Teens look for tanning alternatives for prom

By Beau Ebenezer

April 25, 2014 Updated Apr 25, 2014 at 10:53 PM CDT

TREMONT, Ill. -- This time last year, Tremont junior Kirsten Kent was looking much darker as she prepared for one of the most memorable nights of her life, high school prom.

But this year is a different story.

Kent and thousands of other high school students across the state are "banned", and they are not happy about it.

"I was pretty mad because I don't want to be pale and everyone else be tan," said Kent. "I have a strapless dress, so I am going to have like a farmer's tan in the shape of a vee."

A new law went into effect this year, which bans the use of tanning beds by anyone under the age of 18.

But teens are not the only ones impacted.

Local tanning salons said the ban has taken a toll on their business.

Jay Cee's Salon in East Peoria has lost 60 of its student customers since January.

"I don't have as many students calling during their lunch hour to book a 3:30 appointment," said Jay Cee's Salon owner, Joanne Thomason. "I miss them, and there is a little decrease in that age group."

There are legal alternatives.

Many students have made the transition to spray tanning, and others are turning to self-tan lotion.

But some teens said it's not the same.

"It obviously doesn't work as good as a tanning bed," said Tremont junior, Caitlyn Honan. "I try to do a little bit so I am not as pale during prom."

So far, about five people use Jay Cee's spray tanning per week.

As more proms continue to kick off in the coming weekends, Thomason hopes it catches on soon.

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