My first tanning experience


When my gay friend dragged me to a tanning salon a while ago, I was a little hesitant. I mean come on, EVERYONE knows about the risk of tanning but since I have never done it and I was craving for some color minus the hassle of using a self-tanner, I figured one tanning session would not kill me and I went along with it.

We went to Ultimate Exposure, one of Chicago’s most popular tanning salons. They had a lot of great deals and I ended up paying $40 for 110 points which was good for 3 tanning sessions. I also got a pair of reusable goggles for about $3.

The staff there were very friendly and helpful. They gave me a full tour, explained everything very clearly and suggested I start with a 15 minute session on the Monster Bronzer, one of their most popular beds.

With 48 lamps and 6 face tanners, the Monster Bronzer is great for beginners and those who need to build a base tan. It has virtually no UVB rays and it can be used up to 3-4 sessions per week. It also has 3 adjustable levels for facial tanning and a built-in air-conditioning to help cool you off.

I simply stripped down to my birthday suit, slathered on tons of tanning lotion (you do need this stuff to help develop color fast and protect your skin), threw on the goggles, whipped out my iPod, hopped onto the bed and tanned away. After a few Kylie Minogue songs from her latest X album which by the way, is really good stuff, I walked out feeling refreshed like I had just gone on a vacation. I developed a bit of color within a few hours with no burning and it lasted for quite a good few days before I went back to my pale self (sad!)

So what was the verdict? Well it was definitely a different and fun experience and it felt more than nice to bask under the hot artificial lights. Will I do it again? Probably not. Despite the flyers and posters plastered all over the salon raving about the benefits of tanning, aka a “natural” supply of vitamin D, the pictures you see of people suffering from melanoma and cataracts that you can find online are just a little too creepy. I simply think that the risks of tanning – which include skin cancer, premature aging, sunburn, eye damage, immune system suppression etc – outweighs the results/benefits you get from it. I will definitely save my remaining credit for spray tanning instead.

For more information on the risks of tanning, check out

Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE,, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is a regular contributor to Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.


  1. It’s really good that you think about the health risks. Besides, women who frequently go tanning will have leather skin later on in life, not a good look…

  2. Hi there!
    I’m glad you are more worried about your health than looking nice and tan. hehe. I used to be addicted to tanning and every summer it gets tempting but I’m going to try to stay away. Being pale is not too bad. =D

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