Hayley Pearce examines the rise in extreme tanning, meeting tanning addicts, tanning experts and celebrity spray-tanners, and learning how toxic unregulated products can be.
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Fake tanning. We love it.
More of us in Wales tan than ever before.
But why do we worship the golden glow?
And could it even be bad for us?
Hayley Pearce wants to find out.
She was the star of TV's The Call Centre
and is now a proud cafe owner.
She's also a self-confessed tanning addict.
Hayley will meet some of Wales's youngest tanners.
Well done, girls.
And the most extreme.
I'd describe myself as orange. Why not? You might as well go for it.
She'll look at some of the most bizarre products
on the market today...
How the hell do these three give you a tan?
..and learn some shocking facts.
You would inject it in the stomach, and it could cause DNA damage.
To see if SHE can survive without a tan, Hayley's going cold turkey,
quitting the tanning salon for a month.
Will she be able to break her tanning habit?
And will she feel like the same Hayley - even without her glow?
My name's Hayley, and I cannot live without a tan.
I'm going to go mad, right, sod it!
Guys! Where's the teabags?
Hayley Pearce, lovable tea lady from BBC Three's The Call Centre.
The show made her a star, her face plastered over billboards
But there's something about that face that's always
It's always tanned.
Whatever the time of year.
And the other side...
Tanning to me is just part of my life, part of my routine, every day.
It makes me feel just better in myself.
A lot of people don't like the tanned look.
But I don't understand why they say that
because it is a fact everyone looks better with a glow.
Hayley's had a spray tan every week for over 11 years.
I literally do feel ill and pale and sick if I don't have a tan.
I instantly feel like I have to cover up.
But then once I've got my tan on, boy...
I'll wear a boob tube, I'll wear the hot pants, I'll wear anything.
It's just confidence comes out, as soon as I have my tan.
For Hayley, a tanning top-up is essential before any night out.
And tonight, she's hitting town with some of her oldest friends.
Danielle and Jade know Hayley's more than a little smitten
with her spray tan.
I've never seen Hayley without a tan, ever. Have you?
Obviously when we were children, yeah, I have seen her without a tan,
but over the last 13 years, no, I've never seen her without a tan.
If she didn't have a tan she'd probably have a proper tantrum.
She's so strong-minded, she just definitely wouldn't go out
With all of us snapping away 24/7 with our smartphones
and selfie sticks, we never quite know where our photos might end up.
Hayley's determined never to get caught out.
As if you'd ever go without a tan, because this day and age,
everyone's snapping at you, aren't they, on a night out?
Whether it's Snapchat, or Facebook, there's photos everywhere!
Yeah, you don't know...someone's in the background, other people,
you don't know when you're in a picture.
I think it is a big pressure not just on us,
but on everyone in society.
They're pretty certain that tonight
they won't be the only ones putting their glow on show.
Everyone wears tan these days.
You're like the oddball if you go out pale now, though.
It's like, "Oh, my God, you haven't got tan on."
You'd be like, "Look how pale that person is."
Even boys, like, they've even had the tans when we used to go out.
Even if some of them don't admit it! We can tell that they've had a tan.
Wind Street, Swansea, and it's a typical Saturday night.
You can actually see how many people have got tan on and considering
we are in the middle of winter, I doubt any of it is actually natural.
Unless they've been to the Bahamas
in the last week or something, but I doubt it!
So it seems Hayley's not the only one.
Loads of us wouldn't dream of going out without a tan.
In fact, around half of all Welsh women have tanned in
the last year alone.
But it's not women who are the fastest-rising tanners.
It's mad watching a man have a spray tan.
I've actually never seen a man have a one before.
Jess, you get all the good jobs, eh?
For 32-year old topless waiter Matt Nolan,
a tan's just part of his uniform.
Of which there's very little.
So you're a topless waiter, then. Wow - I bet you love that, do you?
Good job, yeah, not too bad.
I bet, posing in front of all the women and that!
Do you feel you need to have a tan for that job?
It brings out the muscle and makes the body look better.
I'm sure it's better in a show to be tanned than white,
it's just better for the eyes.
You feel better or you think they think it looks better?
