One of the top two entries in our mini-competition was Cristina’s sunless tanning idea, Glow.  I’m teaming up with her, Chris, and Alex moving forward.

I don’t know much about sun tanning, so this will be a good chance to learn about something that’s been a staple of the US cosmetics industry for years.

There are always people interested in changing their skin tone one way or another.  When I was in the Philippines last year, I saw a surprising amount of advertisements for products that are supposed to “whiten” your skin.

At a grocery store in the Philippines, they had a big display of skin whitening products.  They were frequently advertised on TV, too

A grocery store in the Philippines had a big display of skin whitening products at the front near the cash registers. Whiteners were frequently advertised on TV, too.

I’ve read that in China, people sometimes wear ski masks at the beach to avoid getting a suntan on their faces.  Skin whiteners are sold everywhere.  I’ve seen them for sale at grocery stores here in Wichita.

It used to be that in Europe and the US, lighter skin was prized.  Othello’s wife Desdemona was described as having extremely pale skin, and it was supposed to be very beautiful.  The approving term “blue blood” refers to the paleness of a person’s skin making their veins visible.  Women in the US used to wear long sleeves and avoid the sun to avoid getting a tan back in the 1800s.  Now the fashion is reversed.

So the whole business of tanning is directed at a subset of the population that’s interested in darkening rather than lightening their skin.  That limits the tanning industry’s customer base according to racial and social factors, yet it’s still a surprisingly big industry.

Tanning became popular in the US near the beginning of the last century and still hasn’t gone out of style.  Tanning appears to be becoming more popular now.

A quick check of the yellow pages shows that there’s more than a dozen tanning salons in the Wichita area.  It will be an interesting challenge to see how we can bring something new to the tanning scene.

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