, wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, the degradation of collagen and elastin, are a result of UV rays as well. So why do so many people continue to damage their skin intentionally when they know how dangerous sun exposure is? I think it's because we are conditioned to think that tan is pretty... 


0:03:25.4 EC: Yeah, we've been brainwashed. However, why are people also quick to ridicule those who overdo it?  


0:03:30.2 MS: I know, right? The golden looks. 


0:03:34.0 EC: Golden Looks. Yeah, Oompa Loompa. 


0:03:37.8 MS: Yeah, It's the sweet spot of not too tan, not enough tan just right. 


0:03:41.7 EC: Yeah, You want that golden kiss look?  


0:03:45.2 MS: Yeah, as if it's natural and not looking unnatural, like some orange people that we might know... And I've had that too, and it's my understanding that that orangy look is actually a quality issue. 


0:04:00.4 EC: Is that what it is?  


0:04:02.6 MS: That's what I've heard, Yeah. 


0:04:04.7 EC: I think that could be... I don't know, I think that as that product has evolved over the years, or at least you hear in marketing, it is becoming less orange, and I know you also see products that are combined with rethrilos, so you're combining more of the red tones with the orange tones and hopefully getting a more even brown. 


0:04:24.5 MS: Oh, color theory. [laughter] You're taking me back. 


0:04:30.2 EC: Yeah, so what is it that is causing that, and it's so interesting how wire spray tans or let's just call it fake tanning, artificial tans is more beneficial, and that is because regular tans or UV rays encourage melanocyte activity, they encourage the melanocytes into thinking that there's perceived damage. And melanin in the skin is actually an antioxidant, which I think is fascinating, the response is to come up like a sun shade and protect it. Where fake tanning, whether it's spray tan or a lotion encourages melanoidins, which is very hard to say. But let me break it down for you into how it works. Basically melanoidins are brown high molecular weight, heterogeneous polymers that are formed when sugars and amino acids combine, so in this case, DHA and the amino acids in the skin, and at high temperatures and low water activities, what happens is the maillard reaction and that's when you get that fo-glow, if you will. 


0:05:29.3 MS: So break that down for us a little bit. 'cause you just blew my mind. 


0:05:32.7 EC: Oh, sure. So basically, the reaction isn't this histological bottom to the top, protecting tan our melanin is really there to protect your inner organs, right. It's like a sun shade, like transitional lenses in your glasses, if you wear glasses when you go outside, they change from just clear to dark, this is what tan is on your body. In my case, really clear for my skin, to dark in the sun to protect what's underneath like the dark sun glasses protect your eyes. Where melanoidins are more surface, so it's just attaching to the stratum corneum and it's creating that oxidize... Like you was talking about the apple looks oxidized. That's the maillard reaction... It's very, very similar. So if you're nervous about going in the sun and wanna look tan, of course, this would be a safer option would be this, the fo... I think I'm gonna call it fo glow. I like it. Yeah, so many people realize that tanning beds can be dangerous and lead to cancer, so is spray tanning a better option?  


0:06:42.8 MS: So Ella has talked to us a little bit about DHA, it's the common active ingredient in spray tans, it's found naturally comes from sugar beets, sugar cane, it's also a glycerine derivative. DHA is sometimes also combined with Erythrulose, this is coming from red raspberries, so sometimes you hear that DHA, like I mentioned, is more of a orangy tone, Erythrulose is more of that red tone because of where it's naturally derived from, and both of these active ingredients, they react with the amino acids and the dead skin cells of the epidermis, and Ella was taking us through this and giving us melanoidins. [chuckle] am I saying that right?  


0:07:21.8 EC: Melanoidins, Yes. 


0:07:21.9 MS: Melanoidins. And giving us that illusion of a tan that gradually fades over time. So there's a lot of risks, however, that come with spray tanning, so we're gonna dive into those a little bit. 


0:07:35.2 EC: And we're talking about spray tanning versus just applying a lotion?  


0:07:38.7 MS: Yes. 


0:07:40.5 EC: Okay. 


0:07:42.1 MS: Yeah, our fo-glow. 


0:07:45.5 EC: So spray tans are not spray tans themselves, spray tans versus lotions are not currently FDA approved and they never have been. What has been approved, is DHA as Maggie was mentioned. But it's very interesting, so I have to tell the story about when I started spray tanning, 'cause I don't know that my circumstance is not unique, when I started spray tanning, I happened upon a machine, a spray tan machine and solution and I just continued purchasing. I created an account with a well-known reputable company for Spray tan solution, no training, it was available if I wanted it, but I was... "I don't really need. What's so hard, you put it in a thing and you're good to go." Technique is what I would have taken training classes for, but what I didn't understand, which is what I now know, is that there is some danger to spray tanning, especially with DHA, and that's why now reputable companies have suggested, strongly encourage that you have a few warnings in your spray tan booth or in your spray tan room. And why some PPE protective equipment for you is so important, especially if you're doing more than one a day. 