So this isn't your only job, is it, Matt?
No, it's not my only job.
I'm a secondary school teacher. I teach PE and science
and I also run my own personal training business in Swansea.
So do you go into work, then, into school with a tan?
I do go into work with a tan.
Do the kids notice it?
They don't say anything.
They might notice it but I do try washing it off as quick as I can.
Well, the cat's out of the bag now!
-Fair play for having all them jobs!
A few hours later
and Matt's getting down to business at a birthday party.
It's time to work his magic and put his man-tan to the test.
So, girls, what do you all think of Matt's tan, then?
There you go, Matt, they think you're winning there, kid!
Fake tan is one of the fastest-growing sectors
of the beauty business, with sales of over £100 million a year.
But can tanning become a dangerous obsession?
To find out, Hayley's come to Ashcroft House in Cardiff
to meet addiction expert Debbie Griffiths.
-Nice to meet you.
So can tanning be an addiction?
If you feel the need to have a tan, it is the same sort of thing that
you would feel if wanted to have a drink of alcohol, if you were an
alcoholic, or if you wanted to source a drug
if you were a drug addict.
And most addicts are sourcing whatever their addiction is
because they're fixing their feelings.
But it certainly is as addictive as any substance.
And that craving for tanning time is all-too-familiar to Hayley.
I do need it in my life. I need a tan, I feel better in myself,
it makes me who I am.
I just don't feel as confident as a person without a tan.
When you look in mirror, do you see someone that's tanned or do
you see someone that's really quite pale and needs to be tanned?
When I have a tan I see myself tanned.
I see a glow and I feel happier in myself and confident.
When I'm pale and I haven't got a tan, I just see a quieter,
more insecure, not as confident person.
The point is, if you yourself don't want to stop there's
no point in trying to treat the addiction.
Because it has to come within.
I actually found that a really interesting meeting.
I was quite shocked that she's actually said that she's seen
people come in with tanning addictions.
The fact that she even compared them with drug and alcohol addictions
as well, that they're kind of the same and they take over your life...
It's...you know, the more I think about it, it is
a really serious matter.
To find out whether she herself is a tanning addict - a "tanorexic"
- Hayley's going to try and go a month without tanning.
It's not going to be easy.
This'll be the first time in 11 years she'll go back to her
natural skin colour.
I am already feeling really anxious about it, I'm not going to lie,
but I am going to go for it, I am going to try.
Going to see if it affects me as a person.
I do love a challenge
but I'm already doubting how long I'm going to last, but we'll see.
With tanorexia on the rise, Hayley wants to find out just how
extreme the addiction can become.
Hiya, you must be Hannah...
21-year-old Hannah Norman is a full-on tanning junkie.
She's even been called Britain's biggest tanorexic.
Wow, so this I where it all happens, then?
It definitely is.
You have a lot of tanning products.
The jewellery sales rep from Cwmbran started tanning
when she was just 11 years old.
So what kind of tan have you got on today?
I've got everything on today.
So I've got my gradual, which is my favourite, I've got my instant,
my shimmer, my bronzer.
And then, over the top then, you know, face bronzer,
I just chuck that on as well, then.
You must get marks on clothes, though?
Hairspray. Chuck hairspray on your hair, on your arms and all
and it's happy days, innit?
-So your skin literally is not breathing at all.
-It's full of fake tan and hairspray.
God, I thought I was bad, but...
Like, no disrespect,
you must stink of tan constantly, then, yeah?
No, well, I think they smell lovely. Like, you know
when they smell like biscuits...
I think, "Ooh, I smell like a bakery."
What do you use to scrub the tan off with?
-You literally actually put bleach on your skin?
I pour bleach on my skin and leave it while my bath is running,
get in the bath, then I scrub.
It don't all come off, but I can start again then.
Hannah's addiction's so strong, she tops up morning, evening
and at work, up to five times a day.
But for Hannah, there's no shame in being a tanorexic.
I love being called the most tanned person in Britain,
it's the happiest thing I've ever had in my life.
Some people are really negative towards it.
When you're this colour, you don't expect everybody to think,
"Oh, don't she look nice?"
I expect people to think, "Ah, what does she look like?"
