A recent state law that bans anyone younger than 18 from using tanning beds aggravates Teresa Lynch.
The owner of Dynamic Tanning, with locations on Sycamore Road and Annie Glidden Road in DeKalb, said she believes parents should be the decision-makers for their children, not the government.
“I’m just disappointed in the government,” Lynch said. “Is the law hurting us or jeopardizing my business? No, not at all.”
According to the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Illinois is one of six states that bans indoor tanning for everyone younger than 18. The other states are California, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Vermont. Some states have less restrictive laws that ban tanning for people younger than 16 or 14, and 18 states have no statewide restrictions.
Lynch said in the 10 years she’s been in the tanning business, she always required a signed parental consent form.
“I never allowed a young person to take the form home to get it signed,” Lynch said. “I always required a parent to come in to give consent.”
While spring is typically a busy time for tanning salons before spring dances and proms, Lynch said she hasn’t had much trouble with teens trying to bypass the law.
“I”m adamant in training my staff,” Lynch said. “We’ve always asked customers’ ages. We’ve caught some trying to slip in, but I won’t put myself in a bad position.”
Dave Melms, owner of Laundry Lounge and Tanning in The Junction Center on West Lincoln Highway, said he typically sees a mature clientele anyway.
“Some of my clients are college students, but most are town people,” Melms said. “We just don’t cater to a younger crowd.”
Melms said he added tanning about 10 years ago to the laundromat he’s owned for 21 years.
“The change in the law hasn’t affected my business at all,” Melms said.
At Tropic Tan in Genoa, office manager Mary Saur said business hasn’t suffered, although younger girls are disappointed they can’t tan before prom.
“We have had a lot of calls about spray tanning, which is still allowed,” Saur said. “We don’t offer it, but it has been considered.”
Spray tanning is available at Dynamic Tanning, and Lynch is expecting more calls about that service this spring.
“One of my managers or I do the spraying on minors,” Lynch said.
Lynch recalled a very young girl – about 7 years old, she said – brought in by her parents for a spray tan before a pageant.
“She just got a little color,” Lynch said. “That was definitely a rare occasion, though.”