Our Tanning Salon at Great Tan

About Great Tan

Tanning San Francisco since 1982, Great Tan is the established leader in both UV and UV-free tanning. We offer 3 levels of UV sunbeds as well as automated spray tanning booths by industry leader Norvell.

Under the current ownership since 1992, Great Tan draws on decades of experience to bring you the best tanning results possible. Our trained, friendly staff will customize a tanning program to best meet your goals. Whether you’re tanning for a special event, a sunny vacation, to supplement Vitamin D levels, or to have year-round color, Great Tan is the go-to tanning salon in San Francisco. Let us show you why we’re known as San Francisco’s Tanning Pros.

We proudly buy ‘clean power’ for our salons.

The Great Tan Philosophy

BENEFITS: We believe regular, moderate exposure to sunlight has many benefits.

RISKS: We believe there are risks to sunlight exposure, especially overexposure and burning.

We reject the sales pitch that encourages the use of SPF sunscreen at all times when someone is outdoors. This prevents the potential benefits of sunlight.   We endorse the outdoor use of SPF sunscreen AFTER a short period of exposure without SPF.

INDOOR TANNING: We advocate indoor tanning for these reasons:

  • Precise exposure time
  • Clean, pleasant environment
  • Uniform exposure, whether it’s July or December, cloudy or sunny
  • Relaxing
  • Helpful staff with professional knowledge about the tanning process and reaching your desired results.
  • Formally trained staff

WHO SHOULD TAN: We believe certain individuals should not tan indoors or outdoors.  Those with extremely sensitive skin, those using photosensitive drugs, pregnant women, and other specific individuals may not be appropriate candidates for UV tanning and should consider UV-free spray tanning as an alternative to achieve cosmetic color.  Consult your physician should you have any reservations or concerns.

Tanning Tips from the Pros

  • Moisturize daily. UV tanning is a process. Start at low exposure times and gradually increase. Never burn!
  • Vary equipment. Each UV tanning machine has different light characteristics. Clients get the best overall results by using different equipment.
  • Use a tanning accelerator with every session. Accelerator lotions maximize the effectiveness of your sunbed exposure. Available with or without bronzers and self-tanners, you’ll get the best color and skin care with our salon quality lotions.
  • Exfoliate regularly. Dead skin cells inhibit UV light penetration.
  • UV exposure can dry the skin. And, drink more water to stay hydrated.
  • Don’t tan every day. Allow your skin to rest 1 or 2 days between sessions. However, waiting more than a few days between sessions slows or stops the process of producing melanin. Regular exposure maximizes melanin and color.
  • If you don’t tan in the sun, it’s unlikely you will tan indoors. Have reasonable expectations. For those who can’t tan, our Norvell sunless spray tanning is the perfect solution for you.
  • Don’t tan with a sunburn. If you’ve overdone it, allow your skin to rest before further sunlight exposure. Drink plenty of water, moisturize regularly, apply aloe or calendula lotions. Don’t use products that will dry your skin (some sunburn creams actually dry your skin)
  • Farmers tan? We’ll calculate exposure times on your least exposed skin, so you’re not overexposed in certain areas. Over the course of several sessions, the unexposed skin will catch up with your previously tanned skin.
  • A naturally produced suntan is a natural SPF, up to 4 times the protection of unprotected skin.

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Great Tan is Closed

Great Tan is closed until at least January 4 to combat the COVID surge, per the SF Health Department order.