I don't care, I just like me with my tan,
and I'm just so happy with it. I just think why not?
So looking at you now, what colour would you describe yourself as?
I'd describe myself as orange! Why not?
You may as well go for it, I am an orange person.
Do you think I'm a funny colour?
No, you're just not tanned, really, sorry!
So you do like being orange, then?
Yeah, you know, you're walking down the street
and people are looking at you, thinking, "What does she look like?"
You can think either good or bad, but at least you're looking at me.
Hannah might be an extreme tanner, but she's far from the only one
getting her bronzer out of the bottle.
We now know sunbathing and UV rays are bad for us, so more and
more of us in Wales are switching to sun-less tanning to get our fix.
Hayley's among them, and she's come to London to find out why
so many of us want to look like we've just stepped off the beach.
-Hi, I'm Hayley.
-Welcome to my studio.
Celebrity spray tanner James Harknett
thinks he's got the answer.
If you see someone that you admire and you see them on a red carpet
or presenting something or in a film, or performing,
and they look great, then why wouldn't you want to look like them?
And things like social media, for instance,
we can see in seconds on our phone,
on our tablet, of what someone looks like at an event that day.
And then we can go on a website and we can buy that outfit.
So why wouldn't we buy that look as well, as a whole, with make-up,
with hair and with tan as well?
But it's not easy to create the high-end celebrity look.
Only a true spray tan artist can pull it off.
What we're going to do is define certain areas of the skin,
James has offered to give Hayley a very quick demo to
show off his unique style.
I can look at someone in front of me and it's almost like a blank canvas.
What I like to do is highlight the contours of their body.
People say, "What is contouring?"
It's actually shading different parts of the muscle tone
and the flesh.
I sweep my gun in on the abs, for instance, over the chest,
on top of the arms, and it deepens the colour of those areas
where people immediately feel more toned and athletic and you
feel more confident when you've got this gorgeous bronzed skin.
Unlucky for Hayley,
she's only getting a quick taster - the rest of her body's off limits.
It's strictly cold turkey for the remainder of the month.
Obviously, things do come in and out of fashion all the time.
Do you think the tan look will go out of fashion
and the pale look will come back in, like years ago?
Never, because when you think of colour on people's skin you
think of wellbeing.
You think of healthy, you think of a great lifestyle.
I think there's always going to be people who are like "Oh, no,
"I'd never have a spray tan" because that's not their look.
But there's always going to be a lot of people that like to be brown
and they like to be just an even better version of themselves.
And if there's one place where dressing up and spraying down's
the key to looking good, it's Strictly Come Dancing.
But has Strictly helped make tanning the norm, whatever your age?
New Cottage Dance Centre in Ystrad Mynach is
the training ground for some of Britain's
most successful young ballroom dancers.
Oh, my God, this is awesome!
I love this stuff.
It's a world where the depth of your tan is
almost as important as your dance moves.
MUSIC: Thriller by Michael Jackson
LAUGHTER ON MUSIC TRACK
Well done, girls...and boys! Girls and boys.
So, girls, how old were you when you first had a tan?
When I was eight, I started.
Eight! You started having a tan, wow!
Same with me, eight years old.
-I only started this year.
-How old are you?
-I was about ten.
Ten. Wow, that's...
I didn't realise that people so young started wearing tan.
Hayley herself was 16 when she first tanned.
A late starter, by dancing standards.
How important is tanning in the dance industry?
Really important, because everyone has it done and, like,
when you go to a comp there's no-one there that's really white.
Surely it doesn't affect your performance if you're wearing tan or not?
Surely you dance exactly the same on stage?
It actually does affect.
Because all eyes are on us and if you're looking around and
if everyone around you has tan on, you're the whitest in the room,
you really feel self-conscious about yourself.
So it would actually affect your performance
if you didn't have a tan on?
-Because you would look really different from everyone else.
Can you ever imagine dancing without a tan?
The girls' mums understand why.
Would you ever let them go to a show with no tan on?
Absolutely not, no way.
Do you ever get any grief from any other parents, then?
I have, yeah, but I've always told them it's part of her performance.
She wipes it off at the end of the day.
