The machines that created the indoor tanning industry came from Germany and were actually apart of medical research in the 1900's. The first tanning lamp was created in 1906 by a company, Heraeus. This lamp was designed to help patients that suffered from disorders such as rickets (Cool Nurse). This helped patients to acquire stronger bones through larger exposure to vitamin D, produced by sunlight.
Later on in the 1970's, German scientist Friedrich Wolff decided to make a study about athletes and how they benefit from sunlight, he did this by using artificially produced UV light. However, how the athletes were affected by the light did not end up being his focus point. He became more focused on the sun tan that they all had accumulated. Tanned skin at the time was becoming more and more of a fashion statement, and Wolff used this to his advantage in creating the first indoor tanning beds (Cool Nurse). Little did Wolff know that he had created a new industry.
There French celebrity that can be said to have made the change from pale to bronze skin popular is Coco Chanel. Coco Chanel helped change the fashion world in the 1920's by taking part in freeing women from their confining clothing. She also created another trend. While vacationing on the Duke of Westminster's yacht in Paris, she unknowingly arrived home with a suntan (Sikes 6). Attempting to imitate their idols, women around Europe could be found on beaches trying to achieve the perfect glow. As Ruth J. Sikes states in her Journal of Aesthetic Science "[t]he suntan had arrived...as the symbol of wealth and leisure. A tan in the winter meant the bearer had enough money and status to afford a vacation to an exotic, warm climate" (Sikes 7). This had been the start of a big trend that would soon erupt across the country.
Though tanning is ever more popular in the United States, indoor tanning made its debut in Germany and is government regulated and considered a professional industry all throughout Europe. Tanning beds in the United States were, at first, poorly constructed compared to those being used in Europe. The reason for this is because of the high output of UVB light that was being omitted. When finding out that this type of UV light can cause sunburn and other skin disorders, tanning bed makers started using UVA light. Using this light provided less risk of users getting sunburned when using the bed (Cool Nurse). With some minor adjustments, that bed became the bed that tanners know today.
The idea of indoor tanning uses a clamshell like bed or a capsule like booth that both emit ultraviolet light to darken skin. According to industry estimates,...