Tanning in British Columbia is an absolute must! It rains so often here that we seek alternatives to the natural sunshine. Look no further than Cocoa Tanning! We have locations in Gastown, Yaletown and Brentwood (Previously Sun Lounge Tanning Studio) and are here to help you reach your tanning goals- whatever they may be. Discuss your tanning needs with one of our professionally trained and Smart Tan certified team members or stop in to see one of our locations.
Selecting the right bed and lotion will go a long way in maintaining a healthy, long lasting tan and that is because each bed and lotion are unique!
Please allow 24 hours between sessions in order to let your skin heal following exposure to UV light. As we learn more about how to properly expose our skin to UV light, we will always share with you. We now understand that tanning twice within 24 hours bring no benefit to your tan. Your skin is like a full glass of water during this time, no more tan can be absorbed.
SMART TAN CERTIFIED
At Cocoa Tanning we carry a range of high end UV tanning beds and stand-up booths so you have a variety of equipment to choose from. In order to properly utilize the UV equipment it is essential to follow the guidance of our Smart Tan Certified team so we can ensure your best experience. We are continuously learning about how to expose the skin to UV light and as more science and studies become available we are better educated in our guidance. The sun tanning industry is forever evolving and we look forward to bringing you the most update to date education to help you reach your tanning goals.
For those looking for Vitamin D production, a skin concern or are prepping for a base tan we would recommend our Level 1 beds paired with a hypoallergenic and fragrance free lotion. However if you are hoping to get colour before a special event or are having photographs taken we would recommend a combination of levels depending on how much time you have as well as a lotion with a high amount of bronzer so you get darker faster.
In order to save time and money we recommend using tanning lotions to decrease the amount of UV exposure and increase the results from your time in a tanning booth. A tanning lotion kick starts your melanocytes to produce melanin and we use the sun beds to brown that melanin. The amount of melanin boosters range per tanning lotion which is why results and prices vary between lotions.
Some of the loudest complaints about indoor tanning is dry and flaking skin. Tanning lotion not only increases how quickly you tan but also replaces the nutrients that your skin loses during a UV session. Our studios offer complimentary alkaline water, to enjoy before and after your session. This is another trick to keep your skin hydrated. Picking a low exposure time paired with a tanning lotion is how we recommend exposing your skin to UV light.
Cocoa carries a carefully selected line of face and body lotions by the world’s most recognized lotion brands: Australian Gold, California Tan, Designer Skin, and Swedish Beauty. We offer tanning lotions in cream, gel, or dry oil bases.
Visit our Yaletown, Gastown and Brentwood Studio pages for details about equipment and locations.
Check out our Benefits & Tips page for more information about Spray Tanning, Infrared Sauna, and Teeth Whitening!
HOW DOES UV TANNING WORK?
Sun exposure is natural, and it works the same whether you tan outdoors or in a salon. The advantage of using sunbeds is having complete operator control over the intensity and duration of a session, which results in minimal risk of an uneven tan or a sunburn.
Tanning takes place in the skin’s outer layer: the epidermis. About 5% of the cells in your epidermis are special cells called melanocytes. When exposed to UVB light, melanocytes produce pinkish colored melanin that is absorbed by other skin cells and when exposed to UVA light, the melanin darkens. This darkening is your skin’s natural way of protecting itself from sunburn. By utilizing a tanning lotion we are able to increase the melananin production allowing you to tan faster and therefore bring down your UV exposure time while maintaining the same results.
IS IT THE SAME AS THE SUN?
When it comes to UV light, both summer sunlight and most sunbeds produce pretty much the same kind and mix of sunlight: about 95% UVA, and 5% UVB. The difference is that most sunbeds are 2-4 times more intense than summer sunlight. That’s the reason you only stay in a sunbed a few minutes.
Condensing hours of sunlight into just a couple minutes can be scary to think about. That’s why it’s important to tan at a studio that is Smart Tan Certified. As a rule of thumb use this equation for choose an exposure time.
Use the max exposure level in the tanning bed, pick the halfway point, and from there, go down if you are less tolerant to the sun, up if you are more tolerant, or you can start at the half way point.
For example, if the max exposure time of a tanning booth is 9 mins, the half way point is approx 4 or 5 mins. If you are sun sensitive choose 2 or 3 mins (or a weaker tanning booth), choose 4 minutes if you haven’t had a major sunburn before (peeled from a burn) or 6 minutes if you are tolerant of sun (never burned even in other countries). We never suggest starting at the max of a tanning bed. If in doubt, choose the lower tan time and always exit a tanning bed/booth if you feel any tingling or tightening of the skin.