If anybody was to put their child up to be in a pantomime performance,
as such, they would be expected to wear full make-up,
as much as our girls would be expected to full tan,
and it would affect their marks without it.
Back at home, Hayley's trying hard to adjust to her new
tan-less skin tone.
So it's been 15 days now and I haven't had a tan.
Not that I'm counting or anything, but I actually am counting.
It is a big deal for me. I've had a tan every week for years
and I've had to come out of this habit just like that.
It is hard because I feel, like, a stone heavier
and I do feel a stone heavier in myself.
It's been a bit of a nightmare,
had to go out and buy lighter make-up
because obviously my old make-up was too dark.
I keep looking at myself and I'm like,
"Hello, white skin, it's been a while!"
# I see your true colour shining through... #
Hayley might still be craving her regular spray tan,
but across Wales a growing number of us
are getting our tanning fixes from products you can't
find in a salon.
The internet's the new frontier of fakery.
I've actually got five websites up now that's actually selling
jab-a-tan, where you inject, but what I find even more bonkers
is I've never even heard of it before.
I can't believe people do it, it's a nasal spray to tan,
and you actually sniff tan.
What I don't understand is it's legal to actually buy
but it's illegal to sell - what's the sense in that?
It doesn't make sense!
I'm quite intrigued to find out what's actually in the products
and how people use it.
So I'm going to order some today and see what it's all about.
Thousands of people in Wales are now thought to have
injected themselves with a tanning product called Melanotan 2.
Also known as jab-a-tan or Barbie tan,
it's often used when other tanning methods just aren't enough.
Easy to buy on the internet, it's a man-made hormone that
works by increasing levels of the pigment in the skin.
I haven't used it now for four weeks, that's why I'm quite pale.
Hayley's come to meet 26-year-old Fay Griffiths, who,
until recently, was a regular jab-a-tanner.
So how did you actually find them?
I enjoyed the fact that I looked darker and had a healthy glow.
But the negative thing about it was I was feeling sick,
I was coming out in spots, I lost my appetite, I wasn't eating very much.
I just felt quite drained from it.
Trouble is, tanning injections are unregulated,
so there's no knowing what you're putting in your body.
And Fay's not the only person it's made sick.
I've known people that have been rushed into hospital
as they've been ill from using it and I was just
thinking of what affect it's going to have on me in a few years' time.
Didn't really think it would be dangerous at all because
so many people were doing it.
So do you reckon you'll ever go back to using it again?
I don't really want to use them again.
So even though it gives you a healthier look,
you'd say it's not a natural or a healthy thing to do?
No, it's not a healthy thing to do.
I'm glad for her sake she's actually off the tanning jabs.
It's made me realise that having a tan once a week is actually nothing
compared to some people.
They go to extreme lengths to get a tan.
It's just sad that we're all obsessed with getting a tan.
Hayley's now gone three weeks without her spray tan.
Hard at work in her cafe,
her fading skin colour is attracting attention.
-Hello, usual for me, please.
-You're looking pale!
-Don't even go there!
-Let's have a look.
You're looking ill, babe! Your complexion looks lovely.
It looks really nice, honest.
You'll get used to it.
I'm not going to get used to it, I know I'm not.
It's a change in her look that's really knocked her confidence.
I look in a mirror and I just see ghost.
I'm not used to seeing like a white glow...well, not a glow.
I'm not used to seeing a white face.
I don't know, I'm not used to seeing white fingers.
I keep looking at my hands and going, "Whoa!" They're so white.
And I don't know, I'm really, really feeling it.
A couple of days later, and Hayley's internet tanning order has arrived.
That's all that's in here?
There's no instructions or anything.
So this must be the nasal spray.
Oh, my God, I can't believe that people actually snort tan.
Isn't it mad how this... and this - what is it, powder?
And then that... What is that, water, oil?
How the hell do these three give you a tan?
What the hell's in it to give you a tan? Nobody knows.
Could be anything!
To find out, Hayley's taken her sample to a lab in Cardiff.
Toxicologist Dr Kelly Berube is taking a look at it under
I want to show you what the powder looks like.
Now, this is strange.
I was expecting spheres, or fibres,
but certainly not this type of structure.
