Monday, May 16, 2011
Jamie Tedder, owner of JaMazin Mobile Tanning, applies a spray to Melissa Messer's legs from inside a tanning tent, which she can set up in any client's backyard or garage. Memphis' mobile spray-tan business has taken off in the last three years.
Jamie Tedder always longed for a dark caramel tan.
As a redhead with a fair complexion, however, sunbathing was more likely to make her look like a beet than a bronzed goddess.
But these days, the DeSoto County resident always looks like she has been on vacation, thanks to her handy gun that releases a fine mist of sunless spray tanner.
"A month of tanning in a tanning bed will get you the same color," said Tedder, who runs her own mobile tanning business.
The mural-painter-turned-spray-tan-artist launched JaMazin Mobile Tanning three years ago and travels across Memphis and DeSoto County airbrushing her clients in the privacy of their homes.
The mobile spray tan business has taken off in the last three years around Memphis. Where there was only one, there are now half a dozen.
Many health professionals are touting the sugar-based tanning solution as a great alternative to sunbathing and tanning beds.
This time of year, Dr. Robert Skinner, chief of dermatology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, gets a slew of patients asking him about spray tans.
"It's a good thing in that it keeps some people from going and laying out to get tan," he said.
Inside a shower-sized pop-up tent, Tedder sprays people in bathing suits or au naturel.
It takes less than 10 minutes for her to tan someone from head to toe and another 15 for the solution to dry.
And with 35 to 65 clients a week, she stays busy.
"People joke, 'Can you give me abs?' and I say, 'Yeah, I can,' " said Tedder, who also does shading to give people the appearance of defined muscle tone.
"It takes 5 to 10 pounds off of you visually," she said.
Running $35 to $55 per tanning session, her clients include brides-to-be, girls prepping for prom, body builders and a slew of high- profile Memphians.
She has even sprayed some of the tiny beauty pageant contestants for the show "Toddlers & Tiaras."
Spray-tan artists say their personalized services are nothing like the one-tan-fits-all spray booths found at tanning salons.
"The younger girls want a dark tan and the older women want a more natural look," said Jenny Price, owner of The Mobile Tannery.
Price mixes her own solutions to complement her clients' skin tones.
The Downtown resident started the business after a recent divorce pushed her to become financially independent.
But Price was also drawn to sunless tanning because she lost her father to skin cancer and her mother is a breast cancer survivor, she said.
"I can stand behind this," Price said.
The active ingredient in most sunless tanning sprays is dihydroxyacetone, known as DHA.
Derived from sugar, the DHA solution clings to the amino acids in dead skin cells and browns the skin similar to what happens to a half-eaten apple left out.
As dead skin cells slough off, the color gradually fades in seven to 10 days.
The American Academy of Dermatology doesn't take a position on self-tanning sprays, but in 2000, the academy praised it as a promising alternative to the damaging ultraviolet radiation of tanning beds.
The risks of ingesting DHA are not known and health care professionals say to close your eyes and hold your breath while the tanner is applied.
What's important for people to know, says Dr. Skinner, is that spray-tan solution does not protect from ultraviolet rays from the sun, and people still need to use sunscreen.
In a short time, spray tans have come a long way, Tedder says.
There's no funky smell, she said, and people don't have to worry about looking like an orange Snooki, from the reality show "Jersey Shore."
"If they have that look like they just got back from vacation, you know it's a good one," she said.
For the best fake tan, she suggests thoroughly exfoliating beforehand and being sprayed two or three days before your event.
Recently, Tanner swung by one of her client's homes and popped up a spray tent in the kitchen, while a young girl went to slip into a tank top and a bikini bottom.
"Everybody has a little bit of shyness," said Tanner, who tries to make people comfortable about baring their imperfections.
"I say 'Don't worry about it.' I love making people feel good about themselves," she said.
Every year, more than 3.5 million nonmelanoma skin cancers are diagnosed over two million people in the US. Don’t be a statistic — this May, make these Prevention Guidelines a new and healthy habit.