0:08:57.6 EC: I would go in to spray tan booth, or room, in my case, I call it the fun sun room, and I would spray away and I would come out with a rim around my nose. It was like dark product, even though I was wearing a mask. It would get up underneath there and never used eye protection, never put anything in my ears. I was yapping away the whole time talking, they were protected and that they had lotion on their feet, this is what I thought was protection right? But what happens is that maillard response is, it's unknown whether it's going to be... It's not gonna have the same response to mucous membranes as it would to the stratum corneum, so it's unknown how that response is gonna happen, so for that, the FDA said, "If you're going to spray tan, you must have eye protection to protect those mucous membranes. 


0:09:53.1 EC: Lip protection, even chapstick or some kind of a balm. Ear protection and nose filters, the industry has evolved since when I was doing it and before when I started, and now they have these nose filters, and I think that is an important consideration, especially if you're someone who's spraying all day. 


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0:10:57.8 MS: I think for all of us who have done spray tans as a technician, and especially when they first came out, I remember doing them all day long, you'd walk into the room after having finished your previous client and that mist was still hanging in the air, and you could smell it, you could feel it, you know, and same thing, like you're saying, you would wipe your nose and it'd be brown inside. 


0:11:21.6 EC: Absolutely, it was so unattractive because at first I didn't know, I didn't know. So I'd be walking my client out and yapping 'em up and they'd be like, wiping their nose and I'd be like, "Oh, you know, Do you need a tissue?" [laughter] One of my clients was like, "No, but you do." And I was like mortified, I had no idea 'cause I'm not looking in the mirror. As far as I know I look Fantastic, so from that day forward, I always made sure, but it was more of a vanity issue than a health issue sort of way. 


0:11:56.0 MS: So according to the Journal of Clinical dermatology, it's believed that roughly 11% of the application of DHA is absorbed into the live cells deeper in the epidermis as well as the dermis so while we think of DHA, that active ingredient affecting just the stratum corneum and oxidizing to create tan, it's now known that it is actually absorbed into the skin. 


0:12:18.2 EC: So something to become aware of especially when you're looking about... What else is in that formulation? So after DHA or Erythrulose application, the skin is also especially susceptible to UV radiation and more likely to sun burn, so you've heard it said whether you've gotten a spray tan or given spray tan, you're not protected the same way you are from melanocytes that are protecting you to somewhat, but it's not just that it's now you're waving a flag at the sun going, "niner niner, I'm bronze. And it wasn't from you." So just keep that in mind, and according to multiple studies, DHA has caused nearly two-fold of an increase in free radicals within one hour in subjects treated with DHA. 


0:13:07.0 MS: That's really interesting. 


0:13:10.7 EC: That is phenomenal. That's crazy. 


0:13:12.5 MS: In an Environmental Toxicology report from 2018, DHA was found to cause DNA damage as well as cell stress and death, and since DNA damage that can lead to cancer, there is concern about the health implications of these findings. 


0:13:28.6 EC: Ya know, this is something that was... We have a colleague, I don't know if you are aware of who she is, but she actually is fighting a very specific type of leukemia. So when she first began her battle with it, I think she... Because it's not a hereditary disease, it's definitely an environmental disease. So she has worked in the cosmetic industry for, I think she says 30 years, at least 25 years. So she's been around all these potential toxins. And she thinks... It was a post that she made one day and she was talking about spray tanning, she used to get spray tanning or spray tanned once a week. No nose filters, probably no eye protection, 'cause she didn't want the tan lines. So she said beware! She also talks about other things like fragrances and perfumes and other potential carcinogens, but... That's crazy. The other thing to consider is that spray tans may reduce the amount of vitamin D absorbed in the skin. And we know that is one permissible reason why we go in the sun in the first place. 


0:14:37.7 MS: Yeah, totally. So like all things in the sunless tanning industry, it's evolving, continues to be about achieving the most natural glow in a healthy way, if possible, taking into consideration the risks that we just went to, but there is a demand for clean smell, clean, feel clean performance. And also a trend towards natural formulas, and now we're seeing too some ingredients added to your spray tan that may, in theory, also benefit the skin. 


0:15:07.7 EC: Yeah, so the first one we're gonna look at is caffeine, and caffeine provides a firming, a real pick me up, if you will, to the skin. It provides a firming, slimming and detoxifying benefits. It should be said that so you might see this additive in spray tan, it should be said though that you need to be really careful as far as putting this over your entire body because there is some health risks with that like too much of a good thing. So be sure to ask questions if this is something you're considering. How much caffeine is in there, what else is in the formulation, and is it deemed safe. 


