Walking into Kathleen Jowdy’s airbrush tanning salon, Get Glowing, clients are greeted with the statistic that people who use tanning beds increase their melanoma cancer risk by 75%.
By using airbrush spray tanning, clients are reducing their risk of developing skin cancer, she says.
According to the Melanoma Foundation of New England’s website, melanoma is the most common cancer among women aged 25 to 32, and the New England states have a higher-than-average rate of melanoma.
Opening Get Glowing is part of Ms. Jowdy’s crusade against skin cancer and keeping skin youthful and healthy, she said. Part of her mission is to educate high school- and college-aged girls on the dangers of suntanning, both outside and in a tanning bed.
She said that by encouraging younger girls to start spray tanning and taking care of their skin now, they won’t have damage to undo later on.
“There is a big misconception with skin cancer, that it can just be scraped off,” she said. “The scars it leaves are huge. They have to dig it [the cancer] out.”
Many of the clients Ms. Jowdy sprays have had melanoma, including a 19-year-old girl, she said.
Many states have passed or are working to pass legislation to ban tanning beds for people under the age of 18 or to require parental consent.
A healthy alternative to keeping skin glowing and tan, she said, is airbrush spray tanning.
“Spray tanning was made popular in New York or L.A. and was more of a luxury. It was $70 to $150 per session and was geared for models or actresses,” said Ms. Jowdy. “Now it is more mainstream and prices are more reasonable. I made mine to be about the same cost as a manicure or pedicure — so it’s affordable to do every week.”
Ms. Jowdy also wants to correct the idea that spray tans just make people orange and streaky.
When spray tanning was first introduced, it was done in a stand-up stall that sprayed the front and back of a person.
“There was one solution for every person, which made them orange,” she said. “The technique has been perfected to be applied by hand with an airbrush, and I custom-blend the solution for any skin tone.”
Before opening her own salon, Ms. Jowdy sprayed clients at a salon in Bethel. “I found that a lot of my clients were coming up from Greenwich, New Canaan and Darien, so I found this location to be in the middle,” she said.
Get Glowing is on Route 7 at 280 Ethan Allen Highway, about a half-mile north of Branchville.
To find the right tanning solution, Ms. Jowdy tested many brands.
“The tan lasts five to seven days and takes 10 minutes to apply,” she said. “A lot of my clients come once a week to maintain a glow all year.”
It is recommended that clients schedule an appointment the day before an event to give the solution eight to 12 hours to settle.
“I also have a rapid developing spray that takes four to six hours to settle. If a client has an event Saturday evening, they can come in Saturday morning and be tan for the event,” said Ms. Jowdy.
A spray tanning session at Get Glowing costs between $40 and $50, including the pre-spray. Pre-spray moisturizes, exfoliates and balances the pH of the body before the tan is applied. It makes for a more even coverage, and balancing the pH prevents the skin from turning orange, she said.
“Salons around here are higher, they charge around $70 to $75 per session and don’t include the pre-spray,” said Ms. Jowdy.
The brand of solution Ms. Jowdy uses is a secret, she said, but it is organic and contains the DHA [dihydroxyacetone] enzyme. “It is a sugar derivative and is FDA-approved for external use,” she said.
The tanning solution does rub off onto clothing and sheets but it is a water-based solution so it washes out, she said.
Ms. Jowdy has sprayed about 1,500 people and she’s never had anyone get a rash or allergic reaction to it, she said.
“It is for all skin types and colors, and I do the appropriate skin tone for the season,” said Ms. Jowdy.
Recently Ms. Jowdy went to the University of Connecticut to spray-tan girls in a sorority, she said.
“I go to UConn and spray three sororities before events and dances. Each time I go it [the number of girls] increases. This time I sprayed 37 girls. That’s 37 girls that didn’t make five appointments each at a tanning salon. And the spray tan lasts just as long,” said Ms. Jowdy.
Ms. Jowdy is also looking for a high school-aged girl to receive a complimentary spray tan and advertise it to friends and classmates.
Get Glowing is open Wednesday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m.
For more information or to schedule a session, call 203-826-9557 or 203-512-5053.