Never seen something like that.
Never even expect something like that.
The man-made chemicals in the powder have baffled Kelly
and further tests have shown her how dangerous it could be.
So we took some of the solution
and we just injected the solution in these lanes here.
And what you're looking for is if there's DNA damage,
the molecule will change and you'll get a matching band up here,
all the way across.
Every dose that I tested has toxicity to cause DNA damage.
So this stuff actually affects people's genes, then?
Oh, yes, in here we have ten doses.
Now, one dose alone can cause 30% DNA damage. That's amazing.
But it didn't come with any instructions, so what would happen
if someone overdosed or used the wrong amount?
What would happen is, if I had the needle here, they would inject it in
the stomach, and through the stomach, the material, the solution,
would pass all through the circulation
and it could cause - DNA damage -
cancer, anywhere. The stomach, the skin, even. And of course the lungs.
But it's not just the illegal tanning products that could be
making us ill.
New research shows that if spray tan's not used properly,
it too could carry health risks.
We have the mannequin, we have the spray pump and either side
we have two filters and they're collecting the surrounding air.
So what I want you to do is give that mannequin a spray tan
and we'll have a look at the filters later.
The skin-browning chemical in most self-tanning products
is called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA for short.
DHA was originally approved for external use in tanning lotions
40 years ago.
But today, we're no longer just rubbing it onto our skin,
we're spraying it on.
Spray tan manufacturers advise wearing eye,
nose and lip protection when having a spray.
Kelly's tests show what could happen
if you don't follow that advice - without the right protection,
DHA-based spray tans could be a health hazard.
OK, Hayley, the fact that we can see the tanning spray here,
the brown colour, means those particles would be getting
through your nose, into your mouth and into your respiratory system.
And from there it can spread throughout your body.
And that's the issue, with the DHA entering your body that way, and in
the long term there's risk that you may develop cancer in your body.
I'm not saying all spray tans are bad,
it's just the way that you apply them.
So do you actually use any protection? Like a nose clamp?
Something over your lips?
No, I've never used them
and I don't think I know anyone that does even use them.
You need to go to a reputable salon, you need to make sure
that they have ventilation, that you use the personal
protective equipment and that people that are spraying need be
aware themselves, they need to wear their protective equipment as well.
It's a sobering thought for Hayley, who's been tanning without
the recommended protection for over a decade.
Today's been great, I've never been to a lab before,
and I really enjoyed meeting Kelly. She was fab.
But I am shocked to find out, with spray tanning...
I always thought they were fine.
But, actually, we still even have to be careful with them because
there are chemicals in the air and we have got to all take precautions.
It's the end of Hayley's challenge, a whole month without her glow.
Some people are really obsessed with a tan.
Each to their own, everyone's entitled to do what
they want to make them feel happy and unfortunately...
well, I wouldn't say unfortunately, tan does make me happy.
And it's just... it's an insecurity of mine
that I've opened up about now, and from going a month without tan,
I think I weirdly started to accept myself without tan, but
I know deep down I look better and my confidence is there with a tan.
But I have realised less is more.
I'm just going to tone it down and from now on I am going
to have a tan, but just with one layer.
And this time round I'm going in with my goggles...
which is probably going to be, like, "What the hell?"
But, hey, I went to a scientist!
MUSIC: Halo by Beyonce
Telling stories that matter - Body Matters, a series of programmes on BBC One Wales looking at our relationships with our bodies.
Hayley Pearce - lovable yet outspoken tea lady from BBC Three's Call Centre - is addicted to spray-tanning. And she's not alone. Nearly half of Welsh women and a third of Welsh men have self-tanned in the last 12 months. What's behind the triumph of the tan, and could there be a dark side to tanning? Hayley examines the rise in extreme tanning - 'tanorexia' - meeting tanning addicts, tanning experts and celebrity spray tanners. She investigates the illegal ways to fake it, visiting a science lab to learn just how toxic these unregulated products can be. And in a bid to understand the nature of her own addiction, Hayley attempts to forgo the glow and embrace the pale. It will be the first time she'll be her natural colour for over ten years, but how long can she last without her beloved spray tan?