The increased popularity of spray tans has made getting an instant glow as easy as getting a pedicure. Tanning salons in Westchester County offer both automatic booths and airbrush tans applied by a technician with a pressurized spray gun. So-called “sunless” tans are not only quicker than tanning beds or baking by the pool, they’re a whole lot safer than UV-produced tans.
“We have concrete evidence that tanning-salon use increases your risk of melanoma by seventy-five percent,” says Brent Wainwright, MD, who practices in Cross River and is an assistant professor of dermatology at NYU. “Melanoma is the number-one cause of cancer death of women in their twenties. Unless it’s caught early, there is no cure.”
“Spray tanning is safe, especially compared to the dangers of UV tanning beds,” agrees Jessica Krant, MD, of Dermatology Consultants of Westchester in Scarsdale. “Dihydroxyacetone, the main ingredient that causes the tan color, has been proven safe over many years.”
Commonly known as DHA, it is not a dye but a natural sugar that interacts with the amino acids in the top layer of skin, darkening it temporarily, much the way an apple slice turns brown when exposed to oxygen. (It is also the active ingredient in self-applied tanners.) Spray-tan solutions are primarily purified water, with about 10 percent DHA and other ingredients such as essential oils, preservatives, and a bronzing agent that provides the instant color until the DHA can begin to work, usually within four hours.
Avoid swimming or showering for at least three hours after application, so the DHA has time to work. Staying power can depend on the application technique. According to Beach Bum Tanning in Bedford Hills, the $55 full-body airbrush tan lasts seven to 10 days, while a $25 booth session lasts up to five days.
While allergic reactions to spray-tan solutions are possible, they’re rare. David Bank, MD, director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, can “count on one hand” the number of patients he’s seen with spray-tan-induced dermatitis. “Ask for a test spot if you’re worried,” he advises, “and give it a couple of days to see if you react.”
Dr. Krant recommends saving the spray tan for a special occasion—wedding, prom, that big Fourth of July pool party—since “allergies tend to develop with repeated exposures.” While DHA is FDA-approved for external use, “that does not mean these chemicals are not irritants that could cause damage over time in the lungs. Eyes should be closed, and make a strong effort not to breathe in the spray.”
Also, she warns, spray tans offer no protection against UV rays. “Even though you look tan, your cells are not actually tan. Always remember to wear an effective amount of sunscreen.”
Where to Glow
50 Livingstone Ave, Dobbs Ferry (914) 409-1900
Lasts up to 10 days; Price: $35 for half body, $60 for full body ($50 from 3-5 pm Wednesdays through Fridays)
Devra Bader Skin Care & Beauty Spa
38 Garth Rd, 2nd fl, Scarsdale (914) 725-1158
Lasts from four to seven days; Price: $45 for full body (buy a package of three, get one free)
Najia’s Esthetic Skin and Laser Center
157 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck (914) 630-1118
Lasts from seven days; Price: $45 for full body
New Medi-Spa in Bedford Hills
Recently opened Bellava MedAesthetics & Spa offers both soothing spa services (how’s a caviar-and-pearl facial or a Moor mud body wrap sound?) along with laser liposuction, hair removal, and skin resurfacing; Botox injections; and dermal fillers. Heading up the medical team is board-certified plastic surgeon James R. Lyons, a former clinical instructor at Yale University with more than 30 years of experience in cosmetic medicine. Bellava’s spacious, 3,000-square-foot setting is a blend of calm and cool with furnishings by Jonathan Adler, Eames, and Phillipe Starck. Bellava also carries Obagi and Revaleskin skincare lines and Edward Bess makeup. Visit the website for opening specials that will run through October.
Bellava MedAesthetics & Spa
182 Rte 117 Bypass Rd, Bedford Hills
(914) 864-2140; bellavaspa.com
Numi Comes to Rye
Best of Westchester-winning salon Numi & Company (69 Harney Rd, Scarsdale, 914-574-6402, numihair.com) is adding a second location in Rye at 99 Purchase Street. Construction has started and the salon is planning a January 2012 opening. We’ll keep you posted.
A Girl’s Best Friend
Green beauty company g2 Organics, founded by Marie Elena Lamari of Yonkers and Cherie Corso of Pelham, has added a new moisturizer to its roster of eco-friendly and non-toxic beauty products. D2 Diamond Detoxifying Moisturizing Cream contains actual diamond dust, reputed to have healing qualities, along with lemongrass extract for a fresh and invigorating scent. It does not contain parabens, phothlates, petrolatum, or lanolin and has not been tested on animals. Even better, a portion of all sales goes towards cancer research; $67 for an 8-ounce bottle at g2organics.com and Nicholas Day Spa and Salon (203 Wolfs Ln, Pelham 914-738-3838; nicholasdayspa.com).