0:15:45.7 MS: Hyaluronic acid is another one we all know about hyaluronic acid, especially if you're living like we do in high altitude, dry weather. It's often referred to as the fountain of youth, perhaps I'm not sure, it helps firm the skin. Leaves it looking supple plump glowing. What hyaluronic acid does is pull moisture to the skin, especially beneficial if you're coupling it with other humectants. 


0:16:09.0 EC: Yeah, and especially in spray tan, because I feel like after I get a spray, my skin feels more dry. 


0:16:15.8 MS: Yeah, I would agree with that. 


0:16:16.9 EC: Metrix-el 3000, it reminds me of the OutKast, Metrix-el 3000 is the fourth member. This complex is made from two peptides, palmitoyl tripeptide and palmitoyl oligopeptide, and offers anti-aging and collagen boosting benefits as well as hydrating properties, so you can never go wrong with peptides in your formulation. 


0:16:40.7 MS: Ya, sweet orange, this is good at enhancing the glow on even the fairest skin tones. I'm not sure if that's entirely true, I think sweet orange is probably providing a scent. Same thing with caffeine, be careful on putting something like sweet orange over the entire body, it is a citrus, it could create some irritation. 


0:17:02.6 EC: Next up we have tomato. In addition to improving skin's color, this Carotenoid rich fruit also helps firm and detoxify the skin. This would depend on the type of tomato that is incorporated into the formulation. So again, ask questions, Is this an extract which happens to be fantastic for the skin, especially in antioxidant volume, or is this in like a powder that will change the actual color. 


0:17:31.0 MS: And then lastly, watermelon seed extracts. This helps nourish and firm the skin while potentially enhancing the tan. 


0:17:38.6 EC: Watermelon seed extract is fantastic for the skin. It's one of my top 1000 ingredients. 


0:17:44.0 MS: Oh wow, top 1000!  


0:17:45.9 EC: You know, I'm a huge ingredient junky, so. So there's a lot to unpack there. So that's a huge compliment. I think we should have to point out that again, we're talking about spray tanning, we're not talking about topical lotions. 


0:18:00.0 MS: So given all of the risks that we just went through, this still is a huge billion dollar industry and climbing. And just a couple of stats in 2014, it was estimated at 775 million in the US. By 2017, it was just above one billion, and in a recent report, it was found the demand for self-tanning products continues to grow as companies are continuing to enhance their formulas and perhaps with some of these new key ingredients that we just went through. 


0:18:35.4 EC: Yeah, I think spray tanning is potentially a really great opportunity, especially if you're doing it safely, it's a great opportunity to boost your bottom line, and it's not going anywhere... The trend is here to stay, until I guess pale becomes back in fashion, which I've been hoping for, but we'll see... Actually, that's not true... I think naturally, I'm pale, but I like the feeling I feel when I'm tan. But again it is not going anywhere, it's a short service of about 15 minutes really, maybe 30 by the time they undress and dress again, and you can charge 75 dollars and more. And your cost of service is around 1 or 2 dollars, if you think about it before, of course, your overhead, so it does have quite a return on investment, so definitely something to think of as long as you're doing it safely. 


0:19:26.4 EC: Something to add too is to... When you're looking at, if it's a service you're either currently providing or looking to add, make sure you are using a really good company, because there's a lot of companies out there, and definitely there are some that are superior... As you've heard my story, I was working with a company who had a great name, but inferior customer service, if you will, so I was out there just tanning away with brown nostrils, who knows what kind of damage I was causing... Was it good? I got there. But it doesn't mean that I was doing it safely. So make sure you're working with a really good company. 


0:20:03.3 MS: Yeah, I would agree. And like with all things, know your ingredients, know what you're misting on your clients and inhaling. 


0:20:10.6 EC: I'll leave you all the good stuff. 


0:20:16.0 MS: Now, listeners, we wanna hear from you, what are your thoughts on the safety of spray tanning, share with us on social media by commenting on our Instagram or Facebook posts or by emailing get connected at ascpskincare.com. Thank you for listening to ASCP Esty Talk, and for more information on this episode or for ways to connect with Ella and myself or to learn more about ASCP, check out the show notes. 


0:20:40.0 S1: Thanks for joining us today. If you like what you hear and you want more subscribe, if you wanna belong to the only all-inclusive Association for estheticians that includes professional liability insurance, education, industry insights, and an opportunity to spotlight your sick skills, join at ascpskincare.com, only 259 per year for all this goodness. ASCP knows, it's all about you.Page Break 


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