Upcoming spring break brings salons a new wave of tanners

Story by Kyle Cummings, NewsNetNebraska

With snow on the ground and freezing temperatures, it may seem odd to see  some college students looking as tan as ever.

But with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s spring break starting next week, many students have been been caching rays at local tanning salons in preparation for their trips to tropical locales.

Michelle Grubbs, owner of Max Tan in Lincoln, said she has definitely seen an increase of recent student customers.

“Year round it’s more of the 18 to 35 demographic and maybe a little higher around 34 to 40,” she said. “This time of year, we certainly see more 17, 18 to 21-year-olds.”

Twenty one-year-old senior Tori Fry falls directly into that demographic.

Fry, who plans to spend spring break in Panama City Beach next week, has been visiting Ashley Lynn’s Tanning three or four times a week for the past month, thanks to a promotional membership she found.

“I burn really easy,” she said. “I’m a red head, so I didn’t want to burn while I was down there and ruin my trip by getting blisters or anything like that. The second reason was to not look like a ghost in pictures.”

While Fry has tanned before, this is her first year soaking in the bulbs specifically for spring break.

But pre-trip salon tanning is not just a female trend. Sophomores Derek Goll and Tanner Andersen have been tanning for almost a month now in preparation for their spring break trip, which also is to Panama City Beach.

“There are more guys that do it than you would think,” Goll said.

This is Goll’s second year tanning before spring break; he also tanned last year for a trip to South Padre Island. His motivation is very much like Fry’s.

“I mainly did it so I didn’t get fried the first couple of days,” he said. “It was a let’s try it and see what it’s like kind of deal.”

It worked for him too, Goll said. For the week that he was at South Padre Island last year, he never burned once. His roommate, who likes to poke fun at Goll’s use of tanning beds, was not as lucky.

“I gave him crap when he was red after the first day,” Goll said of his roommate.

Andersen, on the other hand, is trying salon tanning for the first time this year. He found a promotional deal to Anytime Fitness and decided to try it out because it was free.

Andersen has been in the tanning salon three times a week for almost a month, he said.

Andersen, Goll and Fry said they will stop the salon tanning practice once spring break arrives.

“I will cancel my membership this Thursday,” Fry said.

Those type of cancellations don’t bother Grubbs, she said, because the spring break tanners aren’t her main money-makers.

“This is just the build-up,” Grubbs said. “They’re not the bread and butter of our business; those who tan year round are.”

The concern with students tanning before trips is the safety of their skin. Grubbs said she doesn’t allow any tanner, regardless of age, to tan too frequently or on too high of a setting.

“They’re pretty closely monitored and we educate all our tanners,” she said. “You can only tan once a day. Education is key.

“We tell our tanners, just because you have a base tan, doesn’t mean you don’t wear SPF when you’re out on South Padre or Panama Beach. You still need to be careful.”


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