SMART TAN CERTIFIED
At Cocoa Tanning, we appreciate the benefits of tanning, but it MUST be done properly. Because of that, our salons and our staff are Smart Tan Certified. Tanning improperly misses all the best things about tanning. Even though tanning low and slow doesn’t always show a drastic change in skin color, it is starting the tanning process while maintaining the integrity of your skin.
Visit Smart Tan to find out more on how UV Tanning works and how you can Tan Smartly and get the best results.
WHY IS TANNING LOTION IMPORTANT?
We work with condensed sunlight and know that it creates a harsh environment. We use tanning lotion to decrease exposure time and increase results while maintaining the integrity of the skin. As we have learned more about sun safety we know that if we can get the same results with less exposure time that is our goal. When using a tanning lotion we are able to take between three and five minutes off of a tan time and get the same results. We want you in the tanning bed/booth for the least time possible to get you your desired results. Using a tanning lotion not only helps us reach this goal but it helps keep your skin hydrated following your tan. We want your skin to plump, juicy and tanned rather than tanned and dry.
DO I NEED AN APPOINTMENT?
UV tanning is on a walk in basis. There is no need for an appointment.
LAST TAN TIME IS 15 MINS BEFORE CLOSING
This means we lock our doors 15 mins before our posted closing time. When popping into the studio for a late night tan make sure to give yourself enough time to sign up (if new), get settled into the tanning bed, tan and redress and exit by closing time.
We are not able to take walk in tanners past Last Tan and must adjust tan times to allow for coming and going before close. If you love a 20 minute tan make sure to come by long before last tan to enjoy your full session.
DO I NEED EYEWEAR?
UV rays emitted from a sunbed can cause damage to your eyes. The example we love is “have you ever put a flash light up to your hand and had the light come out the other side? Well the tanning lamps are WAY stronger than a flash light and your eye lids thinner than your hand.”
The damage caused to your eyes from UV light is gradual and cummulative. You won’t always notice it right away but over time it causes significant damage. Here at Cocoa Tanning, we care about the health of your eyes and therefore do not permit tanning without approved indoor tanning eye protection.
HOW OLD DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO UV TAN?
The minimum age to UV tan is 18 years old unless you have a note from your doctor. Unfortunately parental consent is not sufficient for UV tanning.
WHY IS IT 24 HOURS BETWEEN EACH TAN?
We require 24 hours between each tan. This is because your skin goes through a healing process after it is exposed to UV light. This healing process takes 24 – 48 hours. If you tan within this time frame then the tanning process is interrupted and the results from your previous session halted. Because your skin is still in a healing process there can be no further color production. Think of your skin as a full glass of water, no more water can go in within 24 hours.
When you tan twice within 24 hours it causes over exposure with no added benefit. Give your skin time to heal and maintain moisture. Are you a grape or a raisen?
CAN I USE MY OWN LOTION/OIL IN THE TANNING EQUIPMENT?
Only permitted indoor tanning lotion can make contact with the equipment. Products not made specifically for condensed sunlight, break down under the UV light. This process ruins our acrylics, and damages the skin. This is why we ask to see the lotion people are using if we are not storing it or we have not previously checked it.
The damage caused to the acrylics appear as scratches on the area where you lay down. Eventually we must replace the acrylic which is an extremely high cost. Aside from the cost to our business you can visually see the lotion breaking down plastic, imagine what it is doing to your skin.
Please refrain from using any products that you have purchased at the drug store or a makeup store. Your choices are indoor tanning lotion or no lotion (not recommended).
WILL YOU STORE MY LOTION AND EYEWEAR?
Absolutely! This is a service we love to offer! We will label your lotion and eyewear and store them behind the desk. This makes it easier to use your desired products during your tan!
We are only able to store lotions that have been purchased at a Cocoa Tanning Studio and for one year past the date of your last tan with us. We do not store expired product (2+ years). We will always phone when reviewing dates on stored products however if the number is not in service or incorrectly input we are not held liable for the disposed product.
HOW LONG UNTIL THE TANNING BED STARTS?
You have unlimited time to prepare for your tan. The bed or booth will not start until you press the START button. Sometimes clients utilize many products for their tan and we need to ensure they have adequate time to prepare and use the bathroom if necessary.
BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
Call, email, message us on Instagram, or book online!
1165 PACIFIC BLVD.
GASTOWN STUDIO (INSIDE TINSELTOWN MALL)
1065 – 88 PENDER ST. W.
International Village Mall, Tinseltown
BRENTWOOD STUDIO (PREVIOUSLY SUN LOUNGE TANNING STUDIO)
4158 DAWSON ST.